Nancy and I recently went to the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association 2018 Annual Convention. We went because the FTBA was honoring our long-time friends, (and one of my very first clients) Bob and Beverly Burleson, who are retiring this year after 30 years of serving Florida Contractors.

Technically Bob is retiring, but if you ask any Florida contractor, Beverly played a huge role in making the association vibrant and strong.

It was an incredible tribute over two days. There were photos of Bob and Beverly from the previous conventions. There were video tributes that started with the tribute by the Florida governor.

Nancy and I were included in the family photo below.

I suspect that I have known Bob longer than any of the people who shared their thoughts about him, but I was amazed at how accurately they painted a picture consistent with what I had always known about him.

Contractors, a State DOT, and legislators rarely get along. They each have different interests. Among the many things that make Bob truly unique is his ability to create a consensus among people with competing interests. (I know he wouldn’t go, but just think what a consensus builder might be able to accomplish in Washington.)

Another thing that Bob has done so well is to focus less on what he does and more on who he is serving.

When I listened to people share their thoughts about my friend, it reminded me of what George Bernard Shaw said:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; …I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can… Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.

The 2018 FTBA convention is the last one Bob will attend as the leader of the FTBA, but he will always be remembered. Bob and Beverly’s work with FTBA was no brief candle, but rather a splendid torch which they made burn ever so brightly before handing it over to future generations.