LancasterThriving_WinterSpring2017 - 7
FAILING FORWARD NUGGET #2: PERSISTENCY
Baptism by Fire
Bass Mechanical's Second Generation CEO Overcomes Trials
by Finding the Right People in Life and Business
magine you're the child of a successful entrepreneur and
the family business has been entrusted to you. Feeling
some pressure, right? Now imagine that you're only 25,
leading employees twice your age and industry tenure,
without the benefit of guidance from the company's
founder. Three more things: the company is in the midst
of uncontrolled growth, you're bleeding cash and you're
dealing with a devastating personal tragedy.
For Casey Baum, CEO of Bass Mechanical in Elizabethtown,
this isn't a scenario. It's the last few years of his life. "Insanely
stressful doesn't begin to cover it," he said.
Baum's father, Aldus "Al" Baum, started Bass Mechanical
in 1996 and, over time, expanded the business to the
23,000-square-foot facility in Elizabethtown where it
operates today. The company, which serves customers
throughout the United States, was founded to offer custom
steel fabrication services, and has since grown into two core
business units: Industrial Services and Fabrication & Erection.
As a child, Casey saw construction as a "bit of a rough
industry" and was ambivalent about joining the family
business. "The industry didn't really appeal to me, so through
college I had my sights set elsewhere," he said.
When Baum graduated from Juniata College with a
bachelor's degree in marketing in 2011, he was ready
to take a job in California. When the position was put on
hold, he decided not to wait for it and instead joined Bass
as director of business development. His primary role at
Bass was to start a grass roots marketing campaign for a
distributorship his father obtained just weeks prior with a
company located in Norway. "It was a great opportunity to
work with my father on something I was passionate about,
but as a small business we didn't have the marketing budget
to do what needed to be done," Baum explained. "Because
of the slow progression, I got involved with many facets of
the business including safety, finance, estimating, and more.
I was really struggling to find my way. It was a lonely time
personally and professionally."
Then, in 2013, a headhunter called and told Baum about a
job that was more in line with what he thought he wanted,
with a company that showed a lot of opportunity both
financially and professionally. Ultimately, he didn't get the