Based in Grand Junction, CO, Robert Stone, Inc. furnishes high-quality stone and quartz products for a variety of customized projects. For more than 25 years, the company, which is owned and operated by Robert Humphreys and Jana Stevens, has not only provided its full-service fabrication expertise to both the residential and commercial sectors, but it also runs a sandstone quarry and produces petrified wood slabs. Robert Stone, Inc. is able to run a multifaceted business due to a dedicated team of employees. Most recently, the owners’ 17-year-old son, Connor, joined the staff and was eager to learn more about fabrication and the family business.
Stevens-Humphreys was no stranger to the fabrication shop. Throughout his childhood he would often come to the facility and perform small tasks such as sweeping. But it was in the past year when he started to develop his role more.
Initially, Stevens-Humphreys started working regularly at Robert Stone, Inc. because he was in search of a part-time job. He explained that it quickly grew to be more than that for him. “I had been looking for a job because I was trying to save money for a car,” he said. “[At first], I wasn’t interested in the stone company, but wanted a job. My dad said that he could train me.”
About a year ago, the young man started to take more interest in the business, and in March of this year he began working part-time. “That’s when I felt part of the shop,” he said. “I started off with basic polishing and it felt like a job and I was participating with a team. Then they began giving me more responsibility and actual fabrication [jobs] – more difficult pieces than just polishing a backsplash.
“I still went to school online for two to three hours and then drove to the shop,” Connor Stevens-Humphreys continued. “Once schools shut down during the pandemic, I jumped in and went full time.”
When asked what he enjoys best about working at Robert Stone, Inc., the young fabricator said, “Definitely the sculpting and profiling part of it. A month ago, I did my first river sink. At first it was scary because I didn’t want to mess up. It challenged me but I was proud of myself and how it finished out."
“I’m sure there is an endless amount to learn about fabricating,” he went on to say. “You have to visualize the projects before you start on them. It’s a good life skill to have. I also would like to learn about the business aspect. Overall, I’m excited to learn more about fabricating and to become a better stone craftsman all around.”
For any young adults looking to learn a trade such as fabrication, Stevens-Humphreys advises to take initiative and get involved. “You have to be introduced to it,” he said. “When my dad is about to hire someone he walks them through our shop. Everyone who gets the tour seems pretty impressed. To get more kids involved, you have to be introduced to it.”
Both of the young fabricator’s parents are proud and excited that their son is expressing an interest in their business. “We looked at each other dumbfounded when he said he wanted to come work for us,” said Robert Humphreys. “We have other kids who have come and gone. None performed like Connor has. It tickles me to think about our exit plan and is exciting to watch.”
Jana Stevens shares similar sentiments as her husband. “From our view point, we are enjoying watching him grow,” she said. “It has been awesome to watch him take a process and use his artistic and creative thought process to figure out a more efficient way to do something and still maintain a high level of quality. To hear him talk about how he is working on his execution — looking at it and visualizing the finish project – makes us proud.”