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Fatherhood: A View from Some of the Fathers across Gray

If you were to ask 10 different people to describe a father, you would likely get 10 different answers. Fathers come in all shapes and sizes, and they each seem to have their own unique quirks that make them special.

Here at Gray, we are fortunate to have a host of men who proudly fill the father role. These men work hard daily, in the office or on the jobsite, to provide for their families, and then head home to spend time with them.


We took some time to talk to some of the Gray fathers about how they balance working and raising a family, their advice to fellow fathers, and some of the men who inspire them.



How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?


Bryan Gatlin, Architectural Technician, Gray A&E – “I have a plan. By knowing when big life/work events are coming up, I can properly prepare for them.”


Drew Romans, Regional Manager, Southeast Office “We all need to do better with this, but I try to take advantage of time home with the family, and be fully present when I am there. That is a lot easier said than done! I think the key is recognizing that family is the No. 1 priority and that time with them is irreplaceable!”


Jaime Patterson, Field Operations Resource Manager – “When it comes to balance, some people believe everything must be equal, others believe in proportions. For me, I’m a phlegmatic leader–my balance is measured by proportions through energy and established boundaries. By energy, I mean establishing what fills/empties my “fuel” tank. Boundaries refer to my responsibilities from a personal and professional level.


For every three hours of energy depreciation, I must take a 20-minute break in order to maintain a healthy emotional state. My boundary is that for every three-hours worked, no more or no less, then I will take a 20 minute break. I either go for a walk by myself or with a friend.


I believe that everyone at Gray plays an important role within the company, with that, we all can be consumed if not careful. If everything is important, then nothing is important. Always remember that Gray will only be as strong as the people that are within it. Invest in yourself, your family and your friends, and figure out how to maintain a healthy balance.”



If you could give a new, working dad advice on how to balance work and home life, what would you tell him?


Nate Claggett, Mechanical Department Team Lead, Spencer Bristol Engineering, A Gray Company – “Treat it like your job. I am a planner by nature, so making a family calendar to carve out weekend plans and family time really helps. If you’re having multiple kids, one-on-one time with each child really helps the individual bond develop. It is shocking to me how different each of my three kids are from one another.”


Mike Pflederer, Site Manager – “I would say make the most of your time at home. Spend that time with your kids, wife, and in my case, grandkids. Take them fishing, play ball with them, go to their games, and demonstrate that you love your wife. Show your kids you love her and that she too is a priority. And for me, keeping my relationship with God first helped me keep the balance with my family. When my relationship with God was off, so was my family.”


Gatlin – “Let others help. Your child may be the focal point of your life, but they’re not the only thing in it. Your support system (whether it’s family, friends, or co-workers) can help to take some of the pressure off when you need to take care of other things in your life.”


Claggett and his family.


Do you have any favorite Father’s Day traditions in your family?


Patterson – “Just spending the day with my wife and kids is all I need or want. They’re my best friends.


Pflederer – “Grillin’ and chillin’.”


Claggett – “For mother’s day, father’s day, and all birthdays, we start off the morning with breakfast in bed. On father’s day, I typically put a brisket on the smoker, and we’ll go for a late morning hike or go fishing. Father’s day is mostly just a good excuse to put house work on hold for a day and spend time together as a family.”


Patterson with his family.


Do you have one favorite memory of parenthood that you’d like to share?


Patterson – “I have many favorites but the first that came to mind was teaching them how to wake their mother up. First, you stick your finger in your mouth. Second, you stick your finger in her ear. That is what you call a “wet willy”! Now, they go around giving them to their grandparents and cousins. Don’t worry, I have received my fair share as well.”


Claggett – “Hiking. My family and I have been going hiking 1-2 times a month since quarantine started. I remember the joy in my oldest child’s face when he finally found out what hiking was about. Teaching my children to respect nature and go outside has always been important to me and will continue to be a top priority of mine.”


Gatlin – “My son is pretty new. But, for me, it was that first time he smiled at me.”


What men in your life have inspired you?


Romans – “My father. He taught me work ethic, how to never accept anything that was not your best effort, and to never give up. He also made sure he was there for me growing up–from hunting, fishing, coaching sports, and most importantly, to always try to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to do.”


Gatlin – “My wife Shelby has a great relationship with her father that I would like to emulate with our son.”


Pflederer – “Naturally, my father, and another man who was like a father figure to me while I was away at college.”

"My father has always been my biggest inspiration. At the time, I did not see the importance of his lessons. However, the discipline and respect he taught me is invaluable."
Nate Claggett, Mechanical Department Team Lead

Spencer Bristol Engineering, A Gray Company

If you could describe fatherhood in one word, what would it be?


Pflederer – “Selflessness.”


Romans – “Love.”


Claggett – “Messy.”


Gatlin – “Enthusiastic.”


From everyone here at Gray to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!


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  • Pflederer with his wife, children, and grandchildren
  • Romans with his family.
  • Gatlin with his son.
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