• Grand Craft

A former marketing exec takes a chance on a super-niche business

Patrick Gallagher sold his piece of the family roadbuilding business to buy one of the few makers of wooden boats in the U.S.

It’s not easy for any business executive in the throes of middle age to leave a comfortable third-generation family business for a new venture with an uncertain future. For Patrick Gallagher, his move took him from roadbuilding to boatbuilding.

Gallagher, 51, was a co-owner and vice president at Gallagher Asphalt in suburban Thornton, a 94-year-old paver of public roads, when he got the itch to try something different as the COVID-19 pandemic was settling in two years ago. His brother, Dan, was firmly entrenched as CEO of the business, which had 250 employees and annual sales exceeding $50 million, and fourth-generation Gallaghers were already crowding into the management ranks ahead of Patrick’s children, who were still in school.

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