CAPE TOWN – At Fix Forward, the main driving force behind everything we do is empowering entrepreneurs so that they in turn empower both themselves and their communities. With most of our tradesmen originating from communities that have experienced a great deal of hardship, we are especially proud of their journeys and the obstacles they have overcome to become successful businessmen. Kevin Fortune, the latest tradesman to join our team, is just such an example.
Kevin grew up in Grassy Park, but now lives in Capricorn near Muizenberg – just a short distance from Fix Forward’s Cape Town office. A widower, Kevin delved deep into his work after the loss of his wife and is a self taught handyman with over 25 years experience. With a passion for building and renovation, Kevin’s positive attitude and strong will made him a perfect candidate for our entrepreneur development program. We recently caught up with Kevin to chat about his experiences since becoming part of our team and where he envisions himself in a few years.
FF: Tell us about the beginning of your journey into the craft of building?
Kevin Fortune (KF): I started off doing small projects and building work in Grassy Park where I come from originally. I did odd jobs within my surrounding community and I slowly gained traction with a reputation for quality work. From there on my area of work expanded and, through word of mouth and improving client relation skills, my freelance business was born.
FF: What are your areas of expertise?
KF: I have an array of skills. My mentor specialized in engineering and passed on a lot of amazing knowledge that helped me to get an excellent grounding in all aspects of building. Although I am proficient in all building and handyman maintenance work, I have developed a speciality in swimming pools and am able to build, maintain and repair swimming pools from start to finish.
FF: What are your passions outside of work?
KF: I like to view life with a ‘glass half full’ attitude. My wife passed away a few years ago but I have three beautiful children; my youngest daughter is heading to high school next year so I spend whatever leisure time I get with my family. I’m a reborn Christian so my Sundays are sacred and a special time for me and my family – the privilege of now living close to the sea also allows us those long walks on the beach!
FF: How has joining the Fix Forward team helped you on your journey as a builder?
KF: They’ve brought something completely new to the table for me – Fix Forward has helped make my goals visible and provided me with a new perspective. Fix Forward gave me the necessary tools and structure that helps me manage my time better and, in essence, allows more time for me to enjoy life and what I do without wondering what is coming next. Fix Forward has taught me to put even more emphasis on the client, and that communication is key between all three parties. It’s such a blessing to know you have someone behind you that supports you when you confront problems and gives you guidance as to how to deal with anything that comes your way.
FF: A large part of Fix Forward’s focus has been Community Development. Are you active in your community?
KF: Absolutely! We have community soccer and netball teams which I like to support where I can. I also have four gentlemen who I have taken in to teach my skillset which helps them achieve their goals like I am achieving mine. Whenever there are smaller jobs which I can’t attend to, I send one of my guys on my behalf and I’m always encouraging the clients to give me feedback as to their experiences with them. This helps them to gain more experience, and to exercise the skills I’ve taught them. I also strive to encourage an appreciation for my guys to see the clients for the value they are bringing by trusting us with their work.
FF: What are your goals for yourself with Fix Forward?
KF: After meeting with my Fix Forward coach, we identified a few areas that I would really like to develop further, including bookkeeping and marketing myself. Sharpening my building skills with new techniques is also an ongoing process I’m very excited about. Time management is also a must so that I can prioritize my tasks and better manage mine and my staff’s days.
It’s amazing the new doors that are opened when a company puts its faith in you and allows you to grow personally, as well as together. I’m very optimistic about the future!