Constructing life while building bridges: THE TRIALS AND EVOLUTION OF CRAIG FINLEY, JR.

Structural Engineer, June 2011, Cover Story

By Susan Wallace

A little boy sits in a wooden sandbox surrounded by Tonka trucks and miniature mountains of sand. His small, sand-encrusted hand drives the yellow backhoe, moving dirt back and forth, making imaginary roads and bridges. What was child’s play then has turned into a life calling for Craig Finley, Jr., P.E., founder of Finley Engineering Group.

Craig Finley was born in 1954 in Spring Valley, Ill., near Peoria. His mother, Geri, was a school teacher/college professor and his father, Bob, was in the agricultural grain business. Craig, the oldest of the four Finley children, relished spending time with his grandfather, Lyle White. A self-made man, his grandfather was a successful farmer and traded cattle. He not only taught Craig the ins and outs of business, but also taught him valuable life lessons. Those lessons and words of wisdom would build the foundation for the person and the professional Craig Finley would later become.

Young Finley loved sports. He played football, basketball, baseball, and golf for the Iola Mustangs at a small Kansas high school. His talents earned him a football scholarship to Baker University. His grades, however, were no match for his excellence in football. Read more…

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