Sonny Spicer, the driving force and part owner of Spicer Machine and Tool in Boyd, watches intently as a space-age Hass machine whirs and whines over a tiny piece of metal, jets of water and coolant spraying all over.
"The machine does all the work," Sonny says.
Sonny is a humble guy. A man of God, family man, and a fair boss.
At the company he started in 2001, Sonny works extremely hard, leading a crew that includes his parents and business partners, Leroy and Abbie; Chris Taylor, Sonny's buddy since their days together on the Harrison High School wrestling team; and new hire David Haley.
Everyone is a machinist. Everybody helps out. Even Sonny's pastor, Keith Mitchell, gets enlisted to pitch in. But it's Sonny who takes the lead. He has pounded the pavement for years, drumming up business in Lexington, Cincinnati and at the Toyota plant in nearby Georgetown.
“(Sonny) can walk in anywhere and make a friend,” his wife Alean says. “He is very charismatic.”
He is at the shop six days a week, leaving long after his staff has gone home.
“This is all Sonny,” Abbie says, gesturing around the shop. “He gets us the work. We just show up.”
No job is too small, no part too complex for Spicer Machine and Tool. The shop has traditional manual machines and expensive, top-of-the-line machines. Most of the work that Sonny brings in for the shop utilizes those high-tech machines.
It was a risk, making those investments for the business. But Sonny was OK with that.
"If you don't take a chance," he says one of his elders told him years ago, "you'll end up working for someone that did."
At the shop, when Abbie approaches with a paper they need, both men turn and greet her with a twinkle in their eyes. Sonny reaches around her stout shoulders and gives her a squeeze. Leroy looks warmly over his glasses at his son and wife's embrace.
At home, Sonny relaxes in front of the TV with Alean, usually with Nelly, their dachshund, curled up in his arms. Sonny and Alean have been married for 12 years but still flirt like high school sweethearts. Brought together by their mutual love of comedy, they laugh together a lot.
They both work late — Sonny at the machine shop, Alean as a family development specialist — not seeing each other until evening. He gets to miss her, he says, which makes him appreciate their time together with the family all the more.
Often his stepdaughter Bella stops by for dinner, unwinding after nursing classes and working as a nursing assistant. Sometimes their grandchildren, Ezra and Lakeleigh, are cuddled on the couch with them, bouncing out of Alean's lap to dance around or play with the dog and her favorite toy elephant. They all gather in their living room, resting after a long day, soaking in their love for each other before heading to bed.
“We get up in the morning and start it all over again,” Sonny says. “There is always work.”