Doug Schukar, president and CEO, USA Mortgage

FINALIST

What many saw as a failure, Doug Schukar saw as an opportunity. When his former employer, LoanSurfer.com, filed for bankruptcy, Schukar acquired select company assets, including the USA Mortgage name and the right to cherry-pick those he wanted to hire for his new start-up.

He completed the acquisition in 2001, forming DAS Acquisition Co. LLC, which provides its full-service mortgage banker/broker services, under the USA Mortgage name. However, the acquisition didn’t come without some persistence on Schukar’s end. He survived four failed attempts to purchase the LoanSurfer.com assets and completed the acquisition using his own financial assets.

He took on great personal risk as he just started a family with his wife in the midst of the acquisition. Schukar continues to solely bear the financial risk of the company. From the company’s inception, Schukar realized the secret to its success relied in its people, so he sought to foster an environment in which they could succeed. This culture, which is sales-motivated and competitive although collaborative, promotes employee self-management and bonding with co-workers. As a result, USA Mortgage attracts top talent with low turnover.

Schukar’s charitable involvement includes being an elected trustee of the Village of Wildwood, sponsor of the Women’s Council of Realtors, past president of The Young Friends of the St. Louis Art Museum and past director of the Jewish Community Center Association.

USA Mortgage is an active sponsor of the Old Newsboys Day campaign and actively supports some 20 other charitable and civic organizations. Schukar, president and CEO, plans to expand USA Mortgage geographically, evidenced by recently opened offices in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Georgia. He is also in the process of launching DAS University, a curriculum tailored to engage employees, boost company-wide performance and nurture organizational change.

How to reach: USA Mortgage, www.usa-mortgage.com

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