NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
CEO and founder
Paramount Equity Mortgage
“What did we do to help families save money today?” is a question Hayes Barnard asks every day. It’s the foundation that he’s built his business upon and what drives his enthusiastic leadership as CEO and founder of Paramount Equity Mortgage.
Barnard had grown disenchanted with his corporate sales job and wanted to do something meaningful. He grew up the son of a single mother who worked three jobs to stay afloat, so he knew the importance of budgeting and finding ways to save money. It was with these principles that he opened Paramount in 2003.
After convincing two friends to move from the Midwest to help, the company initially experienced tremendous growth — going from three to 300 employees in three years. However, with the economic downturn, even though they did not make risky loans, the lack of demand for mortgage products meant downsizing.
Bernard decided to go in a bold, new direction, helping people save money on residential solar systems.
While the mortgage side of the business has rebounded significantly over the last year; the growth of the solar business has been phenomenal. To date, the company has helped nearly 5,000 families go solar and has an aggressive plan grow by more than 100 percent this year, selling 6,000 systems.
Barnard has now set his sights on national expansion and an eventual IPO.
He believes in going to great lengths for his employees, so they in turn do what is best for customers. The company has onsite car washes three times a week, gourmet food trucks daily, quarterly bonus programs for individuals and departments, trips for top performers and an annual holiday party with a special celebrity guest.
Paramount employs 550 people who are preparing to move in to a new call center building that operates 24/7. This fits Barnard’s idea that keeping all functions in-house provides the best customer service.
How to reach: Paramount Equity Mortgage, www.paramountequity.com