EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Gulf Coast Area Awards

Construction & Industrial Services

AWARD RECIPIENT

hou_eoy_EricLiparEric Lipar
CEO
LGI Homes, Inc.
www.lgihomes.com

 

As real estate companies struggled to stay afloat after the economic collapse of 2008, Eric Lipar and LGI Homes, Inc., continued to grow and even expand into new markets. Lipar’s efforts of simplification, standardization and constant improvement helped LGI weather the storm and even thrive.
Lipar describes LGI as “a sales and marketing company that happens to sell homes.” Under his vision, the company does not rely on realty agents to provide customers. Rather, LGI actively participates in direct marketing campaigns targeting renters in a 30-mile radius of the LGI community.
Through the marketing campaigns, the company provides the renter with an option to own a home instead of renting one for nearly the same monthly cost.
Lipar, who serves as CEO, has built his company with a people-first focus. He believes in focusing more on marketing to the customer and less on product emphasis. Customers who visit a sales office are provided information about their credit score and the home-buying experience regardless of whether they actually purchase a home.
It’s all part of a philosophy that Lipar believes in for his company, his customers and his employees. Lipar works with the idea that people sell homes, homes don’t sell themselves. “We, us, together” is one of LGI’s cultural phrases, encouraging employees to be team-oriented.
One of Lipar’s concerns is maintaining the values-based culture as LGI continues to grow.
To combat this risk, sales managers travel every quarter to the headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, for training sessions. There is also a company-wide conference that leverages best practices across all levels of the organization. Every employee gets a chance to travel with his or her spouse and network with other employees. Lipar requires that the same messages about culture and values be shared in each of the company’s offices to ensure everyone understands the goal.


FINALISTS

hou_eoy_MichaelBurrowMichael Burrow
Chairman and CEO
Burrow Global, LLC
www.burrowglobal.com

 

Michael Burrow is a humble man who does not seek the spotlight, despite his talent for building strong companies. He is happy to offer his expertise, gained after more than 45 years in the engineering, procurement and construction industry. But he has no problem admitting when someone else on his team has a better answer to the issue at hand.
Burrow became a company owner at the age of 27 and has since founded three companies in the engineering, procurement and construction industry. He came out of retirement in 2009 to purchase Demar Ltd., a Houston-based firm that served as the foundation for Burrow Global, LLC. He purchased four additional companies to support Burrow Global’s rapid growth.
As chairman and CEO, Burrow relies on a management team with more than 20 years of experience in the construction and engineering field. The team exhibits ‘healthy friction,’ as Burrow describes it, ensuring that the best ideas and approaches are implemented in the company’s functional areas.
Top performers and those on the management team participate in profits, but Burrow doesn’t push out those who are perceived to be the lowest performers in his organization. Rather, he works with them to determine the clients or functions for which he or she is a better match.
Burrow trusts people, perhaps a little too much at times. But that has not stopped him from becoming an astute business leader, as well as a turnaround and integration specialist having overseen more than 31 acquisitions in his career.
His ability to work with people is evident with his employees, but also with clients. Burrow makes it a point to get to know the people his company is doing business with. He wants to know about the culture and major business drivers of his clients and use that knowledge to provide exemplary service.


hou_eoy_MikeFeiginMichael Feigin
Founder and CEO
MainStreet America/Design Tech Homes
www.mainstreetamerica.com

 

It didn’t take long for Michael Feigin to realize that selling computers was not what he wanted to do with his life. He had taken some time during his high school years to build homes and the experience stuck with him. He rapidly rose through the ranks as a Houston homebuilder and began attending trade shows to learn more about the industry.
It was at these shows that he noticed that his homebuilding customers were hampered by the fact that they had to visit eight to 10 different locations to build a home. There was the architect, the mortgage broker, the interior designer, the appliance store, the furniture store, etc. He quickly realized that customers should be able to have a one-stop shop for building a custom home.
The idea of Main Street America/Design Tech Homes became his vision to connect customers with manufacturers. His vision now includes a suburban neighborhood of 12 lavishly decorated homes, two restaurants, a furniture store, an accessory store, a cooking school, a mortgage company and a title company, all in one location.
Feigin, the founder and CEO, believes his is a unique business concept that has shown the world how to innovate and enhance the homebuilding experience by using technology and bringing manufacturers closer to the customer.
The leadership team of architects, interior designers, chefs, managers, sales and furniture buyers are offered equity shares in his company so that they feel accountable for the success of his concept. Feigin believes that this has been critical to the success of attracting and retaining top talent.
The individual business leaders can focus their efforts on addressing client needs — not on meeting shareholder estimates — while management has the flexibility to invest in new capabilities that benefit clients.
Feigin is confident he has the ability to continue to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.


hou_eoy_TroyCollinsTroy Collins
CEO

 

 

 

hou_eoy_NathanGrangerNathan Granger
President
Quality Companies USA, LLC
www.qualitycompanies.com

 

If you want to reach Troy Collins on the phone, don’t worry about what time it is. He’ll answer the call. As CEO at Quality Companies USA, LLC, Collins leads with a selfless philosophy that has allowed him to maintain an unmatched working relationship with his employees, vendors and customers alike.
The business began to come together following the death of his father in June 2001. His father taught him the business and also passed on some leadership and people philosophies.
Collins launched Quality Construction & Production in December 2001 with Nathan Granger, a former acquaintance of Collins’s father.
Today, Quality Companies USA is a one-stop shop for clients as a conglomerate of Quality Construction & Production, LLC; Quality Production Management, LLC; and Traco Production Services, Inc.
The diversified company provides both onshore and offshore construction, fabrication, maintenance and staffing services. Quality’s family atmosphere, open-door policy and lack of corporate politics have all fostered unbridled commitment to excellent customer service and a multitude of repeat customers. This flat, lean company prides itself on having the most highly skilled employees in the industry.
Collins serves as CEO and Granger is the company’s president. Both men have a strong commitment to finding the right people for their business and then retaining the best employees. The team has devoted many resources to personnel, including a partnership with the University of Lafayette’s master’s degree in business administration program where it provides internships for the best students.
The company endured some tough times during its first two years of operation and again following Hurricane Lili in 2002. With the increased demand for oil and gas repair work, Quality increased its employee count and the boost in work caused a strain in cash flow. But the leaders persevered and proved to everyone that they could handle anything thrown their way.


hou_eoy_JeffDavisJeffery Davis
Chairman and CEO
The Brock Group
www.brockgroup.com

 

Jeffery Davis joined The Brock Group with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur. He had just left Texaco, where he had a finance job in the company’s oil and gas analysis group. After leaving that position, he met Jerry Brock and decided to become The Brock Group’s first project manager.
When Davis began with the company, it operated under a superintendent model. Through Davis’s leadership, The Brock Group transformed its operating model to one based on project managers who could more effectively and efficiently interact with the company’s customer base. It led to significant increases in both revenue and margin.
Introducing the project manager structure was a big part of Davis’s early career at The Brock Group. He introduced key metrics used by management to run the business. Through his determination, entrepreneurial spirit and strong leadership skills, he quickly advanced in the company and became a trusted adviser to the Brock family.
When the Brock family sold a controlling interest to the private equity group Lindsay Goldberg LLC, Davis was quickly identified as a strong leader with a strategic growth vision and was promoted to CEO.
Beginning in early 2007, the company began a significant transformation in which Davis had to recruit top talent to make it all work. He understood the importance of building a strong management team that would be given the ability to lead their areas without being micromanaged.
Davis, who also serves as the company’s chairman, sees his role as entrepreneur as one in which he needs to lead by example by treating others with respect. He has maintained this attitude as a core value in the way he interacts with employees, customers and third parties alike. He empowers management to develop their own strategy for success and then provides opportunities to execute.