Dan Catalfumo never got to live in the house he built for himself
back in 1978.
The attention to detail and the craftsmanship that Catalfumo
poured into the project was so captivating that a passerby offered
to buy it, so he sold the house to this new fan of his work.
The experience convinced Catalfumo that building houses was
what he wanted to do for a living. Like all leaders who want to turn
their passion into a career, his challenge would be to find others
who could see his vision in the same way that he did.
“When I started my company, I was building houses on the weekend and working for my father in the shoe repair store,” Catalfumo
says of his humble beginnings. “It was difficult because I was the
carpenter, the foreman and the superintendent.”
With so many roles on his own shoulders, Catalfumo grew his
business slowly. He added people in a deliberate manner, selecting
individuals who he believed would be able to work with him to keep
the company moving forward.
“It was bringing people on board and working side by side with
them,” Catalfumo says. “As soon as they learned your style and what
you were trying to accomplish, you would add two or three people
and work with them, and the group got larger and larger.”
The business gradually evolved from a focus on residential
properties to a more commercial-oriented development company. Today, Catalfumo Construction and Development Inc. has 310
employees with 2007 revenue of $300 million and the construction firm has developed more than 40 million square feet of real
estate in the South Florida region.
Having literally built the business from the ground up, the company’s founder, president and CEO says he can use that experience as
a foundation to bolster the message he delivers to his employees.
“I used to sweep the floors and dig the ditches along with my
guys,” Catalfumo says. “When I walk onto a job site or into a development meeting, it’s not that I’m telling them to do something that I
think is unrealistic. I’ve already done it so I know it can be done.
They feel that sense of pride that it’s not an impossible task. It’s truly
a task that the owner has already done once.”
Here’s how Catalfumo has conveyed his passion to his employees
to help his company achieve record growth.