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Forty Under 40 2024: Owners, Presidents, CEOs

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Forty Under 40 2024: Owners, Presidents, CEOs

Get to know the CEOs, owners, and presidents of the Forty Under 40 class of 2024


April 1, 2024
forty under 40 pro remodeler
This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Pro Remodeler.

 

 

Click on a winner to view their profile

 

Addie Merrick-Phang • Chris SeverDiana PauroGino SperoJake ArmstrongJesse KreismanJohn GioffreJoseph TsedakaKelly KirkKyle BridganLauren MillsM. Cory JayMeghan BillingsRichard BegallaRyan KellySean CollinsgruSean McGrawStephanie DaileyWoody Priest

 


Addie Merrick-Phang, 36

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

President / Merrick Design and Build / Kensington, Md. / 2024 Projected Revenue: $6.6 million


Merrick became president of her father’s remodeling company in 2019, and purchased the business in 2022.

“I was very excited and also surprised to feel excited,” she says. “I’d been in charge for awhile and thought it would be business as usual, but it felt different to suddenly be the owner.”

Since then, Merrick rebranded the company, changing the website and logo to an aesthetic that “feels more like me.” Company culture was rethought as well. In 2023, Merrick held a gathering to align team members toward a new mission, vision, and values, and has since managed to keep those ideals front and center.

Operationally, she split the handyman division away from the rest of the business in order to draw more attention to those services. On the marketing side, Merrick recently increased Google advertising and made it more targeted. “A lot of calls are coming in, but I’m not yet convinced they’re quality leads,” she says.

Best Advice

As a mother and business owner, Merrick’s time is at a premium. To be most efficient, she calendars her to-do list and only reads emails when she has time to resolve them. “Everyone should make sure to safeguard their time so they can spend it on things that matter most,” she says.


Podcast Recommendation:

Remodelers Advantage Powertips

podcast image

 


 

Chris Sever, 33

pro remodeler forty under 40

President / Thompson Creek Window Company / DC Metro


 

Most people in the industry will say they never planned to work in home improvement. The same can’t be said for Sever.

He began dipping his toes into the Thompson Creek waters back in high school thanks in part to his uncle and current Thompson Creek CEO Rick Wuest.

During summers, Sever served in several departments, including the call center, canvassing, events, and accounting. He would later focus on finance in college and early in his career, which prepared him for success in his current role.

“At my high school graduation, we had a board where we wrote where we’d be in 10 years,” remembers Sever. “My board said I’d be back at Thompson Creek as the president. I just always knew I’d be back here.”

Professional Accomplishment

Thompson Creek’s growth goals are ambitious.

Sever’s contributions to process development and running lean operations have been critical to the company’s success as it’s expanded to new locations and new product lines.

“All of last year and this year is setting the foundation for a rapid growth model up and down the East Coast and out west,” says Sever. “We are working towards becoming a billion-dollar organization.”

Advice

“Prioritize your people,” he says. “People are the foundation of any successful business, especially in an industry as personal as home improvement.” 


How I Built This with Guy Raz Business Podcast Recommendation:

How I Built This with Guy Raz
 

 

 

 

 


Diana Pauro, 34

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

Founder /  Rebel Builders /  Newton, Mass.  / 2024 Projected Revenue: $5.4 million


A native of Argentina, Pauro earned a Master’s in Architecture and worked for a government agency experimenting with non-traditional building materials (think plastic bottles). After arriving in the U.S., she took a job as a designer with a remodeling company, and was promoted to design director.

In 2019, she decided to strike out on her own. “I really liked it, but also felt like I have a little bit of a strong Latina energy,” she says. “I love processes and team building and I felt that wanted to do my own thing.”

Today, Rebel Builders has 19 employees and Pauro aims for a holacratic system of leadership where responsibilities and decision-making is carried out among all team members.

Biggest Challenge

Rebel Builders is landing larger projects which means rethinking resources and certain processes. “The ability to realize and sort which tools...we can use as we grow has been huge,” Pauro says.

She also continues to elevate her deep commitment to protecting the environment.


podcast image

Book Recommendation:

The Companies We Keep 

 

 

 

 


Gino Spero, 34

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

Owner / Refined Home Services / Northern New England / 2024 Projected Revenue: $5 million


 

Construction has always been a way of life for Spero.

He helped his grandfather install roofs, ran his uncle’s roofing business, and then started his own—Refined Roofing Services.

He wanted to expand his offerings, so he rebranded as Refined Home Services, adding siding, decks, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical.

Professional Accomplishment

Spero recognized a three-tiered challenge to growing his business: a saturated roofing and exterior renovation market, industry consolidation, and more competition from out-of-market companies.

To combat these obstacles, he revamped his website and offered instant online roofing quotes.

“We wanted to make it so that people could shop online for home services just like they would for groceries,” Spero says.

This has helped to move up consumer buying timelines.

“We heard from prospects who pushed projects off year after year because they were afraid it would cost too much,” he says. “Now, they can see a price before they meet with us.”


Jake Armstrong, 37

pro remodeler forty under 40

Owner / Revive Properties / Destin, Fla. / 2024 Projected Revenue: $5.25 million


Armstrong always sees room for growth.

It’s not about growing the company for him, but uplifting his trade partners, guiding team members, and enriching the client experience.

“That’s kind of always been our motto: build solid relationships, treat other people the way you want to be treated,” says Armstrong. “Even with our clients, put yourself in the client’s shoes.”

It’s what allowed Armstrong to transform a house flipping side hustle to Revive Properties in just eight years. 

Only as Good as Our Team

Outside of team-wide monthly learning meetings, Armstrong schedules one-on-ones with employees to understand their goals, then creates plans incorporating education and mentorship to help them achieve them.

“If I was working for a company, I would want to think that the boss cares about us,” says Armstrong. 

Leadership

In his own life, Armstrong seeks outside coaches and communities to enrich his knowledge and leadership skills.

He holds onto the value of improving systems and processes, and he’s not afraid to say no to red flag clients or share transparent estimates, which go back to his goal of ensuring a great experience for both his team and his clients.


forty under 40 pro remodelerBusiness Resource Recommendation:

Arete Syndicate

 

 

 

 

 


Jesse Kreisman, 29

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

President / ALCO Products Company / DC Metro / 2024 Projected Revenue: $10 million


 

How many changes do you make to a family-owned business that’s been around since 1956?

For third-generation president Kreisman, the short answer is just about everything.

Kreisman has been around Alco Products Company for as long as he can remember, but he officially took the helm in 2020. He and his brother, Howie, implemented new ideas that resulted in the revenue tripling in a few short years.

Biggest Challenge

Alco Products Company was a typical owner-operator organization for nearly six decades. Most of its business came from referrals, and Kreisman knew he had to overhaul everything to match his vision for the company’s future. But it wouldn’t be easy.

This meant creating new processes and building new relationships. It also meant cutting ties with the past.

“It’s essentially a new business,” admits Kreisman. “All of our employees are new. We’re working with different vendors. We’ve transformed everything.”


The Great Game of Business Business Book Recommendation:

The Great Game of Business

 

 

 

 


 

John Gioffre, 34

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

Owner /  Revent Builds / Austin, Teaxas / 2024 Projected Revenue: $12 million
 


A native of New York, Gioffre attended Rice University and then began investing in real estate with a friend. In 2017, he started Revent, which specializes in luxury remodels and custom homes.

Proudest Accomplishment

Most spec homes are made to appeal to the widest possible market, but Gioffre took a different path with a project he calls The Modern Victorian.

The build made a huge splash on social media, generating 50 million views worldwide.

“It is a home I hold close to my heart and one I’m very proud of having imagined and built,” Gioffre says.

In the Public Eye

Gioffre has developed multiple YouTube channels and is now signed with a production company.

He also started an initiative called Build Camp, where he teaches the business of constructing a home in real time.

He plans to share schedules, train on how to read plans, and explain the major phases throughout the build.

The course is $1,000 and more than 100 people have expressed interest, Gioffre says.


Book Recommendation: The One Thing 

podcast image

 


Joseph Tsedaka, 38 

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

President / NOMI / Addison, Texas / 2024 Projected Revenue: $10 million


Named after Tsedaka’s beloved grandmother, NOMI serves the market exclusively with bathroom remodels.

Tsedaka, who founded the business with his brother-in-law, believes that one powerful key to success is finding a single segment within the industry and narrowing your services to excel in that space.

Business Innovation

Tsedaka sees NOMI as a technology company that happens to remodel bath- rooms. “We have built a system that can design and estimate your project in minutes, better than any other company,” he says. NOMI is also above average for speed of installation, Tsedaka says.

This was accomplished by creatively building a series of small efficiencies into the process.

“I brought subcontractors and representatives from the manufacturer ... to my house, we pointed to the guest bathroom and said, ‘That’s our playground.’”

The team analyzed every step of a typical installation shaving time from multiple processes along the way. NOMI also offers lower prices by relying on tech for jobs that needed to be completed

by a human in the past, Tsedaka says. His goal over the next few months is to entirely eliminate in-person visits for homeowners.

“We’ve already built a technology around it,” he says.


Book Recommendation:

Blue Ocean Strategy

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Kelly Kirk, 35

pro remodeler forty under 40

 
 

President / Greymark Design + Build / Houston, Texas / 2024 Projected Revenue: $4 million


There are many keys to Kirk’s success, but a big one lies in her industry involvement.

In 2023, Kirk became president of the Greater Houston Builders Association’s Remodelers Council, an especially meaningful accomplishment for her.

Kirk’s mother, Leslie King, was the first woman in that role, and Kirk was “honored to follow in her footsteps.” King died in 2019.

Best Advice

“Industry involvement is huge,” Kirk says. As an example, Greymark is part of Remodelers Advantage, and before taking over her mother’s business, Kirk spent time with other members in similar transitions.

She found the help invaluable.

One piece of advice she received was to create a budget with specific trigger points.

“If I’m this much below revenue targets, I’ll do this. If this much, then this. I’ll cut education at this point, tool budget at this point, staffing at this point. That way it’s not an emotional decision if the time comes.”


Book Recommendation: Atomic Habits

podcast image

 


Kyle Bridgan, 29

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

Owner, Founder / NSS (Noble Solid Service) Home / Tacoma & Seattle, Wash. / 2024 Projected Revenue: 4.2 million


Bridgan became a contractor after his parent’s bad remodeling experience.

“We have a really cool opportunity as this next generation to change people’s perspectives of what it’s like to work with a contractor,” he says.

Bridgan hates the idea of bidding low and adding up change orders, so he’s firm on his fixed-price, no change order promise to clients.

And Bridgan has systems to ensure that promise is kept, such as his 34-step SOP for 1099 designers. “We have a very, very rigorous structure,” he says.

Business Innovations

Bridgan puts money where his mouth is, tying compensation to performance.

If trades arrive late, a penalty fee is deducted and paid directly to the homeowner. Team members have monthly bonus opportunities for punctuality and staying on schedule.

To further enhance a client’s experience and trust, Bridgan developed a unique marketing program, investing a small sum into clients for a video review rather than in traditional marketing efforts.

Burn Out to Betterment

Not long ago, Bridgan describes being ”burned out on the day-to-day.”

Working with a consultant, trying new approaches, and an all-in attitude gave his company a 180-degree turn, from a $350,000 cash advance at the beginning of 2023 to profit in just one year.


forty under 40 pro remodelerBusiness Book Recommendation:

How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People

 

 

 

 

 


Lauren Mills, 37

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

President / Sea Pointe Design & Remodel / Orange County, Calif. / 2024 Projected Revenue: $18.5 million


Mills works hard and plays hard.

She served as Sea Pointe’s director of sales for seven years prior to becoming president in 2024.

In that time, Mills helped grow sales volume from $8 million to nearly $20 million, allowing the company to increase from 35 employees to 70.

In the last 24 months, she’s navigated a robust 30% growth.

But at the end of the day, Mills’ hope is for her team and clients to have fun.

“I think that if we build a fun team and a cultured team that all work hard and play hard, it really transpires into growth through the company and growth in sales,” she says.

Leadership Style

Collaboration for Mills means a smooth day-to-day for everyone.

Mills worked to create her own presidential cabinet, developing a six-member leadership team.

“When I started to get into a leadership role, I frankly said, ‘I don’t want to do this alone.’ I want to have people that are wiser than me and more talented than me,” she says.

When hiring, Mills asks candidates, “Have you ever made a mistake?”

To her, mistakes and humility are a must.

“If you can’t answer that question, you’re probably not a good fit for Sea Pointe,” she says.


forty under 40 pro remodelerBusiness Book Recommendation:

The One Thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


M. Cory Jay, 39

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

President / Advantage Home Pros / Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa / 2024 Projected Revenue: $24 million


 

Jay’s business began as a two-person husband-and-wife operation in 2010 under the name Advantage Seamless Gutters.

After five years of slow growth, Jay developed processes and systems that led to doubling the revenue year-over-year.

In 2021, he acquired another construction company and expanded his services into roofing. Now Advantage Home Pros, the company serves customers in three states and employs nearly 100 team members.

Biggest Challenge

Jay and his team are developing a rewards system to attract employees.

“Not all of it is tied to money,” says Jay. “A lot of it is recognizing people’s accomplishments.”

Advice

Jay says it’s important for business owners and managers to “go out and slap hoods.”

He and his department leaders get to know the frontline employees in order to gain their trust. He believes that once trust is earned, employees will tell you the good and bad that help keep a company running effectively.

“We had a recent hire who said he hadn’t seen the owner of the last company he worked for in six months,” Jay says. “He said it’s refreshing to come to a place where the owner really wants to get out and get to know everybody.”


The Ultimate Sales Machine Business Book Recommendation:

The Ultimate Sales Machine

 

 

 

 

 


Meghan Billings, 37

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

Owner / Meg & Co. Designer Homes / Southern Idaho / 2024 Projected Revenue: $8 million


Billings says her former life in manufacturing engineering is similar process-wise to construction, but in a different language.

Applied to construction, it sounds like streamlining a schedule, pushing out inefficiencies, and incorporating documentation.

Billings’ latest innovation is a master manual for company SOPs, further solidified through CRM integration.

For her, these documented systems fueling smooth operations is intended to enhance the client and trade experience.

“I don’t think I am your traditional leader,” she says. “I think it’s been a huge advantage to me. I do it differently.”

Business Approach

Meg & Co.’s motto is trades and clients first.

“It’s not always the case in construction, so having one or the other is pretty unique,” Billings says. “But it changes the [team’s] mindset completely.”

It pencils out too: Billings is the only Certified Master Builder in her region, which requires client and trade interviews, plus financial reviews.

This honor came after just seven years in operation. 


pro remodeler forty under 40Business Book Recommendation:

Go Giver

 

 

 

 

 


Richard Begalla, 39

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

President / Window Depot (Penn-Ohio) / Youngstown, Ohio / 2024 Projected Revenue: $10 million


 

Begalla discovered that taking care of his people and customers is a key component of growth.

This approach helped him reach rising star status in dual professional roles: the owner of Window Depot Penn-Ohio and executive vice president of Window Depot’s national network of 82 dealers, which, when combined, posted a 2023 revenue of $145 million.

Professional Accomplishment

Begalla’s sustained success in business has earned him many opportunities to speak at industry events over the years. He leads discussions on topics such as marketing, the financials of scaling a business, and company mission and vision.

“Having the opportunity to pass on knowledge I have gained throughout my career to my peers has been a fulfilling and humbling experience,” says Begalla.

Biggest Challenge

Citing changes in lead generation and consumer demand, Begalla developed a three-pronged approach to combat challenges.

First, his business will expand into new markets.

The company will also add product lines by launching a bath and shower division under a new brand, Home Team Home Improvements.

Lastly, he will grow his team’s face-to-face marketing efforts by partnering with retail businesses.

“We are confident this new marketing division will be a beneficial lead source for the planned growth trajectory of the company,” he says.


 Start with Why by Simon SinekBusiness Book Recommendation:

Start with Why

 

 

 

 

 


Ryan Kelly, 30

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

CEO / KHB Construction / Ripon, Calif. / 2024 Projected Revenue: $6.9 Million


When it comes to growth and risk-taking, Kelly is a self-described extremist.

At the heart of that vision is a desire to “curate leaders.” KHB has a powerful marketing engine, in-depth accounting, strong sales training, and robust systems and processes, Kelly says.

With those resources, his goal is to empower team members to pursue whatever area fits their skills and personal aspirations.

“We have an [employee] in college right now, and she’s not sure about her minor.

I was like, ‘Take your pick. Do you want to be in media and marketing? Finance? HR? Project management? We could cater your position in the company.’”

He also operates with a high degree of transparency and wants every team member to know where the company stands on revenue, gross profit, and all of its goals.


Book Recommendation: The Hard Thing About Hard Things 

podcast image


Sean Collinsgru, 35

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

Chief Vision Officer / Premier Outdoor Living / New Jersey / 2024 Projected Revenue: $1.8 million


Collinsgru started his outdoor renovation company in 2015, and three years later had a realization that changed the course of his career.

“The industry has some of the largest manufacturers, but there wasn’t anyone leveraging video content as a core part of their business,” he recalls.

Collinsgru decided to fill that void, creating about 100 videos in 2019, and learning as he went.

Today, the company’s six employees include a full-time videographer who shoots and edits every project.

Premier has more than 1 million followers across social media, with YouTube videos that garner as many as 10 million views. The content varies between project time lapses and a weekly how-to show with the goal of entertaining viewers as well as educating them.

“A lot of the build stuff on YouTube is very dry,” Collinsgru says. “So, we mess around, tell jokes, and try to build the coolest thing we can. You’re going to hopefully learn something in every video.”

Proudest Accomplishment

In 2023, as a way to give back, Collinsgru created a backyard makeover contest.

“We got a ton of great nominations and it was tough to whittle them down,” he says.

The team selected the founder of a nonprofit called Return Kindness, and Premier donated the entire remodel. Future goals include a nationwide giveaway.


Podcast Recommendation: Hardworking Happy Hour

podcast image

 

 

 


Sean McGraw, 36

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

CEO / FOR Energy / Phoenix / 2024 Projected Revenue: $8 million


 

Five years after founding FOR Energy, McGraw set a self-described “pie in the sky” goal for his company to make the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.

Much to his surprise, they achieved the goal and made the list that year. And again the next year. And three consecutive years after that.

It was special to him because the award is based on a percentage of annual growth.

“We’re very proud of winning this award five straight years,” says McGraw. “It was encouraging and boosted our culture and commitment to sustainable growth.”

Biggest Challenge

McGraw’s marketing costs have continued to rise, so he’s taking a more aggressive approach to meet the challenge.

He’s cutting back on pay-per-click advertising and similar digital marketing strategies where results declined for his business in 2023. He’s not content to spend money and wait for the phones to ring.

“We’re doubling down on shows and events and canvassing,” he says. “We want to be more in control of our marketing costs and get out in front of people to create our own opportunities.”

Advice

“Stop trying to reinvent the wheel,” McGraw says. “Learn from others and share your experiences with them.” 


Stephanie Dailey, 37

pro remodeler forty under 40

 

Vice President / Steven Dailey Construction / Salt Lake and Utah County / 2024 Projected Revenue: $14 million


The jobsite is where you’ll find Dailey most, but it’s just one of the 100 places you’ll see her.

The general contractor can be found at @stephaniebuildsit along with her 113,000 Instagram followers.

Or maybe you’ll catch her on The Build Show, a popular educational platform.

Maybe you recognize her from Utah Business’s Forty Under 40, or even as co-founder of tech company Jobsite Codes. 

Client Relationships

Dailey’s list of accomplishments goes on, but she maintains two focuses: the business and clients.

Clients never speak to project managers at Steven Dailey Construction. They talk to Stephanie Dailey and Steve Dailey. And they’d like to keep it that way.

“We’d like to keep that even if that means we have less projects than other builders in town,” says Stephanie. “We’re okay with that. That’s what sets us apart is that one-on-one connection.”

Industry Involvement 

Dailey learned about construction from her father, and also gained a deep understanding of the impact of industry involvement.

Currently, she is the incoming Utah State Representative for the National Association of Home Builders, and the first female and youngest president of the Utah Valley HBA.


dare to leadBusiness Book Recommendation:

Dare to Lead

 

 

 

 

 


Woody Priest, 37

 

pro remodeler forty under 40

President / Burr Roofing, Siding, & Windows / Southern Connecticut / 2024 Projected Revenue: $8.2 million


 

Priest entered the family business full-time in 2010 as a salesman. He knew the company had struggled since the economic downturn in 2008, but he didn’t know the extent until he received a heartfelt email from his father on Thanksgiving 2013 suggesting that Priest start looking for a new job.

The business was slated to close on the first of the year.

Priest was blindsided, but not defeated. He reviewed the numbers to figure out how he could cut expenses and take control of the business.

“By the second week of December, I decided that I would be a fool to not try to make it work,” he recalls.

Professional Accomplishment

After years of slow but profitable growth, Priest decided to get aggressive in 2019. His model is to run as lean as possible.

The result has been an annual compound growth rate of 29.8% for the past five years, growing to a projected $8.2 million in revenue in 2024.

“We finally have an entity that has a pulse,” he says. “It’s a living, breathing thing. It’s bigger than me or any one piece.”

Advice

“Be deliberate. As you grow and evolve, know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and be true to yourself.”


ThinkDaily Blog Business Blog Recommendation: Think Daily by Larry Janesky
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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