An Incredible Journey Ends at NFFS

Friends and Business Associates,

Today, I stepped down as CEO of NFFS.

The past four years have been the most exhilarating work years of my life: insanely high-growth, national recognition and helping people blossom into their best creates an experience beyond words.

They have been the most personally challenging as well.

Trying to manage a high-growth business with near-zero Customer transparency in a sector you know little about made for many sleepless nights and gray hairs. Let’s face it: this pink shirt wearing guy was a fish out of water in the construction world. The cost of exhilaration came with a high price: kindness, patience, presence and engagement towards my wife and daughter suffered, time for friends and family was short, I prioritized work over my daily health and I recently realized that I laugh a whole lot less than I used to laugh. Through it all, the journey produced a skill set I could have never garnered anywhere else. We smashed ten years of business, experience and learning into less than four!

The Owner’s Mindset

Before I began with NFFS, I committed to Marti that I would always act passionately in the best interests of the company. In fact, it is part of our guiding philosophy for the company. As the foreclosure business significantly pulls back, I am stepping down as CEO because it is in the best interests of the company.  My role no longer includes essential day-to-day responsibilities in a smaller business. As an experienced entrepreneur, it is what I would expect from my CEO; it is what I owe to Marti and the company.

Recently, we charted a course forward amid these choppy waters to succeed in a much smaller marketplace. This included the very difficult decision to lay off employees who had become friends. As I look forward and look back, I am proud that I helped Marti maximize this unique and historic period of time – and then scale it back to a more normalized state of business. Now that we have made the difficult changes, I believe the business is set to succeed again. The systems, process and people are in place and ready to thrive.

The final test of a leader is that he leaves in others the will and courage to carry on.

One of my favorite quotes is, “The final test of a leader is that he leaves in others the will and courage to carry on.” I believe in the team to execute our path forward. Besides, they’ve done all the hard work along the way. I’ve just been a really good cheerleader.

Pride and Gratitude

As I depart, I am so damn proud of our people. I hope I inspired our people as much as their work – and friendship – inspired me. I know I am better because of the experience; I hope it was transformational for our people too. Together, we grew a nationally-recognized business by outperforming the marketplace and created an indelible work experience. And, it was work to feel great about in a depressed economy. We stabilized home prices, revitalized blighted neighborhoods and protected people’s #1 asset: their home.  By my calculations, we rehabbed over 19,000 foreclosed homes – and counting – and provided services to another 20,000 homes. Thank you for buying into the wacky vision to be great when I kept asking more from you and enduring the pain along the way.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the four hundred plus amazing Vendors and dedicated Suppliers. There is no Kool-Aid drinking happening over here. We did not do this alone. It takes an amazing amount of support to pull off the amount of growth we experienced: from Mom and Pop Vendors to larger GCs stretching to every corner of Florida, to Home Depot to Sherwin Williams, to Gulf Eagle and Lowes to our bank, BBVA – we could not have done this without you. Thank you for believing me when I told you what we were going to attempt, grinding in the corners to succeed and working with us to create or work within systems for the way we conduct business.

Finally, I am forever grateful to Marti for the opportunity to lead amid chaos and turbulence. My work at the business was good; his ability and willingness to grow was great. I think this journey worked out pretty well; I’m hopeful we will do something together again. I appreciate his continued friendship. I love that goofy, zany and creative kid.

So, What’s Next?

So, the obvious question is everyone will ask is, “What is next?”

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Dawn of a New Day

Honestly, I do not know. I have no immediate plan other than to love on my family, re-invest in my friendships, take care of myself and re-discover my Cheerful Soul. In the short-term, I’m free for lunch or a phone catch-up – so long as I’m not fishing, writing, playing at the park with Brooklyn or brainstorming with Rachel.

My experience tells me that, over time, my mind will quiet down and I will become re-energized to tackle whatever it is the next challenge presents. Anyone need someone with a leadership background in retail, franchising, manufacturing, technology and construction? LOL. I’m not sure where I float that resume into the marketplace, but I’ll update you when I figure it out.

As always, I appreciate your love, friendship and support.

Random Quote

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

— Goethe

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