My Mentor | My Father

It's easier than ever to find great leaders and mentors in business today. But I've never had to look elsewhere for inspiration.

My father has always inspired me -- especially the way he’s redeveloped the building where he grew three companies. His building in Bay City is where my brothers and I played in the air handler and rode our bikes throughout while he worked on Saturday mornings.

In a way, he’s not only redeveloped the property but also himself. 

My dad put himself through college and graduate school. He helped my grandmother, a single mom, raise his younger brother and sisters. He founded his first hospice and homecare company before the age of thirty. He grew it, sold it, and became the CEO of the larger parent company for a number of years.

He retired from being a CEO in his early 50s and started another company. This one was more personal.

The new corporate culture he established was the opposite of the large corporate model he left behind. His focus was on building teams and giving team members the tools to succeed so they could provide the best patient care. Utilizing emotional intelligence to do the right thing and trust in your team is critical for a business as delicate as hospice care.

My father has always been a person of great integrity with a stellar reputation. He's traveled and put in the hard work for so many years that it's his nature … his normal.

So when I started my company nearly two years ago, I didn't expect my father to be selling his yet again. He was purchasing The Bay City Times building and I told him I founded a company one day as we walked an architect through the property.

A week later he told my brothers and I that he’d be selling his company. The following day he told me that he didn't want to back out of purchasing The Times, but we needed another use for it.

That's how I began working with my father in real estate. 

I love watching how he handles situations in meetings. The way he sits back and listens, watches the vibe and flow around the table. He makes building collaborative teams a priority.

When kicking off a development project, I spend a lot of time considering how the players interact. Things can be quite brutal if there isn't teamwork and collaboration. Historic buildings have a mind of their own and throw challenges your way. Teams who like to creatively collaborate will thrive on this. 

Dad’s newest redevelopment venture is City Market, an indoor market in that same Bay City building, featuring 30 vendors offering a variety of fresh produce, meats, fish, and specialty items.

Bringing this vision to life began only nine months ago. But in that time, my dad’s handled the hiring of a market manager, the redesign, plan review, health inspections, building inspections, construction, readjusting existing office tenants, and attracting 30 vendors to join in his vision.

It's nothing short of miraculous. 

He walks through and knows each vendor by name. In fact, he knows the names of their kids, spouses, and tons of fun facts about each and every one. He knows the names of the workmen who built it.

He’s always at the root of it, driving the passion and vision. He lets employees and business owners do what they do best, and inspires them to do more. He gives people a platform to succeed.

I'm constantly in awe of how he does it with conviction and integrity. I’m overjoyed that he’s making an impact in our hometown when he could be sharing his talents anywhere.

And I’m proud these 30 businesses will also have him as a mentor. 

One day I hope to be even half as incredible and accomplished as my father. He’s earned every bit of his success. I'll always be his biggest fan. 

Love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!