Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to communicate items related to the economics of Flower Mound and identify items that I feel need to be looked at in more detail and with more clarity.
Two questions I continue to get asked about is my opinion on growth and, then, what long term economic growth and stability would look like since that seems to be my focus. I will address the first part today and the remainder in the following week or so.
To make sure there is absolutely no confusion on where I stand, I believe growth is good, BUT, it has to be controlled, logical, and make sense overall for everyone in our town. It’s almost impossible to get 100% buy-in on anything from 70,000+ of us, but we need to get as close as possible.
To clearly explain my stance, Flower Mound needs to continue to add residential and commercial areas, BUT ONLY, when it makes sense for the town and people that live here, not for only for a select few making the decision.
But just like a company, you cannot grow too fast without facing severe consequences. Many times growing too fast puts many companies and towns in a position from which they cannot recover.
For some background on me, if you didn’t have it already, I was a part of the fastest growing homebuilding company in America back in 2010. I was in charge of all financial aspects of the company and responsible for a Balance Sheet that had more debt than the town of Flower Mound has now, so I’m well versed and experienced on the complexity with handling as much debt as the town has.
Now, for a homebuilding company, and many others, the years from 2007 – 2010 were not easy. We had to make many difficult choices and changes during this time. These difficulties were a result of the largest recession many of us had ever seen, and hopefully will ever see. So, while our company was not only able to survive and weather the storm, we thrived, and came out better than any other company during that time. I never like to talk about me. I honestly don’t. I do believe however, at this juncture, it’s critical that everyone knows my financial and management background to gain a comfort and understanding that I’m talking about situations and concepts from real experience.
So, while our company felt great that we were a leader in the market in 2010, and had continued success in future years, we were growing faster than any other homebuilding company in the nation. I will tell you, this rapid growth was not easy, and is not easy, for anyone. When you are on the positive side of the market and growing rapidly, it almost seems counter-intuitive to say that when you are cutting back, and in a down market, you actually have much more control and feel better about things from a financial standpoint. However, when you grow too fast, you:
- Put yourself at risk for not fully realizing, or fully understanding, what is going on financially (income and debt).
- You lose touch with many aspects across the board with your employment base (not sure if you are hiring the right people and having to hire too fast so you may not have the best in terms of employee base).
- You end up losing the pulse, or staying in touch, with the customers/shareholders/stakeholders/citizens… basically the ones that matter the most.
- Errors are made on vital decisions and management focus deteriorates.
- There is a tendency to spotlight short-term goals and achievements rather than long term success and stability.
- You create a culture that feels invincible in that any decision you make will succeed.
When all metrics point you in the direction that you feel nothing can go wrong, and every decision you make you feel is a good one, managers feel nothing will slow them down and they will never fail.
Look, I’ve been here before. I saw it in the early 2000’s. It’s clearly evident that the same type of culture and mentality is back and part of the concern I have. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m trying to explain we need clear and definitive economic focus as we navigate in to the upcoming years. I’ve sat through many town hall meetings and gone through every Annual Budget on the towns website. I believe we are not effectively connecting all the dots between what we are approving and how we plan to pay for it in the future.
Last point I want to make regarding this is about my career in real estate. I have this on my website but figured this needs to be clearly relayed to everyone so there is no confusion.
I’ve been asked lately how I manage a homebuilding company in Colorado yet live in Texas. More specifically, do I intend to leverage a political office to expand operations into Flower Mound? The answer is emphatically no. I believe that conducting business in the same jurisdiction as holding political office creates a conflict of interest that is entirely unacceptable.
I’ve been in real estate since graduating from Colorado State University in 1999. My career began with a manufactured home business in Colorado before relocating to Texas to work for an apartment developer in Las Colinas and then a homebuilder in Addison.
I’m now the CEO of Bridgewater Homes, which is a company I founded several years ago with a business partner in Colorado. Its creation happened as a result of family circumstances, which began in 2010 when my older sister was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
My mother, living in Colorado, had a very close relationship with my sister and I realized that she would need my support following my sister’s passing in 2012. While spending more time with her in Colorado, I happened to connect with a few former real estate colleagues and we began a part-time venture building investment homes.
The small business grew rapidly and in 2015 we decided to make it a full-time business and named it Bridgewater Homes. Earlier this year, Bridgewater Homes was awarded the 2017 Private Builder of the Year Award by the Northern Colorado Home Builders Association.
I have an office in Flower Mound (Parker Square) but our operations and homebuilding activities are in Colorado and will remain there. My commitment as Mayor is to uphold the best interests of the community and residents of Flower Mound.
Flower Mound, TX