Steve Pham

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: our Top 50 Builders are a remarkable and savvy group of companies.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when reviewing the responses to the three questions we asked of the Top 50 Builders’ CEOs. We wanted to know: What was the best business decision you made in the past year? What has been the key for your company in managing the labor shortage? And, which of your company policies has been most conducive to company growth?

Hindsight being 20/20, it was easy to spot two commonalities in the answers to these questions, especially in a year that had us all at the mercy of the first global pandemic of our lifetimes. The first shone like a bright gold thread against the dark tapestry of the pandemic’s earliest and uncertain days: the desire to protect the livelihoods of those in their employ.

Many company leaders made the decision to hold firm and not lay off staff, choosing to keep everyone on the payroll despite weeks- or months-long lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. To that end, many chose to reorganize or redeploy their staff to keep everyone steadily employed. One unexpected benefit that arose from this impromptu crosstraining reported by one builder is that his staff became more engaged and developed a new appreciation for the work of their fellow colleagues.

The counterpoint to staff retention involved the thoughtful and decisive action these company leaders took to meet rising demand. Ordering/purchasing decisions changed drastically, with many choosing to grow a stockpile of raw materials and equipment — some even acquiring additional warehouses to store it all — to meet the unprecedented demand. Others chose to look for opportunities to become more efficient, with some honing their sales processes, others upgrading their technologies to better handle company operations, and still more concentrating on managing customer expectations.

And yet, despite the turbulence of the past year, many leaders were the calm amidst the storm. As Tim Colon from Pools of Fun put it, “The best decision I made for 2020 was to not over- or underreact to the pandemic.”

Congratulations to all of the exceptional companies who made this year’s list. Keep calm and build pools!