Joe Holbrook and his cousin Ryan Gunnoe were working for the same construction company when they decided to start their own construction management company in 1999.
Holbrook, who has four children, had to be talked into the venture by Gunnoe, but both wanted to have a business that would allow them to 'do things better than they were being done' and to be able to share the wealth with their employees.
They requested and received a U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loan for $25,000 in 1999 which helped them get started. They received an additional SBA guaranteed line of credit in 2002 that allowed them to expand their business. In less than seven years, Prodigy Construction Management has grown to 22 full time employees and $12 million in gross revenues.
Prodigy Construction Management is a national retail and restaurant contractor. Its customer list boasts the likes of Arby's, AmeriHost, American Eagle, Charley's Steakery, Janeville, and Gymboree.
Their advice to someone thinking about going into business: 'The greatest risk in life is one not taken' and 'No rewards without risk.'
Being business owners has had a positive impact on their lives, the men say, noting that they have 'much greater freedom' to 'take trips, enjoy life, take the kids to t-ball, and see the kids off to school in the morning.'
They also like having the freedom to 'do the right things' for employees, adding that they close the business during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
The cousins say their success has been possible because they have a strong belief in themselves and their philosophies. They also say technology is a factor. All of their employees have laptop computers and communicate with co-workers and clients by e-mail. They also use digital cameras in their work, and use a Web based reporting system.
But no business is without obstacles, and Prodigy Construction is no exception. One of the company's main issues is staying abreast of regulations in the different areas where its employees work. Every state in the nation has different construction requirements, the owners explained.
They also dislike dealing with all of the various forms of insurance, i.e. health and liability.
But as is true in most businesses, the good by far outweighs the bad and these owners say they plan to continue their entrepreneurial spirit by opening an additional office in either Phoenix or California. "This article and the accompanying photograph do not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA of any opinions, products or services of any private individual or entity."