When I think of Capital, I think of a great place to work. It’s so important to make work meaningful because that’s where we spend most of our time. I want people to love their job and have a bounce in their step when they go to work in the morning. To me, if people are happy in their job then they will be more successful at it. I firmly believe that if you have great people working together who are fully engaged in a role they enjoy, then you’re going to be successful no matter what you are doing. At Capital, I look forward to going to work on Monday. So as a leader, my job is to create and sustain a work culture that everyone can enjoy.
I came to Capital for reasons much like everyone else. I was dissatisfied at my other job and when I got a phone call, the timing was right. I actually started as a sales associate in the Healdsburg branch. The culture at Capital was not the same as it is now and like most businesses at the time, there had been emphasis on hierarchy with a top-down structure. But we were ready to evolve. We were already beginning to diversify our product selections and redefine our place in the market when I was given the chance to be part of creating an environment where I could enjoy coming to work every day. I worked my way from the branch level to a regional management role where I was able to support Capital’s transition by promoting a culture where the people closest to the customer are empowered to make their own decisions. As a result, our individual branches began to de-centralize and become the autonomous business units we have today.
Being asked to become president of the company was a pretty big deal to me. I’m passionate about the work and active in what’s going on. I don’t like traditional bureaucracy and see it as something that drives away good people with rules made for those who don’t act responsibly. It’s important to me that people don’t work for me; they work with me. I find that clear communication is the most critical component of leadership. In order for people to follow, you need to be clear about where you are going.
I get asked a lot of times, “What do you do?” Well that’s easy: I’m in the people business – we just happen to buy and sell building materials.