United we stand, divided we fall is not a concept that fits Jim Rice's Forest Construction, Camarillo, Calif. Since winning a Big 50 award in 1987, Forest spawned a new company each time the business grew. The companies are successful, together doing nearly $20 million in business last year.
Just after the award, Rice created Showcase, a kitchen and bath showroom, which is its own company. The original 5,000-square-foot showroom in Westlake Village was joined recently by a 2,500-square-foot showroom in Camarillo.
Then, mid-1990s California earthquakes led to millions of dollars in renovations, much of it in commercial projects. “But when you become known for building $7 million jet centers, people think you're too big to remodel their kitchen,” says Rice. So he made the commercial side its own entity – Deneal Construction; Forest focuses on residential.
After nearly three decades at the helm, Rice remains busy – he plays golf, is a rodeo team roper, rides his motorcycle, has his own eponymous Christian ministry, and writes and records music. “I used to be the most valuable player [in the company] when I was a young buck,” he says. “Now I'm a coach, and eventually I'm going to just sit in the box seats and enjoy the game, but I'm not planning on ever retiring.”