When Tom and Trish Schroeder were named Big50 in 1994, their company was called T.J. Schroeder Construction Co. But after adopting design/build in the mid-'90s, they realized that the name didn't reflect the services they provided or the direction the company was headed.
“We went through a total rebranding,” Trish says. The company changed its name to Schroeder Design/Build and completely redesigned its logo.
But the business name and logo weren't the only things to be overhauled. Since then, Schroeder Design/Build has also radically changed the way it operates. “We went from a practice — in the sense that every facet of the business revolved around Tom — to an organization that is very team-oriented,” Trish says.
To take some of the responsibility off Tom, the Schroeders' son Andrew, who has a background in business management, joined the company three years ago. This year they hired a production manager to prepare for growth in 2008. Trish has moved into the CEO position while Tom now primarily handles sales.
Letting go of the day-to-day was not easy for Tom, but the transition was successful thanks to reliable key players and the implementation of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals. Trish says the program has helped refine job descriptions and has energized the team.
“Everyone's climbing onboard and aiming high,” she says. “The program helps promote accountability, and we've started to see a turnaround.”
As for the future of Schroeder Design/Build, Tom and Trish have begun creating a succession plan that will pass control of the company to Andrew. Though an exit date has not been set, Trish and Tom hope to significantly reduce their roles within the company over the next five to six years.
Another salesperson has also been hired to help grow the company (which currently does about $2 million annually) over that period. So far, Andrew's presence has been felt throughout the company. Says Trish, “He gives us a fresh perspective, and he's really succeeded in empowering our team.”