The Impact Award recognizes an individual who embodies, in spirit and practice, the selfless leadership and unwavering commitment that has made Remodelers Advantage Roundtables the largest, most successful peer learning program in the industry. Typically, this award is revealed at the Remodelers Summit. This year, however, an exception was made. The winner was revealed privately in August, when Victoria Downing, president of Remodelers Advantage, presented the top honor to Leslie King, founder of the Houston-based remodeling firm Greymark Construction. Ms. King has been battling cancer for two years and was not expected to live long enough to receive the award at the Remodelers Summit in September. She passed away on August 29.
At the awards gala in Orlando, Fla., Ms. King's daughter, Kelly Kirk, who recently had been named president of Greymark Construction, spoke of her mother's deep caring for her clients, for Remodelers Advantage, and for the remodeling profession as a whole. Referencing Ms. King's work in the Remodelers Advantage Roundtables, which reflected the honest, deeply caring tone that characterized her approach to all her work, Ms. Kirk said, "Leslie believed that a 'rising tide lifts all boats.' She was able to help lift the tide by giving quality insight—the advice people needed to hear, not necessarily what [her fellow remodelers] wanted to hear."
As a mentor in Remodelers Advantage, Leslie was revered for her straightforward advice. "She didn't let people get away with slacking," explained Ms. Downing. "She pushed them to be realistic and not just get carried away by the next shiny thing ... And this was done out of true caring. She wanted to help them build solid companies that were consistently profitable." Ms. King stood on the example of her own solid company, which she had built from the ground up to be one of the most trusted and honored remodeling firms in the Houston market.
Finalists. The other three finalists recognized as exemplary leaders and committed to help their fellow remodelers were David Crane, owner of Nashville, Tenn.-based Crane Builders; Jef Forward, president and creative director of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Forward Design-Build Remodel; and Gregory Harth, president of Harth Builders based in Spring House, Pa.
Lifetime achievement. In a surprise presentation, Ms. Downing also recognized Paul Winans for a lifetime of dedication and service to the remodeling industry. Among his many accomplishments, she listed his own success building a solid remodeling company with his wife and co-owner Nina; serving as the national-level president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI); winning the National Remodeling Quality Gold Award in 2001; running a consulting firm and serving as a Roundtables Facilitator since 2000; becoming a popular speaker at industry events, a favorite columnist in REMODELING, and now an author.
Touched by the accolades, Mr. Winans did what he'd learned and encouraged others to do to be successful in business and in life. He spoke straight from the heart, expressing sincere thanks for those who got him there. It was a clear message epitomizing all the awards that night: None of us succeed on our own.