Woman Entrepreneur of the Year winner: Marjorie Broughton

 

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year winner: Marjorie Broughton

 

Date: June 9, 2011
by: Stephanie Hannum | BT Editor

 
 

The sign on the wall opposite Marjorie Broughton’s desk says it all: “Behind every woman is herself.”

Marjorie Broughton is the female force (co-founder and president) behind Rock Solid Construction Group.
Rock Solid is a construction firm offering new construction, renovation and build-out services to residential and commercial clients and to public and private sector markets in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Desoto and Highland counties. Rock Solid was incorporated in June 2005 and has been certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by the state since 2007.

“My husband and I renovated houses as a hobby,” says Broughton. “My family is full of educators, and during the summer, the male educators built housing developments. I grew up around construction — my dad thought it was important that a girl knew how to do things, and he taught me.”

Broughton’s corporate career in marketing, publishing and advertising prepared her to oversee day-to-day operations of the firm, which was featured in Better Homes & Gardens’ specialty remodeling publication last year.

The entrepreneur has shown a continuing ability to streamline use of resources, both financial and manpower, while identifying and responding to new market trends and opportunities. Broughton is constantly looking for new opportunities to make sure the company is always moving forward.

“We have selected jobs we want to work on and kept our level of quality,” says Broughton. “We defined the areas we could compete in and maintain the corporate philosophy we started with — whatever we do, we do with integrity and top quality.”

Like every other construction firm, the economic downturn affected Rock Solid. However, Broughton embraced that time and focused on identifying growth markets, new trends and funding directives during the recession and the ensuing stimulus packages as well as identifying developing markets resulting from military conflicts, environmental initiatives, the aging population and homeland security endeavors. This put Rock Solid in a position to organize marketing initiatives to “follow the money, ” which includes VA hospitals, airports, military base expansion, parks and recreation; to contact national construction firms vying for federally funded projects (which required the largest percentages of minority participation and partnership); package trades for minority participation; explore the expanding Caribbean markets; and add Division 10 capabilities.

“Rock Solid met the economic challenges of the last few years and found new opportunities — more importantly, we created new opportunities,” says Broughton.

Regardless of the projects Broughton is tackling with business partner Perry White, Rock Solid has one ultimate goal: “We want the company to be synonymous with integrity and quality,” says Broughton.

“In addition to everything we’re working toward, I’d like to continue to go after the custom-home market, which allows us to utilize creative energies,” says Broughton. “Building universals and sustainable homes is extremely satisfying.”

Broughton has also made a personal mark on the Sarasota community with her volunteer efforts, which include Pines of Sarasota, Van Wezel Foundation, the Sarasota Chalk Festival and Junior League of Sarasota, to name a few.

“When you start a company like this, you either have a lot of money to blanket publications with ads or you build relationships,” says Broughton. “I’ve made a commitment to give back. It’s a huge part of the company and part of the way I was brought up.”

Being announced as the winner of the Women Entrepreneur award has been rewarding as well.

“The recognition from peers and from the chamber organization itself is both validating and encouraging. It is a wonderful recognition boost for a small company,” says Broughton. “Personally, I feel that one of the signs of a strong leader is listening, and this makes me feel that six years of listening and responding to client needs has indeed been rewarded.”
 


At a glance

Address: 766 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota

Start date: June 2005

Number of employees when started: Eight

Number of employees now: Three-and-a-half

Advice for other small business owners: “You better love what you’re doing and be ready for the investment of time and energy,” says Marjorie Broughton, president of Rock Solid Construction Group. “Also make sure to know a good attorney and CPA.”

Biggest challenge: “The economic downturn reduced loans for residential construction, so that made me focus more on public projects,” says Broughton. “The biggest challenge, in general, is competing for business in this economy, which is accomplished by convincing target audiences of our integrity and capabilities. Gender does not matter; what is important is building relationships and demonstrating our ability to perform.”

Where do you see your business a year from now? “Financially stable and continuing excellent relationships with surrounding counties and cities,” says Broughton. “We’d like to expand our involvement in Division 10 and explore the growth markets in the hospitality industry in the Caribbean and Mexico.”

Best place to go for a power lunch? “Libby’s.”

What was the first day on the job like? “Confusing. Liability and workers compensation overwhelmed me,” says Broughton. “We incorporated on a Thursday and by Friday, we had five contracts ranging from $800 to $1.8 million.”

If you could have any job for the day, what would you do? “Own a Ben and Jerry’s — I love ice cream.”
Who is your business hero/inspiration? “David Sessions. He does top-quality work and runs a great company. He’s also honorable and gives back to the community. He’s a gentleman contractor. I admire Willis Smith.”

What is one advantage of having your business in Sarasota? “Relationships and the people — it’s such a great place to live. I’ve lived in big cities all over, but nothing compares to the quality of life here.”

Contact Stephanie Hannum at shannum@yourobserver.com.
 


 

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