Twelve businesses were honored Wednesday during the Bryan Rotary Club’s annual Business Performance Awards.
In addition to recognizing the top 10 fastest growing privately owned businesses in the Brazos Valley, the service club honored EVO Conversion Systems, founded in 2017, with the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation Launch Award and Allen Honda, founded in 1955, with the Anco Insurance Award for Lifetime Business Achievement.
Capital Construction Services was named the fastest growing business in the area, with a three-year sales growth of 183.12%.
The top 10, as presented during Wednesday’s luncheon at the College Station Hilton, were Flagship Custom Homes (37.18% sales growth), America’s Choice Roofing (50.96%), Keystone Millworks (55.06%), Reece Homes (56.08%), Customer Impact (79.24%), Element Retirement & Investment Consultants (123.53%), EcoZapp (134.64%), Kellen Commercial Flooring (144.96%), FrogSlayer (163.03%) and Capital Construction Services.
The process to find this year’s honorees began in February with a request for applications, and each applicant had to work with a certified public accountant to submit financial records.
Doug Smith, owner and operator of Capital Construction Services, said it comes as a shock each time he is invited to the Bryan Rotary 10 event and called it “mind boggling” to be named at the top of the list.
“That was exciting to be a part of it,” he said. “We do feel blessed and grateful to be a part of a community and have picked this place to grow our business.”
Smith’s business first appeared on the list in 2016, when he made the commitment to leave his job as a College Station firefighter and devote his attention to Capital Construction Services. Smith originally established the business in 2011 as a side business to earn some additional income.
Over the past four years, Smith has added a separate construction company, a swimming pool company, a property maintenance company and a plumbing company.
“We’re picking up our trades to bring them in-house and own those companies rather than paying the subcontractors to do it, so we have more control over the speed of our job sites and qualities,” he said. “That’s our focus right now is horizontal growth. We’re excited to see what happens.”
He called the Bryan Rotary 10 event “vitally important” for the community.
“I think it’s a way to encourage other people who may be considering getting into business that there’s a lot of opportunity here,” he said, noting how amazing it is to look back and see a business that has grown by more than 180%. “It’s an incredible thing. It should do nothing but encourage other people who are considering to start a business, and it’s vital to the health of our community that people are encouraged to start businesses here and help our community grow. We need more job creators than we need job takers. We always want our job creators thinking, ‘I can do this. I can build a business.’ ”
For those who decide to start their own businesses, Smith advised people to start with a foundation and be prepared for growth.
“Start small with what you can handle, don’t be surprised when your business grows faster than you can think, and think about how you’re going to grow before you start,” he said. “Just think five years ahead, five years ahead. Be prepared to grow, and the sky’s the limit.”
During the presentations, Laser Answering Service owner Walter Hinkle read some advice from a few of the Bryan Rotary Top 10 recipients.
Keystone Millworks co-owner Bob Kraus named good employees as the key to success.
“Treat them with respect and pay them well,” Hinkle read.
Bryan and Jennifer Reece, owners of Reece Homes, LLC, encouraged future business owners to take and understand risks, do research and make good decisions, and find their passion and pursue it.
Bryan Rotary Club President Roby Somerford called it an honor to be part of the annual event to recognize businesses, noting the club’s existence as a business organization.
“I think it shows the prosperity of the community and how well we’re doing,” he said. “I think having done [the awards] for 26 years shows some stability, and that we have a lot of new recipients as well as repeat recipients.”
His hope for the future of the event is that more companies apply to be recognized and that the club’s resources can help some businesses continue their growth.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale was originally scheduled to provide a keynote address at the luncheon but had been hospitalized the day before and was not going to be released in time to make it to the event. As of Wednesday night, Houston media reported he had been released from a hospital.