Member Profile: Putting Education, Helping People First
The latest in a series that profiles members of local NAHB Remodelers who are strengthening their local councils through networking and recruiting new members. The grassroots champions who are being highlighted in this series have collectively recruited more than 400 new members for the NAHB Remodelers to date.
Greg Theis, CGR, CAPS
Owner, Greg E. Theis Remodeling
St. Cloud, Minn.
Greg Theis, owner of Greg E. Theis Remodeling, credits his business success for the last 23 years with being able to continually move in directions where he thought he would find new business or increased job satisfaction.
Part of that journey led him from new-home building to remodeling.
Along the way, he has actively pursued professional designations as a way of distinguishing himself in his marketplace — and to better meet his clients’ needs. Theis says he was the first contractor in St. Cloud area to earn the CAPS and CGR designations and he sees his own ongoing education as central to running a successful business.
“Take the interest in green building that’s sweeping the country,” he says. “We all need to learn about it and see what parts of it we can use in our business to benefit our customers ― and take our businesses up a notch.
“There’s always something out there that people should be learning to advance their business,” Theis adds.
Using Learning and Employee Feedback to Keep His Business Strong
He also believes education and leadership opportunities for his employees are central to his business success, as well.
“Of course, I make sure my guys understand that our ultimate goal is building quality products,” he says, “but I’m fine with letting them develop their own ways to get there. I had a great coach who taught me to stop being the answer and start being the question.”
“When there’s a problem on a job site, I might say, ‘Well, give me three solutions and let’s pick the best one,’” he points out.
Not only does Theis encourage feedback from his employees, he has them regularly attend industry events and ongoing education sessions.
“Some people are surprised when I bring my guys to trade shows and pay for their training,” Theis says, while noting that some of those same people have warned him about his employees someday walking away with all that knowledge.
“It may be a little expensive, but I believe that when they come back from a show and get out in the field, I get it back 10-fold,” Theis says. “And if one of them does end up leaving, well at least I’ll have a smart competitor,” he adds with a laugh.
Theis has been active in the Central Minnesota Builders Association (CMBA) since 1988. He has served as the HBA’s president and is currently chair of the CMBA Remodelers. He’s also a national director representing CMBA and is a trustee on both the NAHB Remodelors and CGR Board of Governors.
Theis believes his Spike designation is due in part to his focus on selling the benefits of involvement, rather than membership for its own sake. He also encourages younger members to think of their membership strategically.
“I tell them there’s no better way to meet the other trades people you can team up with or hire in the future,” he says.
A Commitment to Helping People
Theis has five full-time employees, including one who has been with him for 16 years.
“My wife also works full-time in the business with me,” he explains, “and all together, we do between $1.2 million and $1.5 million in revenue a year,” he says.
Theis says he spends more of his time behind a desk than he’d sometimes like. He prefers the building and problem-solving parts of the business.
He also feels a commitment to helping his people grow so that they can provide the same level of creative thinking and attention to detail that he does.
Theis often sees his company’s remodeling work — specifically, that which involves helping older individuals stay in homes — as more than just a business.
“I really enjoy helping older people make their homes safe and comfortable,” Theis says. “It’s not only a revenue generator for me, it’s a way I can help my community.”
Increase Your Professional Credibility
The Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) designation emphasizes business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation.
Remodelers who earn the CGR become members of an exclusive national program and gain recognition as industry leaders.
To learn more about the CGR designation, visit www.nahb.org/CGRinfo, or call The Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.