Mike Maierle could have continued to climb the corporate ladder at diversified construction giant Ledcor Group, but he had an entrepreneurial hankering to strike out on his own and launch a construction company from scratch.
It was mid-2015 when he turned to wife, Melina, and said that in 90 days he was going to quit the company where he had worked for 13 years.
“She said, ‘OK. We’ve talked about this for a long time now,’” he remembered. “So, on October 1, 2015, I put my resignation letter in. A month later I was sitting in my basement on my own.”
The move to launch Etro Construction Ltd. was difficult partly because he enjoyed his years at Ledcor and had strong friendships there with many people whom he considered mentors.
Maierle anticipated that he would likely find a client for a small office-building project but nothing was secured.
That first partial year his company billed nearly $500,000. That jumped to about $20 million last year and is set to be about $40 million in 2018, and Maierle projects that billing could jump to $60 million in 2019.
Many major projects that overlap years ensure continuity and steady growth in revenue.
“We manage the construction, so that means hiring the contractors – the electricians, the plumbers and the drywallers and all those kinds of guys,” he said.
The profitable venture now has more than 50 staff and expansion is continuing. While Maierle has up to now owned the entire company, he said that he intends to start selling some shares to key employees.
The largest project that Maierle has overseen in his career – the $350 million Lynden Pindling International Airport redevelopment – was built during a five-year stint that he and Melina spent in the Bahamas. The project completed a couple of months early and was under budget, said Maierle, who was construction manager at Ledcor Construction Bahamas Ltd. at the time.
Outside of work, the Burnaby North Secondary School and British Columbia Institute of Technology graduate volunteers as chairman of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s real estate, development and construction committee.
Where you live now: Port Moody
Highest level of education: BCIT diploma of technology, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology program – went back for my construction management degree but got distracted by industry and moved to Bahamas before I completed
Currently reading: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
Currently listening to: Everything my kids like
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: A pro hockey player or an engineer. I drew a bridge on my first “what do you want to be” poster in elementary school. I ended up being neither
Profession you would most like to try: Ski instructor
Toughest business or professional decision: Leaving my amazing job at Ledcor to pursue my dream of starting my own company – took 10 years to get there
Advice you would give the younger you: Don’t worry about who your competitors are and what they are doing and focus on working harder than everyone else around you. Bring on smart people even before you might be able to comfortably afford them. It’s amazing how much free time you have to grow your business when brilliant individuals are working with you
What’s left to do: Too many to list, but continue to build the strongest culture possible, settle down and focus on dialing in the procedural, repeatable elements of our business before we push for our next big revenue jump
Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40