Lee-Collier Regional Winner
Owner, Stock Development, Naples
Almost all of Brian Stock's waking moments are spent thinking about Stock Development, the all-encompassing real estate and development industry firm that bears his family's name.
And that's a lot of waking moments because he gets up early.
He's on the phone typically before 8 a.m. He meets with developers or staff members all day and leaves the office by 6 p.m. Then, he's usually on the phone some more, with associates, until 10 p.m.
"It's a commitment," says Stock, 36. "I'll put in all the hours because it's satisfying seeing the company grow."
Stock has been at it since 2001, when he and his father, K.C. Stock, formed the Naples company.
"I've still got a lot of energy," he says, "and I'm still very motivated."
And there's a lot to be motivated about.
The company is one of Southwest Florida's fastest growing development firms. Last year, it reported more than $1.8 billion in revenue. And it was recently chosen by Charlotte County to build the Murdock Village redevelopment project.
It's currently selling the final units in Grandezza in Estero and Olde Cypress in Naples and it's also developing parts of the Naples Lely Resort Golf & Country Club, the Paseo in Fort Myers and Vivante in Punta Gorda. In North Carolina, the company just closed on a property where it will build a mountain top resort community, its first project outside of Florida.
Stock and the firm have received other accolades, besides being recognized by the Gulf Coast Business Review as the top entrepreneur for the Lee/Collier region in 2006. Last year, Gov. Jeb Bush awarded the firm its annual business diversifictiaon award; the Collier County Economic Development Council awarded the company a similar prize, too.
No time to rest
While going through this massive growth period over the last five years, Stock also realized the firm needed to duplicate the business model of his family's former lumber company. As such, Stock has added services when he saw a demand and now the firm not only sells homes to its customers, but also resells homes for them, provides property management for their rentals and builds pools and spas for their homes.
All together, Stock Development has several subsidiaries: Stock Construction, Stock Realty, Stock Property Management, Stock Community Services, Pizzazz Interiors, Serenity Pool & Spa, Noble Title & Trust and Stock Financial.
Business is growing so fast that the company is preparing for a new 50,000-square-foot corporate office being constructed in Naples.
"He doesn't rest much," says Bob Imig, president of Stock Construction.
Imig, who worked with Stock in the family's lumber company in Wisconsin, remembers the first time he caught a glimpse of Brian Stock's unique entrepreneurial abilities.
"When I first came down here and Brian was showing me around," he says, "I couldn't believe the amount of information he knew about the market down here after just four months."
Stock is a third generation builder. His grandfather got things going by owning and running a lumberyard in Oconto, Wisc.
In 1972, Stock's father took over the company and grew it from a single facility to 12 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Stock Lumber Co. supplied contractors with building materials and manufactured roof and floor trusses, wall panels and pre-hung doors.
"My dad has led the family by example," Stock says. "He's extremely driven and hard working. He started building houses at 19-years-old."
After graduating from college, Stock joined his three older brothers in the lumber business. His first job was doing acquisitions and development for the company. Later, he moved on to the purchasing department and began learning every aspect of the business.
"He was 25 at the time," Imig recalls, "and all the other managers had a lot of respect for him."
That was around the age when Stock began fostering his ability to hire the right people for the right positions, a task that is usually near the top of all entrepreneur's concerns.
Some of Stock's tips in that department are obvious yet necessary, such as hiring people smarter than you. Another tip is an insight into how thoughtful and deliberate Stock is: Don't interview someone based on the resume, he says, because frequently, the resume is just a piece of a paper. It won't tell you whether a person will do a good job.
Lots of opportunity
Besides hiring skills, the lumber company's one-stop shop mentality also became imprinted in young Stock's mind. He would later apply the same principle in Naples.
"We did everything from architectural design to assembly," Stock says. "We had all the components to make it easy for the customer."
By 1998, the family had sold the business. Stock's two brothers went to pursue other careers, while Stock and another brother, Steven Stock, signed on with the new company for three years.
When the contract was up, both Stocks left.
Steven Stock eventually moved to Southwest Florida to form a millwork company, which later became a supplier for Stock Development.
Brian Stock on the other hand, was offered a job in North Carolina at a building materials company. Before making a decision, however, he asked his father for advice.
K.C. Stock steered his youngest son toward Naples, where he had been investing in real estate.
"His comment was, 'I think there's going to be opportunity there,'" Stock says, in typical Midwestern understatement.
In 2001, father and son formed Stock Development by purchasing 340 acres in the southern half of Lely Resort Golf & Country Club in Naples.
Brad Black, Stock Development's chief operating officer and one of the company's initial employees, remembers his first impression of the father and son team.
"It was a one-night deal," Black says. "I met Brian and his dad over dinner, and I felt comfortable with them right away. [The Stocks] are hardworking people. They learned from the bottom up."
Brian Stock quickly took over the company's operations. His father remains chairman.
Real estate professionals in the area have noticed the company's growth and commitment to getting things done the right way.
Says Mike Carr, a Collier County real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial, "Everything they touch has turned into gold."
- Isabelle Gan
Revenues 2003: $221 million 2004: $608.4 million 2005: $1.88 billion
(175.2% increase) (209% increase)
Average annual growth: 192.1%
EMPLOYEES 2004: 454 2005: 676 2006: 572