People thought Neil Simon was nuts when left his job at Naples construction firm DeAngelis Diamond in 2011 to start his own company.
“We heard it all,” chuckles Simon, who started Envirostruct with business partner, Stephen McKenna Jr. “What are you guys thinking?” they told them. At the time, both men had great jobs at one of the top construction firms in Southwest Florida.
After all, the end of the recession was unclear in 2011 and Simon had a growing family to look after. “It was rough out there,” he acknowledges.
But Simon made the leap and he timed the start of the economic recovery perfectly. Today Bonita Springs-based Envirostruct has 18 employees and more than $20 million in annual revenues.
The company has landed some signature projects such as the new Audi car dealership in Fort Myers and an office build-out for space leased to car-rental giant Hertz. In addition, Envirostruct is launching a custom-home division to diversify its revenues.
Simon says he’s targeting $50 million to $75 million in annual revenues and plans to have 20 to 25 employees. “We have the big-picture vision on getting there,” he says.
Simon has his hands full on the home front, too, with three children ages 3, 2 and a newborn. He says it’s a team effort with his wife, Nicole. “She’s the glue and the rock that’s holding it all together,” he says.
— Jean Gruss
City of residence: Estero
Birthplace: South Side of Chicago
Years on the Gulf Coast: 10
Marital status/children: Married to Nicole and three children, Josh, 3, Hannah, 2, and Jack, two months
Alma mater: Eastern Illinois University
The most important business lesson I've learned: “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want,” Zig Ziglar
Most adventurous thing you've ever done: Rode an elephant in Thailand
If I had a magic wand I'd: Potty train all my kids and get them on the same sleep schedule.
Best place to network: Everywhere I go, I always try to connect with new people.
Coolest business experience: Watching our company grow every year
One website that makes your job easier: Construction Journal
One community group you're most involved with: The Passion Foundation (Melanoma awareness)
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time with my family
Two people, dead or alive, you'd like to have dinner with: Michael Jordan and my late grandfather Frank that I never had a chance to meet.
Best award you ever received: Lee BIA Summit Award
What 's at the top of your bucket list: An Alaska fishing trip
What new skill would you like to learn: Lobstering
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Vince Vaughn