Custom Home Magazine – Running to Daylight

When the Phoenix construction market collapsed in 2008, a big chunk of it fell on Jerry Meek’s head. “We lost $26 million of work over a 45-day period,” says Meek, president of Desert Star Construction, a 34-year-old company that specializes in high-end custom homes and remodels. Meek sat his employees down and laid it out plainly: “If we were to choose a business to be in at this moment,” he said, “it would not be construction.” After registering the shock on their faces, he presented a plan to press on regardless. “I said, ‘My wife [Carol, who runs the company’s office operation] and I are not going to take a paycheck until the economy turns around. And nobody’s going to get laid off. “‘ Rather than hunker down, Meek did the opposite, investing in his employees and his community and refocusing his business on high-end sustainable building. “Little did we know what we were committing to,” Meek laughs, adding that it was a year before his family’s income resumed. But with the Phoenix market on the rebound and Desert Star’s star once again on the rise, Meek’s determined optimism now seems prescient…

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