Paul Holmes, founder of JK2 Construction & Scenic, which was recently name a GrowFL Company To Watch for 2016, had no education or experience in construction when he decided to build his own home. “I had a growing family and had this harebrained idea that I could build my own house,” he said. “I figured out things like zoning changes, acquiring a loan and then building the building. It was an overwhelming task at the time, but when it was completed, it provided a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Plus I had great equity in the home because I was my own general contractor.”
From there, Holmes attended graduate school in building construction at the University of Florida and subsequently took a series of jobs at large contracting firms to gain experience. “I always knew the end game was to have my own business,” he said. “At the age of 40, my dad moved our family of seven children from the south side of Chicago to Florida to launch his own business because he was tired of corporate politics. He was an amazing mentor for me to see what he did to take control of his life by starting his own business.”
Today, JK2 Construction & Scenic employs 41 and has grown into two distinct divisions. “The JK2 Construction Division specializes in design-build, commercial construction, and construction management,” said Julie Holmes, Vice President and principal at JK2. “The JK2 Scenic Division designs and builds themed architectural millwork, custom props and fabricates specialty themed items.”
Julie Holmes sees the Companies To Watch recognition from GrowFL as validation of the company’s hard work. “We are excited to receive the award and be recognized as a growing company in Florida,” she said. “It shows that hard work does pay off and that we are making progress toward our goal of growing a family business into a true second stage business. We are honored to be recognized among the other second stage companies in the area.”
Paul Holmes’ advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is that it takes passion, perseverance, flexibility and conservative management of cash flow. “There were many times I was out doing things that needed to be completed to get the job done and thinking to myself that I never worked this hard when I worked for someone else,” he said. “Be conservative with your cash. I can’t emphasize that enough. Live below your means until you don’t have to anymore.”
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