The FORT Podcast: Greg “Gordo” Gordon – Founder/CEO of Gordon Highlander – A Leader On a Mission To Build Something Different

Greg Gordon has a rich history in construction as a third-generation builder with over 25 years of industry experience. He started his career in shell construction and eventually transitioned to commercial interiors before founding Gordon Highlander in 2007.

Under Greg’s leadership Gordon Highlander has experienced tremendous growth and received numerous awards as a result. But Greg’s true passion is for people and the relationships developed with both his team and clients. With a servant leadership approach to business, he has built a team of leaders who take ownership and pride in their work. It’s a reflect the organization’s mission of “building a legacy of helping others reach their God-given potential”. Greg attributes Gordon Highlander’s success to this culture model.

On this episode Chris and Greg Discuss:

  • a look into the commercial construction industry from 2007-Present
  • what it’s like to build for Amazon and how they built a prototype in 6 weeks
  • how Greg views leadership and building a world-class culture
  • leadership above and beyond “HR”

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(3:22) – Gordo’s experience as 3rd generation in the Construction industry

(5:12) – What does Gordon Highlander do?

(7:57) – What is a “Gordon Highlander”?

(10:03) – How has Industrial Finish-out evolved since ’07?

(15:10) – At what point in development does GH get involved?

(18:18) – What does a perfect project look like to you?

(19:44) – How do you budget a project in this market?

(23:45) – Are there any permanent changes to the industry since 2020?

(28:00) – What do people need to unlearn?

(31:42) – What are you seeing in Industrial innovation?

(36:47) – Developing the GH/Amazon relationship

(46:25) – How do you think about the final days of a project?

(47:15) – What are you seeing in the market?

(51:40) – What’s different in building office within industrial and office in a place like Old-Parkland?

(54:52) – How do you think about change orders?

(56:35) – The headlines vs. reality pertaining to Amazon slowing down development

(58:24) – How do you think about legacy, servant leadership and culture?

(1:06:51) – Teaching culture at Gordon Highlander

(1:11:36) – Advice for young people

(1:12:49) – Friendship, business

(1:18:00) – Pain distorts your memory

(1:19:51) – Treating your employees like people


Episode Summary

Greg Gordon, esteemed for his unparalleled insights into the real estate sector, graced Chris Powers’ podcast, offering an in-depth exploration of today’s real estate landscape. A seasoned professional, Gordon’s wealth of knowledge stems not only from his years in the industry but also from a deep-rooted family legacy in construction and asset management.

Starting off, Gordon and Powers delved into the intricacies of the construction world. Stressing the significance of effective branding, Gordon highlighted the association of family names with businesses, emphasizing how it can foster trust and reliability in the market. This intertwining of personal and professional identities, he suggested, can play a pivotal role in shaping business trajectories.

As the conversation progressed, the duo touched on the myriad challenges posed by fluctuating construction costs. Gordon underscored the importance of strategic planning, especially during the pre-construction phase. He posited that meticulous preparation in the early stages can yield manifold benefits in terms of time and cost-efficiency during actual construction.

The ramifications of the recent pandemic on the real estate marketplace were also scrutinized. The industry, like many others, found itself at a crossroads, with traditional paradigms being upended. However, Gordon highlighted the silver lining: the pandemic ushered in a period of introspection and recalibration, prompting businesses to reevaluate their operational models and adapt to new market realities. In particular, the e-commerce boom and its implications for real estate were explored, with Gordon shedding light on the evolving needs of businesses in a predominantly digital marketplace.

A significant portion of the discourse centered on the evolution of office spaces. Gordon was optimistic about the future, noting groundbreaking innovations like crow holdings’ timber building project in Frisco. The adaptability of office spaces, he asserted, is testament to the industry’s resilience and forward-thinking mindset.

Safety, a paramount concern in construction, was another focal point. Gordon detailed his involvement in initiatives aimed at enhancing building safety, including the incorporation of safe rooms. His perspective was clear: while aesthetics and functionality are essential, the safety of occupants is non-negotiable.

In wrapping up the conversation, the role of contractors was revisited. Gordon, identifying primarily as a contractor, elaborated on the multifaceted responsibilities they bear. From ensuring the well-being of subcontractors to spearheading business development strategies, their role is both diverse and indispensable.

In conclusion, this enlightening episode with Greg Gordon provided listeners with a panoramic view of the current real estate milieu. From the challenges and opportunities birthed by the pandemic to the ever-evolving dynamics of construction, the discussion was a treasure trove of industry insights. For anyone keen on understanding the intricacies of real estate, this episode is an indispensable resource. With Gordon’s expert reflections guiding the way, listeners are equipped with the knowledge to navigate the complex waters of today’s real estate world.

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