Top Workplaces: CEOs share insights on leadership

The Times-Picayune

Special leadership awards were given to the leaders of three local companies based on feedback provided by their employees in the Top Workplaces survey. Winners were chosen from the small, midsize and large business categories.* | The Times-Picayune asked the honorees to complete a questionnaire to gain insight on their leadership philosophy.

Name: Ryan Gootee
Company: Ryan Gootee General Contractors
Founded: 2004

My employees know I value them because: I frequently give them credit for our success.

Describe your leadership style: Forward thinking, organized, firm but sympathetic, demanding at times but understanding, fair.

Your biggest professional influence and why? My former VP of Field Operations, Ronnie Schellinger, who just recently semi-retired. … Ronnie taught me more about the technical side of construction and constructability than anyone I have ever met or worked with in this industry.

What mistake did you make as a boss but then turned around and applied lessons learned from it? Right when I started my business, I had a hard time telling potential customers “no.” A couple of guys on my exec team told me I was taxing my employees because of the wide range of projects we were doing. They were right. Since then we have become very selective about the type and size of projects we take on and the clients with whom we partner. It is a key component of our success.

I never start my workday without: Telling everyone I see in the office, “Good morning!”

What do you do when you need to escape from work? I really enjoy taking trips with my wife and three kids, the longer the better which unfortunately doesn’t happen that often. And I like to hunt and fish … occasionally.

The key to good communication within your company is: Ensuring that everyone involved in a particular issue is kept current in all aspects of the process in a timely manner.

What’s the mission of your company? I want us to provide a construction experience that’s unique and enjoyable to everyone involved: clients, design teams, subs, suppliers and our employees. Our goal is for everyone to leave a project feeling really good about what we all just accomplished.

Besides pay and benefits, what’s the best way to show employees how valuable they are to your company? Create a great culture. Encourage work and family balance. Let the team know they all have a voice and listen to what they have to say. Have several company events and perks throughout the year to let loose and have fun together. I want them to know that I truly care about their wellbeing and happiness.