Alumni Spotlight

eilermannJohn F. Eilermann Jr.: One of the youngest CEOs in the home-building industry

A 1986 graduate of the Missouri State Technology and Construction Management program, John began his career as an estimator with his current company McBride & Son Homes.  He has since moved through the ranks and attained his current position, CEO and Chairman of the Board, in 2005.  John credits Missouri State with helping him prepare for his career, and Emeritus Professor of Finance and General Business Ralph Manley with teaching him all he needed to know about real estate.

The full Alumni Spotlight about John and his success is provided by Missouri State University Alumni Spotlights.

 

Tell us the story of your career.

I began as an estimator for McBride & Son’s residential division, and was promoted after just one year. I was promoted a few more times, then appointed general manager in 1993, executive vice president in 1995 and president in 1998. I have served as CEO and chairman since 2005.

You have been called one of the youngest CEOs in your industry. To what do you attribute your success?

The key to success is to make your career part of your life. By that, I mean LIVE your job. Make it fun and completely immerse yourself into it as if it were part of your family. McBride & Son is part of my family’s daily life.

What advice would you have for young alumni who want to move up?

Make sure the company is the right fit for you. Make sure you are having fun. If you don’t love what you do or dread coming to work, then it may be a good idea to move on.

What does your job entail?

In light of the recent housing downturn, my job is 90 percent sales — selling our company to banks and the business community and, most importantly, creating an environment where our company continues to sell homes. The days of home-building executives playing golf are long gone. I like to rhetorically ask our employees: “What are we doing to sell homes today?”

What is the coolest thing you have done as part of your job?

The craziest thing happened during the flood of 1993. Our company offices were in Chesterfield, in the Missouri River Valley. When the levee broke, there was 13 feet of water in and around our building. We had moved all the files to the second floor of the building the day before as a precaution. Well, we could not get access to the building but we needed to do payroll and get some files … so another employee and I rented a helicopter and landed it on the roof of the building. Let’s just say the Coast Guard was not amused. Now THAT was a cool day.

What are some of your most memorable campus moments?

I was a proud member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. I also remember “Spoon Ball” (named for coach Charlie Spoonhour). We made a road trip in 1987 to Atlanta to see the Bears upset Clemson in the NCAA tournament. When it comes to professors, Dr. Charles McKenzie was terrific as the head of the construction department, and Ralph Manley taught me everything about real estate.

What makes you most proud?

I am most proud of how our company has remained a pillar of ethics during the downturn. No matter what happened during the day, you can always sleep at night knowing that you did your job and did it with the highest level of ethics.

What are your hobbies or passions?

My passion is my family. Lisa and I have three children, Jake, 20, Abbey, 18, and Sally, 13. We have a little lake house and farm in Cuba, Mo., and we spend nearly every summer weekend there. The kids bring their friends — I like to think I have taught more little kids how to water-ski than any other MSU alum.

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