Reader Profile: Ken Goldberg

Feb. 27, 2014

Several years ago, Ken Goldberg sat behind his desk at the bank where he worked, opposite people in the development or construction industries, who asked him to finance their projects. Five years ago, he crossed over into the very industry he helped finance when he took over ownership of an existing construction company. “Now I actually get to watch the properties develop from the first shovel into the ground until the first tenant moves in. And then we’re there years later to help maintain and beautify it,” he says.

Goldberg is president of All County Paving, an M&M Asphalt company based in Lake Worth, FL, with offices in Orlando and one under construction in Delray Beach. The company started in 1987 and went through two ownerships before Goldberg purchased it. “In 2008, we had six employees in one location, and now we have multiple locations, 128 employees, and our sales are going to be in excess of $25 million this year,” he notes. Underscoring his company’s success-in addition to his keen understanding of the financing factor-are three key business strategies: relationships, reputation, and follow-through. “It’s not like the old days. You’ve got to go out there, get the relationships, and build them,” he says. “You have to be timely and responsive.” He asks clients what they’re looking to do with properties long-term and follows through with his response to those requests. “Regardless of whether it’s written in a contract, we do what we say we’re going to do,” he says. “Your word in following through is golden in the industry.” Another critical business practice: “Always pay your subcontractors and take care of your people, and they’ll take care of you,” Goldberg points out. The company will do any work “you can walk on that doesn’t grow,” including site development, drainage, concrete, underground, paving, signage, striping, ADA modifications, and maintenance, says Goldberg. Its markets include government, HOA, multifamily construction and maintenance, commercial – such as office buildings, shopping centers and warehouses – healthcare facilities, and sub-contracting work. Goldberg says his company works with clients to identify challenges in their plans, offers better options, services the project, and follows through. “We build relationships for the long term and ask them what their needs for the property are in the long term,” he says. “What’s the point of the property? We provide the solution that best suits their needs, not ours.”

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What he does day to day
Goldberg calls himself a “jack of all trades”, a company president who’s just as inclined to jump onto a paver or loader as he is to spend his time managing the company’s finances, sales, marketing, and mapping the course for the company’s future.

What led him into this line of work
Goldberg had been in banking for 17 years after earning a finance degree in business and marketing in graduate school. His brother-in-law had been in the construction industry since he was a teenager. At the urging of his sister, he joined his brother-in-law in the industry. “We used both of our strengths and improved upon our strengths and built upon our weaknesses together as a team,” he says. Having witnessed some practices in the construction industry when he was financing projects, Goldberg says he has a greater understanding of the industry’s dynamics. “We have to stand our ground in what we know is the right thing to do and our basic core values of our company, which is to build relationships, do it right and stand
behind it,” he says.

What he likes most about his work
“What I love best is the ability to motivate, train, and develop a team of people and watch an idea on a site plan turn from a piece of paper into reality,” Goldberg says.

His greatest challenge Finding capable employees is a challenge, but when he does, Goldberg does what he can to retain them. “We offer all of our employees insurance, profit-sharing, vacation, and contribute to a pension plan,” he says. “We treat people with respect and treat them like they’re important to us, whether they’re a laborer with a shovel in their hand or the operations manager for 100 different pieces of equipment.”