Under president and CEO Ian Mc-Carthy, publicly-owned Beazer Homes finished the quarter ending December 31st with record closings and profits. Atlanta-based Beazer is the nation's sixth-largest home builder, operating in more than 22 states. Born, raised, and educated in London, where he met his wife, Angela, McCarthy spent a decade working for Beazer in Hong Kong and Thailand. He has two daughters, ages 17 and 21.
BB: How would you characterize your outlook for Beazer?
IM: I think it's very good. The key point is, the market is going to slow somewhat from record levels last year, but as the big builders are taking so much market share, I feel comfortable that there will be growth in our future.
BB: How does a major home builder most effectively set itself apart from others?
IM: We are building the company and the brand around the customer. We are really listening to our customers—we put an online survey process in place for our customers from the first moment they touch us on the web site 'til forever. We touch them, they touch us, and they talk to us from the moment they touch the company. I think that, over a long period of time, it's going to set us apart because we'll get real input from our customers.
IM: Well, obviously the demographics are there for the Active Adults. That is something we should all be aware of. We have a broad product range that will appeal not only to Active Adults—products that are age-specific but also age-targeted. So we are looking at Active Adults living within our communities, and we have products for them in that way.
BB: Hispanics are an increasingly important group. How are you courting that consumer base?
IM: Hispanics are going to be very, very strong consumers, and we are focused on that. We are also focused on the work-force. Over the next 15 years, two-thirds of the workforce growth will be among Hispanics, but only one percent of those workers will be in management. We've taken an industry-leading position to attract and develop Hispanic college students in a formal partnership with the Home Builders Institute and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and we will be hiring interns and graduates into management roles.
BB: I'm told you're a humble golfer.
IM: Very humble. I think however successful you think you might be in life or in business, it's always very humbling to get on the golf course and be leveled, alongside everyone else. And that's where I maintain my golf position.
BB: And a lifelong sailor?
IM: Right, from a very early age. I have spent many years sailing—from sailing small dinghys to being a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club when I lived there. I have had the opportunity to sail at all levels, and I still really enjoy it.
BB: You and your wife spent 10 years living in the Far East. Have you shared your international perspective with your daughters?
IM: Absolutely. My children have the advantage of having been born in Bangkok, Thailand, and then having grown up in the States, but still having English roots. So, they've got that perspective, and we have also traveled extensively, both to Europe and back to Asia. So they have definitely shared this experience.
BB: How important is it that American kids have a world view?
IM: I think it is essential. If you think about globalization and its effects—the positive and potentially negative effects—I think everyone has to be aware of this issue today. It's very important for the next generation to be aware of all aspects of it.