Mattamy Homes has conquered the Canadian market.
As Canada’s largest homebuilder, with more than 70,000 homes built in each of the country's largest markets, the company needed to look south of the border for new growth opportunities.
As it turns out, Mattamy hired someone in 2013 that it found uniquely qualified to lead that effort as president of the U.S. Group after the person who held that position left the company.
Jim Leiferman, had been hired as a division president in November 2013 to lead and grow the home builder’s operations in the Orlando-area. But in a short amount of time, he went above and beyond that mission, growing the company's footprint well beyond the metro area.
His efforts in Orlando doubled the amount of land the company had to develop on and fostered relations to move forward with an expansion into the Sarasota and Tampa markets. Leiferman's drive to expand the company's Florida business caught the attention of company leaders, who hadn't hired him with the intention of giving him reign over the company's U.S. operations.
“He was promotable, like any division president, but Jim proved to really, in a very short period of time, have a very strong in understanding of the business,” says Brian Johnson, COO of Mattamy. “He’s thoughtful and goes beyond our expectations.”
Mattamy envisions becoming the best builder in North America--it's certainly one of the largest.But to grow even further, the company must take its lessons from Canada and apply them in the U.S. That's no easy task .
For instance, Leiferman says one of the biggest differences between the two countries is how investments are evaluated depending on their timeframes.
“There are a lot of opportunities that not many builders here are going to take a look at,” he says. “They’re too long term on the investment curve. A lot of them are not going to have patient money to look at a 10- to 20-year asset. But that’s kind of the way our business runs in Canada.”
As a private builder, Leiferman enjoys the advantage of time and being able to look at investments with a longer-term perspective.
“I get to operate in a little bit different environment where I’m not necessarily worried about every quarter end and what we’ve done and what we haven’t done,” he says. “We literally look at the next decade instead.”
Leiferman hit the ground running as soon as his promotion was announced. Taking a whirlwind tour of the markets Mattamy works in provided him a crash course in the cities he was less familiar with, such as Phoenix, Charlotte, and Jacksonville.
“I’m just trying to figure out the seven markets I have,” he says adding Minneapolis to the list.
“He needs to help us work our way through a growth period as an organization,” Johnson says. “I see us building a lot more houses than we did last year. It all sounds simple, but getting all the trades, staff, construction staff and everything in order is going to be hard work. But we’re confident in him.”