Brad Cox loves people. That’s evident from the first conversation you have with him and it’s demonstrated by how he runs Magnum Contracting, LLC. At his heart, Brad’s a self-described “simple farm boy from Indiana” whose happy place is a tractor with a bush hog, some George Strait playing in the background. But there’s much more to Brad underneath the easiness he displays. Behind that is his strong faith, which coupled with his business instincts, provided Brad with an outlook on life that has helped him weather economic storms and keep Magnum Contracting running for nearly twenty years.
The downturn in the U.S. economy proved you can set out a plan and do all the hard work but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have success. Many, many construction companies folded during the recession. When times get hard like that, every business, every person, has to figure out what their solid rock is. What’s in their makeup and fiber? What’s going to help them push through to get to the other side of adversity?
What are the 3 things everyone needs to survive a slump?
First and foremost, Brad’s faith is a key component in getting him and Magnum Contracting through the tough times, and that faith in Christ has fed the heart, passion, and commitment needed to get through the tough times. These are the things that have allowed Magnum to have the success it’s now having.
You’ve Got to Have a Heart
Brad’s love of people is part of the reason he’s in the business: meeting a diverse group of folks. In Brad’s position, he meets everyone from multimillionaire business types to the guys digging the footers and he sees them all equally, with love. Brad’s heart has led him to understand the responsibility behind being an employer and the impact you have on people. “In the construction business, you see lives completely turned around and transformed by the power of hard work,” he says. He counts among his life’s joys, “watching Magnum become a home for young employees and realizing it’s a home for their professional lives.” Brad’s goal is now to be an owner that guides employees to realize their own goals and visions.
Passion is Contagious
The great thing about a company with strong leadership is that passion radiates from the top. Brad began to see his investment in the company reflected back at him in the passion of his employees. As Magnum has grown, Brad has realized “one of my jobs as a leader is to make sure the guys who are coming in here, that it becomes their dream and vision and goal to see Magnum grow too. If I can get a team of guys whose dreams and goals and visions can be realized through Magnum Contracting, at that point we’ve got a company that will succeed….we really have something there.”
Commitment Means Commitment, Even When It’s Hard
Survival for any business takes an unwavering commitment to your vision, even in tough times. Sticking to a vision is how Magnum grew in the first place. Brad “begged, borrowed, and pleaded to start Magnum in 2002.” Back then, Magnum was working primarily in grading. But Brad kept saying, during that success, “I’ve got to diversify within my company. I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket.” In 2008, the utility component took root, and next Brad began to realize development was possible with Magnum’s resources. Also in 2008: the economy crashes. Brad, then in his early 30s, said “I can pout and cry or I can keep going. I better push this along because it’s the only thing I know! During the slump is when I said Ok. I’m making a decision we’re going to see this thing through. What do I need to do as a business model to restructure this company? So when the economy turns around, we can manage it right and have a system in place to weather the storm better next time.”
Picking up the Pieces is Easier as a Team
As the economy started to gain momentum, Magnum went back to doing what it knew, grading. Then, piece by piece, it started to rebuild. Brad shared his vision with people like Kevin Morton, Mandy Turner, Kevin Rogers, Matthew Hemphill, and a hard-working team who came on board, created structure and helped him organize and run the company. Since 2012, Magnum Contracting has had continual growth thanks to them.
Brad has evolved over time and so has Magnum Contracting. When he started Magnum it was primarily a means to pay his bills and support his family. But even back then, deep down, Brad knew he wanted the company to be more than that. He had a commitment to the idea that Magnum could grow from grading and utility to contracting. His heart for people made him want Magnum to be a place for employees to grow too. And their passion for the company has turned Magnum into the growing business it is today.
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