Broomfield-based Ascent Builders uses four lines of business: residential remodeling, custom-home construction, townhome construction and commercial construction. Jonathan Castner/For BizWest

Boulder Valley Mercury 100: Ascent’s growth built on perseverance, respect

The upswing in both Colorado’s economy and the construction industry has evoked many sighs of relief. Jason Brown considers his company, Ascent Builders, fortunate to have survived the decline-in-business years.

He attributes his current success to the combination of a shift in focus, perseverance and respect.

Ascent Builders utilizes four lines of business: residential remodeling, residential custom home construction, residential townhome construction and commercial construction. By putting more emphasis on working with entry-level townhomes and affordable housing, the company has made it through dark times and stepped into a spotlight.

Last year, that market was 60 percent of Ascent’s business.

The shift required a change in the staffing mix and in what Brown, president of the company, focused on, which included land acquisition and staying out in front of potential contracts.

Financial challenges headlined those years, as it did for many companies.

“Lenders were skittish about lending to small builders like us and in speculative construction,” Brown said. “At one time I pitched to 21 lenders before one did.”

His advice: Beating the bushes long enough can pay off. Even though lending institutions have loosened up, it’s still not where it was in 2006 so perseverance still is a good strategy.

Since bank dollars were held with tight fists, Brown also took advantage of his networks.

“This is my second career after 20 years in the corporate world,” he said. “Since I’d built a good network, I decided it was a good time to reach out to people who would be interested in alternative investment strategies.”

His background is in the telecommunications industry.

A second challenge Brown lists as a particularly big one for the construction industry now is getting good help. Without reliable skilled and unskilled labor, it’s hard to take advantage of the Denver and Boulder area market.

His solution is simple: respect.

“My philosophy is to treat customers right, and that includes vendors and subcontractors. I lean on them,” he said. “People have a hard time getting people to show up for jobs, but because we’re loyal to them, they’re loyal to us.”

Giving that kind of respect means being fair and fast with payment to vendors and subcontractors and not nickel-and-diming them for everything, he said. Taking a full 90 days to pay them weakens the loyalty as well.

Respect also means valuing subcontractors’ and vendors’ time, he said, rather than giving unrealistic deadlines or penalizing them for missing them.

A lot of contractors take advantage of subcontractors who are great with their trade and not so great in knowing how to run a business, according to Brown.

“Our company is built through referrals,” he said. “My personal motto is to treat everyone with respect because one day they may be a client or may be able to refer you to a client.”


Ascent Builders Inc.

11001 W. 120th Ave., Unit 400

Broomfield, CO 80021

303-459-4947

www.ascentbuilders.net

Jason Brown, president

Founded: 2005

Employees: 8

Primary service: Full-service residential and commercial general contractor and homebuilder.

Growth: 138 percent (First place, Flight I)

The upswing in both Colorado’s economy and the construction industry has evoked many sighs of relief. Jason Brown considers his company, Ascent Builders, fortunate to have survived the decline-in-business years.

He attributes his current success to the combination of a shift in focus, perseverance and respect.

Ascent Builders utilizes four lines of business: residential remodeling, residential custom home construction, residential townhome construction and commercial construction. By putting more emphasis on working with entry-level townhomes and affordable housing, the company has made it through dark times and stepped into a spotlight.

Last year, that market was 60 percent of Ascent’s business.

The shift required a change in the staffing mix and in what Brown, president of the company, focused on, which included land acquisition and staying out in front of potential contracts.

Financial challenges headlined those years, as it did for many companies.

“Lenders were skittish about lending to small builders like us and in speculative construction,” Brown said. “At one time I pitched to 21 lenders before one did.”

His advice: Beating the bushes long enough can pay off. Even though lending institutions have loosened up, it’s still not where it was in 2006 so perseverance still is a good strategy.

Since bank dollars were held with tight fists, Brown also took advantage of his networks.

“This is my second career after 20 years in the corporate world,” he said. “Since I’d built a good network, I decided it was a good time to reach out to people who…