Mountain Climbing Contractor Succeeds with His Inner Jesup
May 14, 2015 12:57 PM
Mountain Climbing Contractor Succeeds with His ‘Inner Jesup’
By Derby Waters, Staff Writer
As a premier company in commercial construction and rental of warehouse space in Florida, McCraney Property Company has seen good times and bad. And when things get tough, the CEO, Steven McCraney, calls on his “inner Jesup” to get him through.
McCraney (shown center) was in town last week to talk with members and supporters of the Altamaha Technical College Foundation. Though the college name is now Coastal Pines, the Foundation remains under its original name. The occasion was the second in the MORE series of talks to raise funds for the Foundation. Shawn O’Quinn (shown right), introduced McCraney (Doug Ellis, shown left, is chairman of the Altamaha Technical College Foundation, which sponsors the sessions).
McCraney lived in Jesup as a youngster and attended school here from the third grade to his sophomore year. But, he told the audience, he still depends on this community’s values of hard work and the resilience to never quit. He said the community, the people, the schools, the sports, and the churches here provided him with a tremendous springboard that has launched him into the business world and has seen him through some struggles.
McCraney was introduced by his high school friend Mike Burch, a local businessman. He had praise for a number of people in the audience and singled out Dr. Larry Bennett and his family for mentoring him as a youngster. “I have a no-quit attitude that I learned here and an unrelenting focus that I acquired while living here,” McCraney said.
Not only is McCraney a successful businessman; he has also climbed the highest mountains in the world in his quest to conquer the tallest mountain on every continent, a challenge where his dedication to a task has served him well. “It’s all about people,” McCraney said of his success. He said whether someone is tackling a tall mountain or operating a business, success depends on good people.
He told the group that after graduating from Villanova he began purchasing gas stations and grew his business from one station to 31. By 1997 his business had grown to a company employing 167 people.
He sold that business and began his career in the construction business. Once again he began to grow his company. He attributes the success to the people, repetition and persistence.
Through the years he married his wife of 26 years, Maria, and fathered three daughters but also lost two brothers. But with Maria and hard work, he had experienced continued success in the Florida construction business. “Then in 2007 the world stopped,” he said.
As the economy collapsed, construction came to a halt, and McCraney was faced with carrying a debt of several millions of dollars through one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history. He says it was through the bottom of the recession that his “small-town values” continued to see him through.
“Relationships matter,” he told the crowd. He recalled how he kept his chin up and kept calling on clients that he had served during the good times. And no matter how tough, he never laid off a single employee, and he never missed making a payment on his debts.
Through persistence, he survived the tough times, he said, by calling on his “inner Jesup.” He remained true to his values, and as the economy began to improve, McCraney was in place to move his company forward and begin building once again. “What gets focused on is what gets done,” he said.
He termed consistency as “the genius of life.”“Be generous, and remember that relationships matter,” McCraney concluded.