Corey Schiller had barely turned 30 when he became chief executive of what was then a $130 million home-remodeling company.
Now Power Home Remodeling Group, of Chester, employs 1,350 and will report, Schiller said, $300 million in revenue for 2014.
Schiller, 32, a soccer-playing history major, was 21 when he and his best friend started at Power as junior salesmen right out of college. Two years later, Schiller earned a promotion to lead a marketing department of 40 people. He was 23 years old.
Question: How did that go?
Answer: There's never a good reason to have a closed mind and that, unfortunately, is a situation I stepped into. We had a lot of people that had been here for a really long time, that had never been held accountable, that had never been pushed, and the professional standard, in my opinion, was very low. That, in addition to being a young man, in addition to not having a lot of experience, meant that it was really hard.
Q: How did you earn respect?
A: I've done almost every job here at Power. And I realized along the way that the only way you can be an effective leader of someone - no matter what their position is - is you have to know their position and you have to be able to do it with excellence, so you can teach them how to do it with excellence.
Q: Some young execs strive to create an informal atmosphere - jeans, beer on Fridays.
A: I think when you do that, that's exactly what you get. Sort of a relaxed environment. I want people to feel happy and to feel relaxed. But we always want people to be performing to their highest standard.
Q: What's your philosophy?
A: In general, people don't associate the home-remodeling industry with high professional standards. And that was always something we were working against. That's why we try to emphasize having a very nice office space, having a really well-dressed professional environment and just being as professional as we can.
Q: Your attire is very corporate.
A: I feel more comfortable in a suit than I do in pajamas.
Q: You chose a corporate path, while some young people opt for going "off the grid," as they say.
A: Everything in life has a cost, and gaining that experience is a beautiful, wonderful thing. The cost of it is establishing roots in the professional world. Your goals are your goals. They don't have to be the corporate world's goals. If having a big career and wanting to be a leader and wanting to have financial stability are your goals, those are things you are going to have to work for and you are going to have to decide if being off the grid is what gets you there.
Q: You came to Power with your then-best friend, Asher Raphael. Now you and he are majority owners of the business and he is Power's chief strategic officer. Are you still best friends?
A: Yes. We complement each other well. Together, we can go further than we would alone.
Q: How do you maintain your friendship when you disagree?
A: The business has to come first. What the business needs us to be doing is to be respectful and to have positive intent. And to try to help each other.
Q: Do you ever fight?
A: They'll last for five hours. And it's just a long, heated discussion, and then we'll go have a beer.
Q: What beer?
Home: Media and Center City.
Diplomas: American University, history.
Soccer: Played defender positions in high school and college.
Company team: Window Juice, plays Tuesdays.
Weekends: Weddings. Lots of friends are getting married.
Business: Sells and installs replacement windows, siding, roofing and entry doors.
Territories: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington D.C., Wisconsin.
Projected 2014 revenues: $300 million.
Best perk: Annual winter trip to Mexico for every employee and a guest.
Why: Best way to build relationships and thank employees for the work they do.
Power's CEO, Corey Schiller, on why Detroit is a good bet. www.inquirer.com/jobbingEndText