NAHB Remodeler of the Month

Scott Sevon, GMR, GMB, CGP, CGR, CAPS

MAW Chicago LLC, Palatine, Ill.

Founded: 1983

Number of Employees: 5

Q. Who started your company?

A. I started the company with my partner, Michael Nagel, CGR, CAPS.

Q. When and how did you choose this career?

A. My father was a custom builder and master carpenter. When I was in college I decided to follow him into the building and remodeling industry.

Q. What did you do before becoming a remodeler?

A. I was a construction superintendent and promptly moved into high-end custom home building. This was great but had many ups and downs, so I diversified into remodeling

Q. As you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A. I wanted to become an NHL hockey player. Bobby Hull was my idol (he looked a little like my dad). I also wanted to be a builder. I loved building and working on almost anything. When I was five, after watching my father cut some stair railings and pickets, I got on a chair and used a hand saw to cut the upper ears off our neighbor’s fence. I cut about 20 before getting caught.

Q. How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved?

A. It has gone from a handyman-type industry to a very professional industry. Many years ago, just being a good carpenter qualified you to be a good remodeler. Today, to be a top, full-service remodeling firm, you must be a good business person; continue your education; understand accounting; and be aware and current about the ever-changing regulations of your federal, state and local governments, as well as those in the many different cities in which you work. You need to understand financing, insurance needs and requirements, audits, customer relations, customer third-party surveys, some engineering and have many industry contacts. Our local Home Builders Association board of directors and NAHB Remodelers contacts have proven invaluable to keeping up with all of this.

Q. What is the most unusual project your company has completed?

A. Without a doubt, the honor goes to the “hostile easement takeover.” In one eight-hour day, after we preplanned and pre-engineered everything needed, we installed a 600-pound, solid-granite headstone-like monument that had the following inscription: “As of this 15th day of May 2011, the barrier is purposely and expressly placed over these railroad tracks as an adverse possession claim and in an open, notorious and hostile manner so as to prevent use, operation and maintenance of these railroad tracks. The barrier over time will extinguish any easement rights that exist over this property.”

Q. What are your favorite items in your office?

A. My family photos, our company’s many wonderful awards we have been blessed with over the years and my Chicago Blackhawks memorabilia.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?

A. My father told me when on a job to listen and keep my mouth shut and my ears and eyes open.

Q. What does being part of NAHB mean to you?

A. It says we are a part of a huge and very strong group. NAHB provides us with educational opportunities and training. It provides support and is one of the strongest legislative housing and remodeling groups in the nation. It allows us to stay educated and earn the many sought-after NAHB designations.

Q. What have you done to grow your business during the current economy?

A. Diversify. We are doing very small to very large jobs, and many jobs we are doing today we may not have accepted five to seven years ago. We also try to constantly grow our contacts and alliances. Referrals have kept us strong through the tough times.

Q. What motivates you every day?

A. My family. They are my rock and motivation. I speak to my mother and father daily. My dad, at 80-years young, occasionally comes to the jobs. My wife, Janice, is my sounding board; I value her thoughts and opinions. She and our children love to joke.

Q. If a movie was made about your life, who would be cast as you?

A. Bruce Willis or John Wayne: When they get into tough, almost impossible situations, they always prevail. People trust them to save the day. They never give up.

Industry Involvement

NAHB Remodelers 2012 CAPS chair

NAHB Remodelers trustee

Home Builders Association of Illinois BUILDPAC trustee and gold key member

NAHB senior life director

ANSI Green Remodeling National Standard committee

2011 HBAI Remodeler of the Year

2011 National GMR of the Year

2006 National GMB of the Year

2006 HBA of Greater Chicago Remodeler of the Year

2004 HBAGC Builder of the Year

Community Involvement

American Cancer Society

HBAGC Home Aid Chicago

Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Chicago Blackhawks charities

Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.) Energy Advisory Board