Company: Parker Brown Inc.
Born: 1956, Dublin
Education: High school
Personal: Married with three children and three grandchildren.
Most Influential People: Dick Tomacheski, Rickey Gelb
Career Turning Point: Five years spent working for other business owners after coming to the U.S.
Hobbies: Refereeing youth soccer, sailing and gardening.
Five years ago, John Parker and his business partner Scott Brown set an ambitious goal to reach $50 million in revenue for their general contracting business Parker Brown Inc. This year, the fifth year, the Canoga Park company will hit that goal. It is a milestone for Parker, who emigrated to the United States in 1989 from Ireland and started the business with Brown in 1994. They had four employees then and have grown to 52 employees, said the 62-year-old Northridge resident. Parker’s Irish accent gives away his origins, as do the photos on the walls of his office, including one of the house where his father was born in 1910. It is in “a tiny little place” named Lackan in County Wicklow, Parker said. “As kids we used to joke that it was lacking in a lot of things because it literally had a church, a bar and a shop,” he added. “It no longer has the store but still has the church and the bar, but the bar only opens on weekends.” Parker met with the Business Journal to tell of emigrating from Ireland, his career in construction and why he likes having a friend with a boat.
Question: What do you like about the construction business in the Valley?
Answer: Construction is all I’ve done since I was a young apprentice carpenter. The Valley has gone through the greatest renaissance or reinventing itself at the moment, so business is terrific. There are a lot of good people, so we can pick and choose clients. It is easy to do that because we put prices on jobs and if you really want a job then you can tighten up the price, and if you don’t want that job then you can go a little higher. At the moment this is probably the best time we’ve ever had in the economy.
What are some recent projects your company has worked on?
We took down some buildings over at Northrop Grumman (Navigation Systems, in Woodland Hills). We are doing three different projects inside for Northrop on tenant improvements. We’re doing two new building up on DeSoto. We did a huge job for a company called AmeriHome (Mortgage Co.) in Thousand Oaks, which was $5.5 million and 70,000 square feet. That was quite an endeavor at the time.