Almost 30 years after launching Kaufman Lynn Construction, Inc. (KL) with a $12,000 loan from his family, Michael Kaufman’s company has grown from a modest team of three employees to a company with four regional offices building multimillion-dollar projects for universities, school districts, municipalities and developers throughout the southeast U.S.
The Delray Beach, Florida-based company—founded in 1989—today employs more than 165 people across four regions, including South Florida, southwest Florida, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas.
The KL CEO started the company after finding himself out of work with a growing family to support. “It was the result of adversity and opportunity,” he says.
Kaufman dusted off his tools from college and took on odd jobs for homeowners and commercial property managers
while looking for opportunities to break into the commercial, ground-up side of the construction industry. He started working as a subcontractor using that loan from his family to pay his crew and purchase supplies. Successful completion of his first projects led to other opportunities, allowing him to steadily build the scope and scale of the company’s work.
“Success in the construction market requires the ability to adapt quickly to feast or famine,” Kaufman says. He credits the ability to track and understand costs as one of the company’s core competencies. Having a clear understanding of the financial picture helped Kaufman to make tangible cost cuts early in the 2008 downturn, allowing the company to stay profitable even in its leanest year.