Beyond the Build


Resume and Legacy Are Equally Important.


Last week, I spent about 15 hours of windshield time traveling through mid-Atlantic states visiting our projects. I made an effort to drive without music, leaving plenty of time for thought.

One thing on my mind: If you were to leave this earth at 5 pm–not just any day, but TODAY–what would people say about you? Did you improve lives, or live for yourself? In other words, are you building your resume or your eulogy? I like this TED Talk from David Brooks that explores the difference:

  • marketable skills vs. depth and relationships
  • ambition vs the desire to do good
  • success vs. love, redemption and return

Similarly, in the construction business we have two types of projects. There are jobs that make a financial contribution, thus keeping our CFO smiling, and those that benefit beyond finances, on various platforms, making communities better and helping people in the process. Personally I like them both. Routine projects and not-so-routine projects are important on different levels.

To me, it’s okay to build a résumé, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of genuine connections and community. Corporately, I try to balance our resume with our “eulogy.” We’re planning to be around, but just in case…

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.