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 CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.