Case Studies

Adam Hergenrother Companies

From downtrodden teen to ‘geometric’ growth

Adam Hergenrother remembers the exact moment he decided he’d never settle for a life of mediocrity. He was 15—overweight, failing classes, giving into peer pressure to experiment with alcohol and soft drugs.

And then one day he just came home and broke down. Enough was enough, he decided.

“I just knew I wasn’t going to live that life anymore,” he recalls.

Adam Hergenrother - Blackrock Construction

Over the next year, he improved his lackluster grades by devoting himself to studying, dropped 100 pounds and became captain of his high school football team. Later, he was accepted into the University of Vermont, following an initial trial program that required he maintain a 3.0 grade point average (which he did, and then some, ultimately graduating with honors).

Today, he infuses that drive and vision into Adam Hergenrother Companies, where he serves as CEO.

‘Everything real estate’

Based in South Burlington, Vermont, Adam Hergenrother Companies serves as an umbrella corporation to several flourishing enterprises.

Those include Keller Williams Vermont, opened in 2010; Hergenrother Realty Group, established in 2011 and operating in 20 states; and BlackRock Construction, founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Hergenrother and his brother, Tom Hergenrother, Jr., a successful New England custom home builder.

They also include two nonprofits, Hergenrother Foundation, formed in 2013, to “empower today’s youth to become outstanding members of their communities”; and Adam Hergenrother Training Organization, established in 2016, to further Hergenrother’s mission to “transform lives.”

The branches span the vast reach of the commercial and residential real estate space—from sales, leasing, rentals and property management; to planning and permitting assistance; design-build services, general contracting and construction financing and management; and business and leadership coaching and training.

Simply put, “Adam Hergenrother Companies is everything real estate,” says its namesake founder.

BlackRock Construction, the company’s construction and development arm, has a portfolio of commercial, retail and office projects, as well as luxury stand-alone homes and housing developments.

One of its most significant undertakings has been a $30 million senior care facility in Essex, Vermont. Now in its final phases, the campus of Spring Village at Essex will ultimately encompass a memory-care facility, townhomes, a 71-bed assisted-living facility and 27 units of senior living known as “Freedom Living Luxury Residences.”

Adam Hergenrother - Blackrock Construction

A similar project is underway in Albany, New York, Hergenrother says, and the company would like to continue developing senior care facilities that incorporate the newest technologies, and that “build an experience,” he says.

Hergenrother’s luxury residence concept is proof of that; he calls it an “ultimate experience” equipped with extensive amenities. “We’re creating a new space,” he says, “that lies between independent living and managed senior care.”

Hergenrother ultimately promises much more to come, saying, “We’re just getting started.”

Always thinking big

The notion of thinking small simply doesn’t seem to be in Hergenrother’s DNA.

“I never wanted anybody to put limits on my thinking,” he says, recalling his earliest jobs when he was “miserable working for someone else.”

His entrepreneurial journey started out simply enough. While in college, he and his roommate started turning around fixer-upper cars—doubling their money on the first one. “I never saw the car, I never thought about it,” Hergenrother recalls. “It was the first time I really felt leverage.”

When he finally struck out on his own, the natural progression was to real estate; he worked out of a 400-square-foot apartment, putting in 12-plus hour days.

The ensuing years took a good deal of equity, both in dollars and sweat. “People don’t realize how hard it is to start a business,” Hergenrother says, noting that he invested more than $700,000 into his fledgling business.

But it soon paid off, allowing his company to hit, as he calls it, “geometric growth.” BlackRock Construction has since been named 42nd on Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing private companies, with a three-year sales growth rate of 6,611 percent. Meanwhile, in 2017, Adam Hergenrother Companies was named one of the “Best Places to Work in Vermont,” and Hergenrother Realty Group was ranked 28th in the world by REAL Trends, as advertised in the Wall Street Journal.

Invaluable lessons

Still, it’s not just about making money, collecting awards or making headlines—Hergenrother’s goal is to inspire and provide opportunity to others.

In 2015, he launched the “Herg Life” blog, where he espouses the importance of both business excellence and personal success.

The blog has been immensely successful, with a “huge base of people listening to our voice,” Hergenrother says. Some posts have had up to 10,000 views. The blog not only builds the brand, but serves as a recruitment tool.

Adam Hergenrother - Blackrock Construction

Employees consistently provide guest posts, and it’s been rewarding to see them grow. The goal of Hergenrother’s training organization is to transform employees’ lives first, he says, “So they in turn can transform the lives of our clients and business partners.”

In the end, it’s a balancing act, he says; first and foremost, it’s important to pour energy into employees and “set the vision, think bigger.” But at the same time, it’s just as important to acknowledge that it doesn’t happen overnight; end goals come after both good and bad times, long days and nights, persistence and “mastering the boredom” of the day-to-day.

“We’re doing something greater than just building homes, developments. We’re constantly giving value to people so that not only are they growing, but we’re also growing ourselves,” he says. “Building a business is about adding value to yourself first.”

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Spring 2018



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