Position: Founder and CEO
Company: The Foust Group
Family: Wife, Stephanie, and four children: Madison, Caroline, Gabrielle and Andrew
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Education: Marketing degree from LSU
In the news:
In April, Coating Services Inc., one of three affiliate companies of The Foust Group, was awarded a first place Safety Excellence Award from the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance in the Special Trade (Soft Craft, division one) category.
What was your very first job, how old were you and what was the biggest takeaway from the experience?
Sweeping the driveway and parking lot with a push broom at my dad’s office when I was 12 or 13 years old. I learned that getting up, putting in a full day’s work and being respected for your efforts is a great felling—no matter what the job.
What time do you typically get up on a workday, and what’s your ideal morning routine to get it off to a great start?
I’m up at 4:30 a.m., then it’s the treadmill for 45 minutes, breakfast (turkey sausage and oatmeal) and a spiritual/leadership reading for 20 to 25 minutes. Then I head to the office for the first meeting around 6:30 a.m.
What inspired you to go into business for yourself, how did you form The Foust Group?
I have always respected those who worked hard and took the risk to be an entrepreneur, and I always had an internal drive that wanted to test my formula as a leader and an owner. The establishment of our group was from a plan I put together that united talented leaders who provided specialty services throughout the industrial and marine industries.
Under your leadership, the company has considerably expanded its footprint and number of employees over the past decade or so. What has been your strategy for sustainable growth to this point and how might your company continue expanding in the future?
The foundation of our strategic growth starts with our Vision Model and the core being our most important asset, our team. We then combine our mission, values and culture to create a continuous improvement model. Simply put, if the team learns and grows, the company learns and grows with the team.
How has technology disrupted your industry over the past decade, and how has The Foust Group adapted to evolve and take advantage of new opportunities?
Technology has forced the team to keep our running shoes on and tied! Our company size and proactive nature has always kept us in a position to change with technology and often used within our group for advancement within our market place.
What’s a leadership skill you’ve learned the hard way?
Be flexible. Planting your feet in the ground only gets you stuck. Nothing is a given, and leadership comes from learning, listening, improving and evolving.
What’s something about your job that might surprise people?
Putting God first. Incorporating God into our business model has had a very positive impact on our group. We use His word in our leadership training, customer relations and communications.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The blessing of working everyday with a great team and having a job I love that allows me support and take care of my family.
What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do in your free time?
Golf, woodworking and automobiles—anything where I can use my hands and mind to build, fix or improve.
You’re taking me out to a business lunch in Baton Rouge. Where are you most likely to take me and what do you recommend I order?
Without a doubt, French Market Bistro for the fish special of the day!
What’s your strategy for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
Have a very thorough calendar that starts with the most important things: God, family, personal time and rest. Then stay caught up on a regular routine at work that allows for both planned and unplanned events.
What’s one of the smartest purchases you’ve ever made? What’s one of the dumbest?
Smartest: My Microsoft tablet. I can communicate, research, work and read from anywhere. Dumbest: Any item that was not the fastest and best!
What’s one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to you?
Meeting my wife Stephanie at Ruffino’s on a stormy night.
Can you name someone who has had a great impact on you as a leader, or someone who has been a mentor to you in your life or career? How have they changed your outlook?
Bret Pinson. He has taught me to put God first in life and business, and that I was not crazy, lucky or less intelligent. He helped give me the strength and courage to grow our group larger than I ever thought we would achieve and are getting even better!
What is something you are absolutely determined to do in life?
Spend many hours, days and months with my wife and family, while charitably impacting as many people as I can.