Derrick Evers, CEO of Kaizen Development Partners, has a story to tell.
His first near-death experience happened in his hometown of Detroit, where he spent his childhood in a near-constant state of fear. “It was an environment filled with lions and sheep,” he says. During his freshman year of high school, he and a friend were attacked by a random gunman. Shaken by nearly losing their son, Evers’ parents packed up everything they owned and moved in with family in Fort Worth.
Decades later, Evers faced death of a different kind, when Neal Richards Group, a company he co-founded and led, became collateral damage in a fraud scandal involving two of its non-Evers co-founders. NRG had developed about $1 billion in medical facilities under the Forest Park brand. Drs. Richard Toussaint and Wade Barker were among 21 people indicted in a $40 million kickback scheme involving a separate hospital operations firm. (Barker, who pled guilty in the fall, testified on Monday.)
Evers and two other top NRG execs, Nick Summerville and Lee White, had no exit strategy or Plan B. “We had birthed a business; we poured ourselves into it,” Evers says. “And just like that, it was over.” They were treated as pariahs in the industry. Not only did they have to rebuild their business, they had to rebuild their reputations.
“Our journey has been one of failure, it has been one of embarrassment, and it has been one of fear,” Evers says. “But on the flip side, it has been transformational, empowering, and inspiring.”
In the March issue of D CEO, I wrote about how Evers, Summerville, and White battled back. The feature went online today—read it here.