Meet the CEO: Preston McAfee

photography by Joshua Martin

A few years ago, Preston McAfee and his team at Dallas-based Rogers-O’Brien Construction turned an underdeveloped area in Plano into the Shops at Legacy, a popular retail and restaurant destination. More recently, they broke ground on two other large mixed-use projects—the Park Lane development across from NorthPark Center, and the West 7th development in Ft. Worth. Billingsley’s almost 180,000-square-foot office space at 6100 Plano Parkway in the International Business Park—on track to be the first LEED gold-certified building in Plano—is also a product of this multimillion-dollar commercial construction company. “Since 1969, Rogers-O’Brien has pioneered a different kind of service for our clients,” says McAfee, who has 20 years experience in commercial real estate development. “Rogers-O’Brien’s core values define our organization: We do what we say we will do.” The company must be doing something right: It consistently boasts annual revenue of at least $250 million.

AGE 56

TITLE/COMPANY President and CEO/Rogers-O’Brien Construction

TENURE 16 years, eight as CEO 

BEST PART OF YOUR JOB Seeing customers and [our] people being successful as a team and being proud of what they built.

WORST PART The biggest challenge is to continually find opportunities for all employees to grow while maintaining the culture of the company. But we’ve been successful in doing it so far. 

photography courtesy of iStock

FIRST AND WORST JOB Installing insulation in houses south of Dallas. It was hot and the fiberglass insulation would get under your skin like a cactus. 
IF YOU WEREN’T CEO OF ROGERS-O’BRIEN I’d be farming and ranching.  

MENTORS Pat O’Brien, my father-in-law, and Steve Rogers, the founders of Rogers-O’Brien. They are well-respected and set the tone for integrity.

WEAKNESS Tools and equipment!  

BOOK I’m currently reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

RECENT PURCHASE A trailer-mounted smoker. Weekends In Athens, Texas, on the lake, or on a hunting lease somewhere.

ACCOMPLISHMENT My wife and our three children. They have great hearts and are great people. As far as work, I have two—being recognized as the American Institute of Architects Contractor of the Year in 2001, and the American Subcontractors Association General Contractor of the Year in 2008.     

INDUSTRY TRENDS Right now there are out-of-control cost escalations in all phases; it is a challenge because we are trying to stay ahead for customers. Also, there is the mixed-use trend that is continuing in urban developments, and in the past four to five years health-care construction has become a big market. 

ON THE DOWN ECONOMY Rogers-O’Brien is staying focused on our existing clients and markets while continually looking for opportunities to diversify and add value to our organization.  There always seem to be prospects that arise from challenging conditions.