Friday, February 3, 2023 Feb 3, 2023
47° F Dallas, TX

My Passion: John Egnatis

Hockey is the "perfect getaway" for the Grenadier Homes CEO.
By Kerry Curry |

It’s no surprise that hockey enthusiast John Egnatis hails from the land of Zambonis. The CEO and co-founder of Grenadier Homes grew up the son of Greek immigrants in a suburb of Toronto. There, he and childhood friend Anthony Natale, the son of Italian immigrants, used to play hockey on Grenadier Pond.

Today, the two 49-year-olds—who have been in business together since 1990—have brought their passion for hockey to the adult recreational leagues in Dallas’ northern suburbs.

“It’s the perfect sport to play in the summer,” Egnatis says. “You go to the rink in flip-flops and shorts, and the rink is probably 40 or 50 [degrees]. It’s the perfect getaway.”

He and Natale went their separate ways after high school. Egnatis studied accounting and began his career at a Big Six firm. Natale studied engineering and earned an MBA. Then, one summer, Egnatis visited Natale in Dallas, where Natale was working for his real estate-developer uncle. The two friends hatched plans to go into business together.

Co-founder Natale serves as president of Grenadier Homes (named for the pond where he and Egnatis played as kids). Grenadier builds one-story townhomes and casitas geared toward the senior market. It hearkens back to the extended family of their growing-up years. Egnatis’ grandparents and parents lived in the same home, and Natales’ grandparents lived next door to Egnatis.

In North Texas, they’ve built homes where parents and grandparents can live under the same roof, or nearby, in masterplanned communities. “For society, we think this is the best thing,” Egnatis says. “We see families going back to their roots and moving back closer together.” And, lessons from the hockey rink make their way into their business, Egnatis says. “As we’ve grown our company, we’ve talked about what makes a good team,” he says. “We are a team at Grenadier, and we have a real collaborative culture.”