From taking over the family business to starting his own home services platform, Trey McWilliams has a career that we’re excited to hear about and learn from! CEO of both McWilliams And Son and Blue Cardinal HSG, Trey has had success not just navigating his way through and up his family business, but even further – now helping to grow other businesses, too.
Trey’s start in the trades mirrors many others, being born into a family heating and cooling business. In 1974, his grandfather – retired from the Navy – started his own HVAC business out in East Texas, which was passed down to his father. Trey worked for his dad all through high school, and after graduating in 2004, continued on his path.
A few years later, however, Trey just wasn’t feeling great about the culture of the company. It had served as a great lifestyle business for the family, providing a great childhood for Trey and a father that never missed his ball games. But in terms of being a company that took care of everyone, it was falling short.
Trey approached his father to tell him where he wanted to take the company, and that began Trey’s journey transforming the company in 2010. By 2015, Trey’s fingerprints were all over the business, and his father was essentially an absentee owner. Trey was running the show, and bought his dad out of the business in 2018. Around this time, he started to get real interested in the world of M&A. McWilliams and Son was now 4 locations, but Trey wasn’t able to grow it fast enough. He was ready to take some risk off the table and set his family up for life.
While Trey was pouring into the business, he was also watching these consolidations happen. He was worrying about payroll, and there were these guys on the beach enjoying life. He wasn’t looking for an exit, but he did see the future: he either needed to join these groups or compete against them.
For Trey, exposure is king. He reached out to some friends he had in these groups and spent over 2 years meeting with them to learn all the ins and outs of private equity and M&A deals. He learned what they were looking at, looking for, and what brought value versus what was an issue. Trey began searching for the right partner, but was more focused on building something he could be proud of in 10 years – not simply something he could enjoy a payout on in 3-5. So, he decided to build his own platform to do it his way!
You can’t learn without exposing yourself to something new. That can be new information, new people, and new experiences. You also can’t grow without learning. So what does that tell you? Trey knew this early on, and leveraged his relationships to build something worth building. His continued evolution as a leader and figure in the home services world is one we’re proud to watch with a close eye!
If you’d like to connect with Trey, you can reach him at [email protected]!