February 16, 2021
With so many of our past guests mentioning Nexstar as an integral part of their journey through the trades, it is our great pleasure to have Julian Scadden, President & CEO of Nexstar Network as a guest on To The Point. Julian, like many others in the trades, didn’t enter the home service industry by choice, but out of necessity. The trades have shown Julian love, and just as Nexstar supported him during his ups and downs, he now utilizes his position at Nexstar to help contractors across the country.
At the age of 16, Julian was homeless and living out of his car. He simply wanted to work, and knew the owner of a local plumbing company in his Aurora, CO, neighborhood. Julian was handed a spade shovel, and got started prepping lines for sewer ditches. He continued his apprenticeship, learning the trade slowly and surely. Julian was effective, but also meticulous with his work. The service manager made the decision to pull Julian into the office, training him with call center, dispatch, and reporting duties.
Unknown to Julian, the company was acquired by a national corporation, and consolidated alongside 5 other companies into a single entity. During their audit of his company, every one who wasn’t a revenue producer in the field was cut. When reviewing Julian’s duties, they decided he was essentially performing the role of the plumbing service manager, and just like that, Julian had a ‘new’ title on the team. He continued to work there for about 8 years longer, but the culture just didn’t mesh with him. It was more of a profit-driven company, and Julian was looking for something else in the trades.
When the company had been acquired, several of the employees left; some starting their own businesses. Julian bumped shoulders with one such person, Ed Coleman, who was the GM for Plumbline, and was offered a position on their team. That’s where Julian was sent to his first Nexstar training, and he realized everything fit. The vibe at both Plumbline and Nexstar was completely different than he was used to. The owner was invested in Julian and his life, ensuring he had the support he needed and the time to spend with his son. Nexstar training gave him insight into what the trades could look like, and it was the first time he felt like the focus of attention was on him, and not simply profit and customer satisfaction ratings. Julian was fully engaged and onboard.
During this time, Julian was living in a rougher part of town. At one point, he and his son were held at gunpoint during a home invasion. The intruders weren’t wearing masks, and Julian feared the inevitable future encounter and the safety of he and his son. That was plenty motivation to leave Aurora, and so Julian pulled out his rolodex of all the people he had met in the trades over the years. The search landed him in Atlanta, joining a new construction business that Julian wanted to add a residential department to. While the timing for new construction wasn’t great, they grew leaps and bounds, thanks in part to being active members in the Nexstar Network. Julian remembers weeks where they weren’t sure how they were going to make payroll, but their Nexstar membership was never a question.
While in Atlanta, Julian was fortunate to have Jack Tester as his business coach. Jack was the first employee and first CEO of Nexstar. Jack saw how Julian and his new venture was growing, and Julian kept poking Jack about becoming a coach at Nexstar. A year and a half later, Julian got the opportunity and relocated to Minnesota as a coach for Nexstar. Over the years, he moved up to the training team, to VP, and eventually in his current role as CEO.
From the very first Nexstar meeting he attended, Julian understood why so many contractors have viewed Nexstar as an invaluable resource for their teams. There is a strong focus on three things: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and profitability; in that order. The foundation of Nexstar, starting with Jack Tester’s vision, is about sharing and connecting. Nexstar is 100% member-owned, and there are no investors to report to, no cash infusion, and no distributions to worry about at the end of the year. It’s not a non-profit, and every profit dollar is invested back into Nexstar in the form of goods and services.
Nexstar recognizes they don’t have any true authority, and with no skin in the game, they can truly walk alongside contractors and work from a place of influence, care, and support. It enables Nexstar to make decisions differently about who they partner with, who they invest in, and creates an incredibly unique environment for growth and learning.
If you’re interested in reaching out to Julian or learning more about Nexstar, let us know! You can find lots of information and details on the Nexstar website, or reach out to us and we’ll help get you connected.