Our Ultimate CEO, Rex Kirby, honored as one of only one of 15 “2023 Ultimate CEOs” by the South Florida Business Journal, shares insights about the risks and rewards of starting a business from the ground up, how he defines success, and what he is most proud of in his career (thus far!).
“I’ve always felt like I’ve conducted business the right way. If I gave you my word or I shook your hand, you could take it to the bank,” Rex said.
Rex was recognized for his extraordinary contributions to Verdex Construction, the community and the overall economic fabric of South Florida.
Verdex Construction breaks ground on The Villas at Tuttle Royale, a 401-unit luxury apartment community in Royal Palm Beach for Lynd Development. Designed by MSA Architects, the rental community will feature 26 3-story garden-style apartments, 55 townhomes with garages and private, fenced ground floor terraces. Amenities include a resort-style pool, outdoor kitchen, fitness center, dog park, soccer fields, bike trail and lakeside putting and chipping greens.
The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2024.
The Indigo West Palm Beach project received a 2022 ABC Florida East Coast Excellence in Construction Award for quality.
Located in the City of West Palm Beach, Indigo West Palm Beach is a 7-story tunnel form apartment complex with 246 units and a 428-space precast garage. Amenities include a pool, fitness center, dog spa and game room for client Atlantic Residential.
The team overcame many challenges like navigating the COVID-19 supply chain issues, working on a tight site, and keeping up with the demand for leasing.
Verdex Construction officially celebrated the opening of their new West Coast office alongside the City of Tampa’s Mayor Jane Castor, Councilmembers Orlando Gudes and Luis Viera, the Tampa Bay Chamber, the Ybor City CRA and community members.
The office, located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City, allows Verdex to continue their expansion on the West Coast of Florida. They’re now up to 30+ employees and five active projects with more on the way!
Visit their new office at 2018 E 7th Ave Tampa, FL 33605.
West Palm Beach-based Verdex Construction kicked off their annual Back-to-School Supply drive to support the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County’s Red Apple Supplies program and the Hillsborough Education Foundation teaching Tools Resource Center. Both non-profits collect and distribute supplies to students and teachers in need.
As the pandemic continues to bring new challenges to families already in need and new obstacles to teachers that are trying to supply each student with their own, individual supplies. We are seeking individuals and businesses to help us fundraise and collect supplies for the upcoming school year.
HOW TO DONATE:
- Join our fundraiser and help us hit our goal of $3,000! Click here to make a monetary donation now thru July 29, 2022.
- School supplies may be dropped off at our headquarters located at 1545 Centrepark Drive N. West Palm Beach, FL 33401.
- The Red Apple Supplies Amazon Wishlist can be found by clicking here.
- School supplies may be dropped off at our Tampa office located at 2018 E 7th Tampa, FL 33605.
- The Hillsborough Education Foundation Teaching Tools Resource Center Amazon Wishlist can be found by clicking here.
“Education is one of our three pillars when it comes to giving back to our community,” said Verdex Construction President Rex Kirby. “We believe that every student should start the year off with the tools to make them successful.”
Verdex Construction’s most notable projects include The Canopy Hotel by Hilton in downtown West Palm Beach, 1000 North Restaurant in Jupiter and The Pointe on Westshore Apartments in Tampa. Verdex is headquartered in West Palm Beach with offices in Tampa and Gainesville.
In just over seven years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being selected as a 2022 Best Places to Work, 2021 Builder of the Year by the AIA Palm Beach and a finalist for 2021 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal.
ABOUT VERDEX CONSTRUCTION
Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor headquartered in West Palm Beach, FL with offices in Tampa and Gainesville. Led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 40-year veteran in the construction business, Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build. Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community. For more information, visit www.verdex.com
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY INVEST
June 2022 — Invest: spoke with Rex Kirby, president of Verdex Construction, and discussed the rapid population growth that has helped spark a boom in construction of homes and rentals. “The challenge now is that it’s getting unaffordable,” he said.
How has your 40 years of experience shaped your vision of the industry?
No one will forget the recession between 2008 and 2012. It was probably the toughest time we’ve ever had in this business because the struggles were so bad and went for so long. My takeaways during that time were twofold. For one, I started my own company and immediately started to diversify the project types we were involved in. We’re active in seven industries right now, with a lot of emphasis on apartments because there are so many people moving here. But we don’t want that to take up more than 50% of our portfolio because eventually everything slows down, and you don’t want to ride one wave for too long or you’ll end up empty. That is important to remember in our current economics. Secondly, we want to grow at a steady pace and not get ahead of the ability to find good people to join our team. We don’t strive to be the biggest, we want to be the best.
How are relocations to Palm Beach impacting the area and economy?
Relocations are very much still a trend. People are still pouring in and our projects have reflected that. We have a 402-unit apartment called Tuttle Royale in Royal Palm Beach, with another 264-unit apartment called Tortoise One starting in Downtown West Palm Beach. We’re also starting 1415 Centrepark, a 250-unit apartment building near the Palm Beach International Airport, as well. It shows the huge need for rentals and that the market is still very active.
The challenge now is that it’s getting unaffordable. Rents have been going up dramatically and I know some properties that have raised their rates five times just because they could. The
concern right now is going to be where is everyone going to live who can’t afford $3.50 to $5.00 per-square-foot lease rates? It’s a huge topic in Palm Beach County and the county government is considering a bond referendum right now to help with that. To that end, a lot of apartment complexes are putting a higher percentage of workforce housing into their portfolio. Some of that is a base requirement but, mostly, people understand that it’s something that needs to be tackled. The requirement is 15% but some developers are offering 20% to 25% workforce housing in their market rate apartments. We have to do that in order to make it work financially for everyone.
What is your assessment of talent recruitment in construction right now?
As we’ve grown, we’ve still been able to attract great workers because we work hard to maintain a good brand. That’s important because people want to work for a company they feel good about. We’re construction managers so, for the most part, we have professional people managing and building the projects and that group is in high demand.
As an example of real industry need, you can hardly find a plumber with any capacity right now. If we can find young people who want to be plumbers, they’d make a fortune. We haven’t quite been able to solve the pipeline issue to feed our craft industry and get it back to where people respect having a trade that offers a good living. We promote it all the time but getting more emphasis on vocational training for people who don’t want to be behind a desk is something we need to do more as an industry.
How can your personal story of starting out with a small crew and evolving into a major construction management company inspire a new generation of talent in the industry?
It has been a fun and remarkable ride here. We’re eight years in and will be doing $250 million in revenue this year and already have a backlog for 2023 well in excess of that. We will grow easily in the next two years. Honestly, it just goes back to relationships built over time. I’ve had a lot of developers who didn’t have to work with us but wanted to see us succeed and we got their support as a result. They were willing to give us that first job and first chance. The second thing is that I wanted to make sure we didn’t sacrifice our brand by growing too fast. We want the right people to fit our culture and grow the right way. We’re doing our fifth project right now for our very first client and that’s the way I want the company to grow: not just doing one and done projects but building relationships with clients and growing with them. People in the industry still like to work with people they like. That is something that will never change.