Brad Shee started his career with real estate while only a junior in college. After graduating from Florida State with a degree in Business Real Estate, he became the Warranty Manager for a Fortune 500 home builder and was quickly promoted to Construction Superintendent. With a career change to real estate sales and plenty of accolades under his belt, he now serves as President of MasterCraft Builder Group, and will celebrate 10 years with us in May. Brad shared how his career in real estate is a family affair, why he attends nearly all of MasterCraft’s new home closings, and how his dissatisfaction with student housing was how he ended up where he is today.
What did you do after college?
It was really random, but we saw that student housing in Tallahassee in 2002 was terrible. Everything was junk and we wanted a really cool house. We wanted something that nobody had. We started driving around and I found this really cool super modern, brand-new three-story house with– it was all glass. It was really crazy-looking. I got in touch with the guy who was building it and ended up getting a job with him. I got my real estate license junior year of college, and started going down that path and working on the building side of his business as well. Then two weeks after I graduated college, started out as a warranty manager for KB Home in St. Augustine.
What did your dad do for a living?
It’s funny, I tell people this all the time, my dad started off working for a lumberyard in Jacksonville when he was like 17 years old and then has always been in building materials. He, at the peak of his career, ended up running Weyerhaeuser for Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville. Weyerhaeuser is the main lumber distributor, probably for the U.S. We grew up actually running around lumber yards and then climbing on bunks of lumber. We’ve always been around it our entire life, I guess is what I’m getting at.
What year did you join MasterCraft?
May 31st, 2012.
How did you come to work for the company?
Honestly, I’ll never forget it. The plan was always for me to come and be at MasterCraft, but the market was just coming back. They were getting off their feet and growing, and they reached a point where they were like, “Okay, we need to bring someone on.” It worked really well because I was well-diversified, where, once again, I did warranty construction and sales. It was a really big risk for me because my wife was eight months pregnant at the time. Here I am, I have a newborn on the way any day, and starting this whole career change, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. That’s worked out ever since.
What’s it like working with your brother?
There are two things that are key to us working together; the most important being respect. He respects what I do, I respect what he does, and it works really, really well. We trust each other. There is a six year age difference between Chris and I, although I look like I’m older than he is and I get often reminded of that. We grew up blue-collar. My parents both worked a ton of hours. After school, he would basically take care of me. Yes, my parents raised us but he was always like my guardian. Took me along wherever he went and showed me some good stuff, showed me some bad stuff, but eventually helped raise me. That’s what I always say. We’ve always had that real tight-knit relationship, but the respect factor for sure.
Tell me a bit about your day-to-day responsibilities at MasterCraft.
I usually deal with the stuff, the issues, that no one can find a solution to. When all options have been exhausted, usually it ends up on my desk, and then I try to work through the details from there. My other biggest thing that I try to do is support the team in any way I can. I’ll always put myself out there to help one of them. It makes their job easier doing anything like that. I’m the first one to raise my hand and pick up the task or call a homeowner or do anything like that. It’s not that I’m some imaginary figure behind a desk. I’m out there in the field talking to customers, dealing with trades, doing whatever needs to happen to get the job done. That is my main thing. I also focus on closings. The closing part of this whole process can be the most stressful because everything’s coming to fruition. There’s a lot of coordinating with banks and buyers and builders and walkthroughs and quality assurance and everything. That’s a big part of my day as well.
You also attend most of the new home closings, right?
I attend 95% of our closings. We don’t do surveys or anything like that. The reason why is because, as I mentioned to you, that I deal with closings a lot. It’s really nice to see our customers at the closing table. I specifically take time out of my day to go and thank them and talk to them and make sure everything’s good. I think it has to do with respect for our buyers. I’m pretty sure there’s not many other builders, if any, that do that.
What do you think the future of MasterCraft looks like in the next 5, 10 years?
One thing that is really cool is I have three boys: nine, seven, and six. Then Chris has two boys, one who’s graduating UNF in a few weeks. Then his youngest son is a freshman at Florida State. These boys are going to start graduating college, and we’re super proud of who they have turned out to be. I hope that 5, 10 years from now the Shee legacy will continue and that they’ll follow in our footsteps. As far as the future of the business, we are very strategic when it comes to growth. We don’t want to expand too fast, too quickly. We’re to a point now that we have dialed in exactly where we are, and we’re getting better and better every day from a projecting standpoint, from operations, just everything. Last year was extremely challenging for us with supply chain issues and everything else, but when we were faced with diversity, we picked it up and really honed in on our business. We are a completely different company than we were two years ago, in a better way.
What do you enjoy most about working at Mastercraft?
It sounds very cliche, but it’s the people. I’ve been on several different teams, and the people in that office and out in the field are absolutely some of the best that I have ever met in my entire life. They all care. We’re all very like-minded with the way that we treat people. Our guys are very respectful to our trades. It’s a mutual respect thing, once again, that we treat our trades like they’re part of our team and we thank them for showing up on our job site. To answer your full question, by far it’s the people. We have an amazing team.
Tell me about any titles with industry groups or nonprofits that you hold?
Chris does the majority of the nonprofit stuff. He always says he can’t do it without me doing what I do, so I let him have all the fun when it comes to that stuff. It is his passion, it is his favorite thing to give, and it’s pretty cool to see. As far as myself, I sit on the board for the Boys & Girls Club in St. Augustine. It’s THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club off King Street, I help there. I’m also on the UNF Advisory Board for the College of Construction. I help advise alongside 25 or so local leaders. I’m a Certified Master Builder, which is a distinction in the State of Florida only. I hold my real estate sales license, certified general contractor, certified pool contractor.
Tell me a bit more about your hobbies and your family. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Our favorite thing is taking our pontoon boat out on the river. It’s something that we always look forward to on the weekends. It’s nice to get out there and love the wind blowing in your face, sunshine on your back, and play a little bit of music as well. The kids being the age they are, we’re so entrenched in them and making sure that they’re taken care of – sports and all that stuff. We’re homebodies, so staying at home and just hanging out, swimming in the pool, stuff like that, but extremely family-oriented. We always go to each other’s soccer practices and everything. We stay pretty close-knit.
What motivates you to take so much pride in your work?
I live in RiverTown and we also build in RiverTown. I always tell customers that I’m going to see them in public. I’ll have my kids with me. I don’t want to run and hide behind the chip aisle because we did something in their house that I’m not proud of. I always tell them that we take a lot of pride in what we do. I’m going to see them in public one day with my boys, and I want to come and say hello to them and shake their hand and see how everything is going with the house. Once again, not hide behind the chip aisle because there was the shame of something we did. We’re part of the community, and I think that says a lot.