30 in Their Thirties: Brian Szliter

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Brian Szliter // 38

COO, Arteva Homes, Bloomfield Hills

Revenue: $12 million // Employees: 17

Arteva Homes was shifting away from building multimillion-dollar custom homes to more conventional residences when Brian Szliter decided to leave his supply chain logistics job at Pfizer Inc. in Ann Arbor in 2005 and join the company his father started in 2003. “I always had an interest in building and development, so I took my pharmaceutical industry experience and parlayed it into home-building,” Szliter says. “When the downturn happened, many competitors turned to slashing prices, but that wasn’t our focus. We found a niche of customers who appreciated the fit and finish, but also didn’t just want to buy a cookie-cutter box design.” Szliter also kept potential buyers engaged through the rough times with a concept he developed called an “idea” show house. “It wasn’t a model home or a high-pressure sales situation; it was where people could come to see the latest and greatest design trends,” he says. Since 2010, the firm has built idea show houses in Macomb and Shelby townships and downtown Rochester, and it plans to open a fourth in Rochester Hills this fall. “People who were remodeling their kitchens or bathrooms would come in looking for ideas, and they would go and purchase products from our suppliers and our trades. We’ve also had people come back to us who had visited the original show house and are now ready to buy a home. It was really an investment in future sales.” — Tom Beaman

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