FRA Connections: Andrew '07 and Chase '07
WHEN/HOW DID YOUR CONNECTION BEGIN?
AS: We met in the fifth grade at FRA. He invited me on a family trip to Center Hill Lake, and we have been best friends ever since. We also introduced our parents, and they too became best friends and are best friends to this day.
WHAT QUALITIES DID YOU SEE IN EACH OTHER THAT MADE YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE GREAT PARTNERS?
AS: Chase has always been a hard worker and has had a drive to be successful. I remember using the AOL dial-up internet where he would log in and review stock performance before we could even drive.
CG: I think wanting to build something big became the gravity between us. Andrew and I complement each other because we both have similar views of the future, but we see different ways to get there using our own strengths. For instance, Andrew is extremely organized and never lets the small things fall through the cracks. He’s also got a persistence and tenacity to win that makes it easy for me to trust that he’s on top of things and never worry about his side of the equation as I execute on my side of the equation. This trust is unique and has been developed over the past 17+ years.
HOW/WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO BUSINESS TOGETHER?
AS: When we were 14, our parents told us that if we wanted cars when we turned 16, we had to pay for them ourselves. We decided to start an auto detailing company, Extreme Detailers, where we built a large customer base throughout Nashville/Brentwood. Most clients were in Chase’s parents’ neighborhood, so we would walk to each client every weekend and sometimes before school. By the time we turned 16, we were able to afford the cars we wanted.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR FRIENDSHIP BENEFITS YOU IN THE PROFESSIONAL SETTING AND IN WORKING TOGETHER?
CG: We’re able to take our work seriously, but not ourselves. We have a lot of fun working together and building a business that we both believe will change an entire industry.
AS: Yes – We know how each other operates both personally and professionally, and it has allowed us to work well together. We can play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are better because of it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
AS: Chase and I started Built five years ago (specifically January 2014). I was building houses and was frustrated with the time it took to receive funds from my banking relationships. We saw a lack of technology in an underserved area of banking and said to ourselves, “we can either do something about it or be the ones to say we saw the opportunity and watched someone else take advantage of it.” In a shortened down version, Built is a collateral management tool that allows financial institutions to manage their construction loans with more efficiency and less risk. We are approaching 100 clients throughout the U.S.A. and soon to be Canada, with some of the top clients being Regions, Synovus, Pinnacle, Franklin Synergy, etc. Built employs over 100 people with the vast majority being located at our headquarters here in Nashville.
CG: To elaborate further, the construction industry is dependent on capital to thrive (it takes a lot of money to build things). Banks are the lifeblood of that capital, and our company is focused on helping banks simplify the way they make and manage construction loans. From here, we will begin to help owners and contractors spend the money more efficiently and with more transparency into costs. It’s a $1 trillion industry that needs a lot of help.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM FRA THAT YOU CAN STILL APPLY TO BOTH YOUR FRIENDSHIP AND IN BUSINESS?
CG: FRA further instilled important principles that both Andrew and I were also receiving from our families. Doing the right thing, focusing on creating value for others, working as a team, working hard, creative problem solving, etc. were all things that I learned more about while a student at FRA.
AS: I learned a lot during my time at FRA, but I think the biggest thing I learned was the importance of teamwork. It has been a while, but as I think back to my senior year, many of my classes were focused on group activities, and everyone did a good job of holding each other accountable.
WHAT FACULTY MEMBER FROM FRA HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU, AND WHY?
AS: For me, Mark Baker taught me how to write, and while he was one of my toughest teachers, he is one who I respect and think about frequently. Many others had a very positive impact as well. Another one worth mentioning specifically is Coach Pierce. He was always genuine, loved what he did, and felt more like a friend than a teacher.
CG: Coach Tucker is one of the best people I have ever met. He believed in pushing students, but he did so from a place of genuinely wanting the best for every person he came in contact with. He saw potential in everyone.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUR CURRENT STUDENTS IN TERMS OF FOSTERING RELATIONSHIPS WHILE IN MIDDLE/UPPER SCHOOL AND BEYOND?
AS: I would advise students to take advantage of their summer breaks to intern at companies they find interesting. Be willing to do the work that no one else wants to do and keep asking for ways to help. Not only will they learn about how business/the real world works, they would open doors in the future that would be otherwise competitive or nonexistent. We spent many of our summer days working while our friends would hang out at the pool, and they were some of the most rewarding days of my life. I would not have changed it for anything.
CG: Find people who push you and inspire you to do more. When you have friends who do this, it is a powerful force. I was fortunate to find this in Andrew, and it altered the course of my life.