By Pat Crowley
Special to NKyTribune
Fischer Homes – the nation’s 30th largest home builder focused on distinctive design and an exceptional customer experience – has announced major changes in the company’s leadership.
Bob Hawksley, a 28-year veteran of Fischer Homes and the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Fischer Group, has been named CEO Emeritus.
Tim McMahon has been promoted from President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Fischer Group.
Jay Smith has been promoted from Executive Vice President of Operations to President and COO of The Fischer Group.
Tim McMahon, Bob Hawksley, and Jay Smith (Photo provided)
Fischer Homes Chairman Greg Fischer – whose father, Henry, founded the company in 1980 – said Hawksley was the first non-family member to serve as CEO of Fischer Homes.
“Bob has been a very important part of our company for many years,” Fischer said. “He helped define the culture and define who we are. I am eternally grateful to him for what he has done for our company as well as for what he has done for me. I started at Fischer when I was 18, so Bob is right there with my dad as far as how much he has helped me personally.”
Fischer said that McMahon and Smith have had tremendous impacts on Fischer Homes and have positioned the company for continued growth.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the last three years, showing tremendous growth, and I attribute a lot of that to the leadership of Tim and Jay,” Fischer said. “They have set us up to springboard to the next chapter, and I’m excited about the future and feel fortunate to have both of them leading our team.”
The transition has been years in the making and strongly positions the company for sustained growth in the years to come.
“These changes did not happen overnight,” McMahon said. “Bob Hawksley and I have been working with Greg Fischer and our leadership team since 2014 on how we can expand the footprint of the organization and seamlessly transition leadership; this has been a well-thought-out, long-term succession plan. Our goal now is to continue to execute our proven profitable expansion strategy that we have successfully executed over the past eight years.”
In the past five years, Fischer Homes has grown from 19,500 homes built to 32,000 homes with a rise in annual revenue from $637 million to $1.5 billion. The company is the top home builder in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Louisville and a leading builder in Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Atlanta.
Following is information about each of the Fischer Homes leaders.
Bob Hawksley, CEO Emeritus
When Bob Hawksley joined Fischer Homes 28 years ago, the company was building 300 to 350 homes a year in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area. Today, Fischer Homes builds more than 3,000 homes a year in eight markets and has a revenue of $1.5 billion annually.
“When I look back on my years with Fischer and the growth we have experienced, I’ve learned that there are always opportunities in the market for companies that do the right thing,” Hawksley said. “We’ve always been committed to putting in place the right people and systems that result in exceptional customer service. There is a culture in place that Henry Fischer started, and it is a major part of who we are and what we still do today.”
A graduate of the University of Florida’s School of Building Construction, Hawksley was a Senior Vice President with Ryan Homes when he joined Fischer Homes. In reflecting on the company’s accomplishments during his tenure, Hawksley mentioned the company’s overall growth along with the development of Fischer Homes as a one-stop shop for customers.
“Our affiliates, Victory Mortgage and Homestead Title, are key partners and we are working on launching an insurance company so we can offer our customers a seamless homebuying process,” Hawksley said. “We’ve also developed technology and product research and development that has helped us stay focused on delivering what we promise to our customers, trade partners, and our Associates.”
He plans to retire in February of 2023 but will continue to provide guidance and support to new CEO Tim McMahon while remaining as a member of the company’s board for three years. He is optimistic about the company’s growth potential in each of its markets.
Tim McMahon, CEO
Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Tim McMahon was a sports fan. So, to him, the most successful teams bring together the best players.
“Fischer Homes has been a success because we have put together a high-energy group of professional and talented individuals,” McMahon said. “And when you put a group of high performers into a culture based on teamwork, then you have something very special.
“This is a team that understands and executes on the strategy that has been defined,” he said. “They know what winning looks like, and they pursue it every day. As I reflect over my career, this is without a doubt the strongest group of Associates that I have ever worked with. I am very proud of them.”
Fischer Homes has also effectively used technology to boost sales and identify potential customers. In a 2017 article in Builder Magazine, McMahon described how technology helped achieve a 40 percent increase in sales that year.
“Fischer is a data-driven company that examines metrics like population, household formation, employment growth and which price points are selling fastest,” he told the magazine. “We’ve been very strategic.”
McMahon received an engineering degree from Rutgers University and, prior to joining Fischer Homes, was the Executive Vice President of both the Midwest and Southeast regions for Centex Homes.
McMahon started Fischer Homes’ Indianapolis Division from his dining room table, and the company quickly became the region’s fastest-growing home builder. He then provided strategic leadership for Fischer Homes’ expansion into Atlanta, Louisville, Dayton, and St. Louis and served as President and COO when the company reached $1 billion in revenue.
Jay Smith, President, and COO
Before joining Fischer Homes three years ago, Jay Smith forged an interesting path that took him from a small-town Kansas farm to the University of Kansas, where he received an engineering degree, to Harvard Business School, where he earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Professionally, he has more than 35 years of home building experience as the President and owner of Linndale Homes, Division President of Highland Homes, Division President of Ryland Homes, and Executive Vice President of Centex Homes.
While his tenure with Fischer Homes has been relatively brief, his impact has been significant. As Market President of the company’s Louisville Division, Smith increased closings from 285 in 2019 to 421 in 2021.
“I’m very excited about my new role with Fischer Homes,” Smith said. “The owners and leaders of this company have created a wonderful business. Everyone has the same mindset. It is all about incremental yet constant improvement. If we keep doing what they created, it will make us all better.”
After learning a solid work ethic growing up on a farm, Smith was working as an engineer when he had a turning point in his career.
“I realized I enjoyed and was better at the building side and the people side of the business instead of the number crunching side as an engineer,” Smith said. “That changed my direction. And from growing up in a small town where we worked hard, treated people with respect, always told the truth, and acted honorably, I felt I fit right into the culture here at Fischer Homes.”
Smith said as President and COO, he sees himself as a support mechanism for the Fischer Associates that are designing, building and selling homes, giving them the training and the tools so their talents can shine.
© 2016 Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism. All rights reserved.
By Pat Crowley