Graduated from the University of Georgia with a Finance degree, Lindsay Nevin, CEO, The Flyway Companies, is armed with many titles- an experienced entrepreneur, a proficient leader, an innovator, a trailblazer and so on…
Lindsay holds close to two decades of extensive experience; his professional journey started with a national homebuilding company where he learned the mechanics of production building for a 3-year period. The land-use practices associated with this type of development did not align with his philosophy. He is an avid outdoorsman and land conservation is a passion. He is at peace in the woods and on the water and works with conservation groups to ensure they all have access to both.
His second position was with a high-end mixed-use developer. Their projects consisted of Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) developments and urban infill projects primarily rooted in residential design. At this company, he learned the idea of creating value, and while in this position, he started investing in real estate. He began to come to terms with the thought of spending 50 cents to make a dollar. This opportunity and his investing ultimately set him on the trajectory he is on today. The primary focus is investing, developing, building, leasing, and managing high-quality mixed-use developments with a focus on office, retail, and more recently entertainment.
Lindsay further apprised, “I come from a home of two loving parents and an amazing sister. My father was in real estate, my mother was a school teacher and my sister has her own interior design firm. They always allowed the freedom for me to explore and execute my own ideas.”
The Flyway Since its Inception
Starting a company in 2008 after the crash was an interesting time, to say the least. Lindsay never saw himself starting a business at the bottom of a cycle, but in hindsight, it was a blessing. It allowed him to build out the businesses in a very intentional and organic way. He started with the general contracting entity.
Once this company was established and stabilized, they started making investments in emerging neighborhoods that they felt confident were poised for growth. They are a buy-and-hold developer. They buy historic buildings and land that are complicated in nature. From rehabilitation to historic tax credits and contaminated land, they needed professional services that extended beyond the scope of a typical broker. Hence, they started a real estate company. As their assets grew, they started a property management company to better serve their investors and clients. And as the scope of their development projects grew, they started a development company. Having vertically integrated the entire real estate process they are able to maintain full control of their developments in-house.
Hurdles and Innovations on the Way
Growing a business is difficult and it can be lonely at times. You are solely responsible for your team and the business is no longer about you. Communication is key. They work on this constantly. They take on difficult projects and ones that have a positive impact on the communities and neighborhoods in which we invest. There is always overwhelming support for their projects from the local communities. With so much insensitive development out there it’s nice to know that their vision is supported and that their projects will stand the test of time. Their team has also continued to open up new lines of business. The Flyway latest is a 1500-person outdoor amphitheater built into one of our mixed-use projects.
Sustainability in development and contracting has come a long way. The amount of preservation work that they do is inherently sustainable. They are taking buildings that most developers would demolish and they are retrofitting them for new use. Salvaging, reusing, and upcycling as much material as possible is a key component to maintaining an authentic product. The notion of building structures that produce more energy than they consume and consume more waste than they produce is incredible. As a company, they are not there yet, but that’s the ultimate solution.
Keeping the Team Motivated
A requirement of each team member is an entrepreneurial spirit. This, along with a model called Direct Autonomy that was adapted from Robert Waterman’s The Renewal Factor. People need to understand their roles and have the ability to execute as they see fit. This is referred to as Focused Freedom.
As a small, but growing team – culture, connection, and entrepreneurial spirit are important. Hiring the right people is so important. Lindsay didn’t always get it right, but over the years he has learned what to look for. He believes diverse teams add more value. He wants his employees to challenge him with new ideas and innovative solutions – and they do! “I couldn’t be more excited about my team and I think that enthusiasm translates to motivation”, said the leader.
Lindsay’s Journey as a Business Leader & the Current Market Landscape
“It’s a lifelong learning process. As I have aged, awareness continues to bring a greater focus on everything I do. Mind, body, and soul and have to be in alignment in order to be a successful leader”, shared the visionary.
“I’m skeptical of the overall market conditions. We’ve been on a 10 year+ bull run and it’s frothy out there. The
current conditions aren’t sustainable and our acquisitions reflect this. The land is excessively overpriced in many markets, supply chain issues are wreaking havoc on the construction industry, material pricing is high and we have a labor shortage. It’s the tail wagging the dog in many cases”, he further apprised.
Accomplishments & Milestones
Lindsay and his team continue to navigate extremely difficult projects with success. Here is the list of major milestones on the way:
- Father of 3 amazing young children
- Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Award | Excellence In Rehabilitation
- Inc. 5000 winner
- Showcased on the television show This Old House
- 11-time winner of The Carolopolis Preservation Award
- Named 50 Most Progressive in Charlie Magazine
- Charleston Project Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
“The Flyway Companies will continue to stay true to their core. Their ethos of executing creative projects that will stand the test time will always be the core focus. We like to create places where we would enjoy spending time. I’m interested in better understanding the dynamics of running an outdoor performing arts center, the value that it adds to our developments, and how we integrate this into future projects”.
Words of Wisdom
Go for it.