Donald Klein, president, Chesmar Homes Ltd.

Consumer Products & Services, Finalist
Donald Klein had been leading the home building industry at large national homebuilders for more than 27 years when he decided in 2005 that it was time to do so under his own terms — creating Chesmar Homes Ltd. as a vehicle for realizing his vision.
In the seven years since, Klein has led by example as company president, which to him means exuding an entrepreneurial spirit that shines brightly enough that others can feed off of it.
Klein lets his team know through words and examples that it is OK to fail as long as you learn from those failures. He doesn’t dwell on failures, instead using them as teaching points on future decisions.
Klein also strives to be fair and open with employees. He believes fairness and openness in all aspects of the business is the key to ensuring happy and knowledgeable employees, which translates to the manner in which the company’s employees manage relationships with customers.
In particular, he emphasizes strong leadership of his management team. Klein understands the importance of building and maintaining a quality management team and giving them the ability to lead their areas. His management team consists of people he had previous experience with in the industry. He hired them because of their level of engagement and drive to excel, and as such, he expects them to lead their areas in a manner that allows Chesmar to differentiate itself from its competitors.
In that spirit, the management team will often take calculated chances in its business decisions, which will sometimes lead to failures. But the team has taken Klein’s philosophy on learning from failure to heart, and it allows them to succeed in their roles.
How to reach: Chesmar Homes Ltd.,