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Gregory Design Build Makes Fastest 50 Fifth Time

By Harold Nedd, via Pacific Business News (Honolulu). All rights reserved.
Like real estate, John Gregory has been unstoppable in Oahu's home-building industry.

His company, Gregory Design Build Inc., has made PBN's Fastest 50 list five years in a row.

So, what's keeping his company strong?

Look no further than Merrill Lynch's survey showing that the number of millionaires in the U.S. jumped a staggering 14 percent last year. Gregory's company custom-builds homes for people in that income bracket.

On Oahu, the price of his homes can range from $1.5 million to $10 million.

But money is only part of what keeps the 45-year-old builder motivated.

"When the owner comes to me and says, 'This is looking beautiful,' that's what keeps you motivated," Gregory said. "That's what keeps you wanting to do it."

Last year, his company's revenues climbed to $4.6 million, which was $316,326 more than the year before and $1.1 million more than the year before that.

Architect Philip "Pip" White offers a simple explanation for Gregory's success.

"One of the key things in business -- period -- is honesty and integrity," White said. "He's honest and he has integrity. He treats an owner fairly."

Those traits have kept Gregory on White's short list of builders.

He's made an impression on clients, too.

Al Masini, former television producer and creator of shows such as "Star Search," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "Entertainment Tonight," once told PBN that he was so pleased with Gregory's work on his first home in Hawaii that he turned to him for a second home.

Gregory has aimed to please.

"In this market, it's all about what the owner wants," Gregory said. "And it's usually different things. Most owners have an idea of what they want."

For that reason, Gregory builds only two homes a year. It allows him to pay close attention to those details.

"You're going to get a quality home design," he said. "I try to make it as easy as possible for an owner. I don't make it difficult for them."

Gregory moved to Hawaii in 1986, working in landscaping architecture before turning to contracting in 1990.

He started his business with $2,000 of his own money. And he's never had more than three employees.

Today, his company is No. 43 on PBN's Fastest 50 list for 2004 because of personal drive and ambition.

"I was doing landscape design when I first moved to Hawaii," Gregory said. "Working around those beautiful homes, I realized that I wanted to do more than just the landscaping."