Ray Sedey | Crain's Denver

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Ray Sedey


Ray Sedey is regional president of McCarthy Building Companies, a nationwide general contractor that builds everything from hospitals and colleges to performing-arts centers and solar farms. Sedey has been with the employee-owned company for 18 years after following in his father’s career footsteps. Ray Sedey's job took him all over the country before he settled in Dallas.


The Mistake:

I grew up in the construction business, and it’s always been my passion. Early in my career, I was ambitious and eager to learn, which is great. But that dedication to your job often comes with a price.

Finding the right balance between working hard and having a family life can be difficult. Even in the workplace, you will miss out on so much if you always focus on that one thing and don’t look around.

I recall one job in particular where I was the project superintendent, and I became hyper-focused on one thing. We were adding three stories to the top of an existing hospital. During the day, I would oversee the construction and all the contractors. But because we were building onto the roof of the hospital, the electrical and plumbing had to tie into the existing facility. I really wasn’t familiar with that part of the job. And we did that work at night, so I would wear regular work clothes and learn about the mechanical and plumbing side of the business at night. I was even willing to get [the workers] food or do whatever was needed.

I was working day and night on this job, missing time with my family that I can’t get back.

I look back at those days now and think of everything I missed in my eagerness to get the job done. I needed to take the blinders off and look around at my work and my home life.

Don’t take on too much.

The Lesson:

Experience has made me wiser over the years. I have learned that my number one job isn’t to build buildings; it’s to build up the people around me. If you put people in the right position, you can achieve extraordinary results at work. Be good at what you do, and pass that on through peer development.

I have a wife and two boys. For my home life, I make it a point to shut off work as much as possible over the weekends so I can enjoy my time with them. Work/life balance is the popular buzzword these days, but I look at it as a work/life success. Don’t take on too much.

I think everybody goes through this learning process if they are high achievers and dedicated to their career. Now that I’m in an upper-management role, I think it’s even more important. Focus on the people around you at work and at home and you will have better success in life. Slow down and enjoy what’s around you. 

McCarthy Building Companies is on Twitter: @McCarthyBuild.

Photo courtesy of Ray Sedey

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