The Crawford Model
The Crawford Model is a five-step process to financial success with proven results. The first step is making the right investment decisions, which is a critical part of the model. The second step is making the right deal on the right terms. They believe the most important step, step three, is identifying, recruiting or retaining the right management team.
The fourth step is executing the right business plan. The final step is choosing the right time to sell and maximize their investment. The Crawford Group has the patience and experience to sell their investments to the right people at the right time in order to create the most value for all involved.
Creating Value. Valuing People.
The Crawford Group is a diversified holding company based in Naples, Florida, engaged in a variety of businesses with the common theme of creating value. The blueprint to their success, The Crawford Model, is the process by which Richard Crawford and his partners have taken dozens of companies to the next level and financial success for over 40 years. Though the process seems logical and even simple at first glance, The Crawford Group’s ability to execute and replicate the steps in a disciplined manner has consistently created value for these companies.
The Crawford Group believes that there are two fundamental truths in the business world. First, the basic principles of business are essentially the same in all businesses. Whether the field is manufacturing, construction, real estate, healthcare, energy or distribution, the fundamentals of business do not change. The second truth is that people determine the success or failure of a business. The certainty their experience has revealed is the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful business is the quality of the people managing it. The Crawford Group attributes much of their success and versatility to the understanding of these two principles.
Richard S. Crawford
Chairman and CEO
With over 50-years of entrepreneurial experience in starting, acquiring and operating successful businesses in diverse industries, Richard Crawford demonstrates a consistent track record of success. Named Michigan’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995, Richard has spent his career recognizing and creating value in businesses and real estate throughout the world through valuing people. In 1967, while still a student at the University of Michigan, Richard’s career began when he launched his first successful start-up.
He grew from that start-up to encompassing real estate investments, business turnarounds, and manufacturing, construction and technology companies. He has operated businesses in both the private as well as the public sector and partnered with such well-known firms as Bain Capital and Credit Suisse. As a consultant, Richard’s experience stretches across several businesses and governments. In 1988, he acquired his first manufacturing business and soon thereafter added 13 more manufacturers, growing revenues from $4.5 million to over $650 million before selling the group of companies.
Throughout his career, Richard has completed 86 real estate developments around the world. He has been a licensed builder and construction contractor for decades, building several thousand single and multi-family homes and numerous industrial, retail and office buildings. Richard has also owned over 61 companies to date, including one of the Midwest’s largest structural steel contractors, one of Michigan and Florida’s largest commercial landscape contractors as well as Arizona’s and New Mexico’s largest highway paving contractor. Currently, he continues to grow his portfolio of companies under The Crawford Group.
Stretching over 40 years, The Crawford Group is involved in entrepreneurial endeavors in a vast variety of industries, with a focus on manufacturing of innovative technology and electronics, healthcare, distribution, investment management and real estate development. The Crawford Group partners with businesses of all sizes, from traditional family-owned shops to some of the largest private equity firms and banks in the world.
Along with his business accomplishments, supporting charitable causes has been important to Richard. In 2001, he established the Brett Bentley Crawford Foundation, a foundation in the name of his late daughter. It provides scholarships and awards programs at the schools she attended as well as others. Since the inception, the foundation has supported numerous education related causes in Michigan and Florida. Most recently, it financed the construction of five new schools in Nicaragua, which are now providing an education for over 2,000 students who would otherwise have had no opportunity to attend school.
Chief Financial Officer
With almost thirteen years of accounting, tax planning and research experience, Jessica Merrill, CPA, provides valuable insight to the entities of The Crawford Group. Previously, Jessica worked for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP where she concentrated her expertise with family owned businesses, trusts, high net-worth individuals and local not-for-profit organizations. As a Manager for the top 10 national accounting firm, Jessica provided audit and assurance work, internal consulting, budget analysis, and tax planning and compliance projects. She successfully implemented the Kaizen management approach and was responsible for training staff and rolling out new office technologies.
Jessica graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelors in Accounting and a year later she received her Masters in Accounting and Taxation. She is a member of AICPA and FICPA and continues to be an active member of local not-for-profit organizations in the community
Blake S. Crawford
A native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Blake Crawford discovered his passion for entrepreneurial endeavors while he was a junior in high school. By the time he was a junior in high school, he had founded his own business, Crawford‐ Mourad Landscaping. When he sold the company to enter Hope College in Holland, Mich. in 1991, it had over 40 clients and was producing revenues in excess of $5,000 per month. Following college, Crawford returned to Detroit to work in the automotive industry for 15 years. While there he worked his way up to Director of Marketing at Cambridge Industries, a $500 million automotive supplier headquartered in Detroit.
Following his time in the automotive industry, Blake founded Crawford Management Group, a Detroit‐based real estate management company. In just three years, the company grew to manage 2,300 apartment units in Bloomington, Indiana, Tallahassee and Orlando, Florida. The company also managed several commercial and industrial properties throughout the midwest and Florida, including the Fifth Third Center, one of Collier County’s largest commercial buildings.
Blake’s interest in Florida’s potential in many business arenas resulted in his relocation to Naples in 2004. That same year Blake founded Crawford Landscaping Group and has grown it to be one of the largest landscape companies in southwest Florida. He currently serves as the CEO focusing on the company’s strategic vision and enhancing its quality operating systems.
Currently Blake sits on the Board of Directors of The Crawford Group advising the company on strategic planning and business development. A graduate of Hope College, Blake resides in Naples, Florida, where he enjoys golfing, tennis, volunteering at St. Matthews House, and spending time with his family.