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Today Ted speaks with Matthew Riley, CEO of Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild, a premier provider of fine interior woodwork and finishes that was founded in 1991 by Matt’s father, Tom, as a four-person woodworking company. Today, Tom serves as the company’s Chairman in while his other son, Ben, serves as COO.

Matthew’s father says, “His mission for this company was to create a place where brilliantly talented people could come together and do what they love to do—and he was the orchestra leader.

That theme of cultural harmony permeates the entirety of Thomas Riley today. Matt speaks on the collaborative environment he, Tom, and Ben continue to foster within the company demonstrated, for instance, by their team’s 7 A.M. huddle that they have stuck to every single Monday and Friday, year after year in Naples.

thomas-riley-artisans-guild-naples-florida
Thomas Riley Artisans' Guild

The Rileys are also committed to being the example for their team in both good times and bad. Matt recalls Ben and himself putting their paychecks on hold in 2009 amid the challenges brought about by the Great Recession, and then having their own staff volunteering to cut their own pay in order to help keep the company afloat.

Finally, Matt discusses his excitement for the future of the company and his eagerness to continually raise the bar by being unafraid to embrace risks when doing business. In Matt’s own words: “Nothing great happens without taking some risks.”

Topics Discussed

  • [02:33] The story behind Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild
  • [12:42] What Matt has learned from working with their clients
  • [17:00] What Matt learned from his time as an ironworker in Jacksonville
  • [23:57] Dealing with fluctuating capture rates
  • [27:47] Why Tom named Matt CEO and his brother Ben as COO
  • [36:13] The future of Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild
  • [38:13] Being responsible for 70 families
  • [40:42] What Matt is most proud of
  • [43:52] Matt’s ten-year plan for the business
  • [47:48] What Matt loves about Naples

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Key Quotes from Episode

  • There’s an apostrophe in Artisans’, and it’s after the “s”, because it wasn’t [my father’s] place. Maybe he was the namesake of it, but it was about the team. Nothing’s changed. The mission he wrote on the napkin hasn’t changed in 30 years.
  • It’s easy to run your business in the tough times because you know the decisions you have to make. When times are good, it’s very easy to slack off.
  • Ultimately, I make the final decisions; but, we’ve intentionally built an environment where people are empowered to help us make decisions together. So, it’s a team effort the whole way. That helps me sleep at night.
  • If there’s no risk involved, it’s probably not something we should do, because nothing great happens without taking some risks.

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