15 Mar HiFive Featured in LEAD Magazine
HiFive Development Services, Inc. was recently highlighted in the brand new magazine, LEAD Cincinnati: The Publication for Business Executives.
There are many reasons entrepreneurs start a business. Increased income, schedule freedom, or maybe just to launch an idea. This wasn’t the case when Mark Davis, CEO, and Brian Zilch, president, founded HiFive Development Services in 2001.
“It was Brian’s idea,” says Davis. “He kept telling me that we can do things better, not just the way we do business, but we can do good things in the community. Really good things.”
It took years for the idea to take root. Both Davis and Zilch had worked decades for other local developers and had developed a close relationship working together for eight years between ’93 and 2001.
“We finally decided to begin HiFive and 30 days later, someone decided to fly a plane into the World Trade Center. An event like that will really cause you to reset your expectations and what it means to be part of your community,” Davis says.
When asked where the name “HiFive” came from, Zilch says, “A well-heeled friend in the business community caught wind we were starting a new venture. He asked if he might be part of it and offered to be a silent partner. We very politely declined … but in gracefully bowing out he offered, ‘You guys need to name yourselves High Five … it looks like you’re always having fun!’ ”
For Davis and Zilch, the most important thing is to create a firm that provides every service that a client would need, ensuring a consistent experience in every aspect of building.
“What makes us really different from others in the business world is that we are so vertically integrated, which is a huge deal,” Davis says. “Very few organizations can offer architecture, engineering, financing
and construction in the same office. Our designers and architects are sitting 10 feet away from our engineers and project managers.”
While the concept is important to Davis’ and Zilch’s business plans, what is even more important is their dedication to community service. “At the end of the day, what matters is what we give back,” says Davis.
“We donate about half of our net income every year back to the community. Nobody does that.”
Anthony Muñoz, NFL Hall of Famer and founder of the Anthony Muñoz Foundation (AMF) says of HiFive, “For them, I know it’s not about notoriety, it’s not about temporary gratification … it’s about impacting people.”
Mark Householder, President of Athletes in Action (AIA), a global organization spreading Christianity through sport says, “The one word I think of when it comes to HiFive and generosity is ‘large.’ ”
HiFive has been a primary sponsor of AIA’s “Night of Champions.” “Even during the recession when everyone was just trying to survive, we did not stop our giving,” says Zilch. “Everyone in the company understood what we were doing and joined in …That’s something we are very proud of.”
Davis and Zilch take great pride in creating lasting relationships with those organizations with whom they partner. In addition to AIA and AMF, other partners are Cincinnati Christian University, where Davis is on the President’s Advisory Board, Little Miami School District, where HiFive raised funds and is name sponsor of HiFive Field, River Hills Christian Church, where Davis is a Trustee and sponsor of their annual Golf Classic, which raises funds for ministry.
Cincinnati Christian University recently honored Davis at its Salute to Leaders event at the Manor House in Mason. University President Dr. David Faust said, “HiFive has been a great help in the development of our 10-year master plan and helped us to chop several million dollars off the projected cost in the years ahead.”
Jeff Metzger, Senior Pastor and founder of River Hills, offers, “In the case of relationship with HiFive, we feel like we are the lucky ones.”
Davis, Zilch and the rest of their team have managed to remain strong through the weak economy because of the dedication and enthusiasm they have for their work and their community.
“We call it good stewardship,” says Zilch. “Our clients are a diverse group, but they are all united in their appreciation of quality work and community involvement.”
In fact, according to Davis, of all the projects HiFive has under contract, including prospects, 50 percent of clients are repeat business and 50 percent are new.
“It’s a great balance,” Zilch says. “That’s why in this economy, we’re here and other companies are not; we have a good relationship with our clients … a big part of our business plan is to take care of them.”
“What’s really a great balance,” says Davis, “is the balance between Brian and me. He’s the right brain to my left brain. I think in big, fuzzy graphic dreams … Brian lives in the real world and makes those things happen. Without him, we would have been out of business a long time ago. I get a lot of the credit for HiFive’s involvement in the community, but without Brian, none of it would be possible.
“At the end of the day, it’s really great to sit on a couch, light up a good cigar and talk about all the good fortune we’ve had, the great people we’ve been blessed to know and what we’ve left behind.