/ Entrepreneurship

When School Development Reaches A HighMark

Where else can you create benefits for partners and benefit kids?

There are approximately 32,000 students learning in a HighMark school today. HighMark is a real estate development company that focuses on education facilities. Company CEO Glenn Hileman describes HighMark as “turnkey developers,” meaning the company provides ground up construction, helps with financing, and serves as landlord. “We provide all the capacity necessary to provide schools the ability to educate all their students,” Hileman says. The company currently operates in seventeen states and has sixteen projects in development, with more in the works. Educators can rely on HighMark to have their school completed on time and at an affordable price. “Having the ability to control the schedule, deliver consistent product on time and under budget is what we strive for,” Hileman says.

In 2008, HighMark founder and then CEO introduced Hileman to the company. The founder wanted to expand HighMark nationally, and knew he needed help with sales and marketing. With twenty years of marketing experience, Hileman was more than qualified for the job. So he followed the excitement of entrepreneurship and left the security of his corporate assignment to join HighMark in Salt Lake City.

By late 2010, despite a successful private equity investment, HighMark suffered from leadership challenges, cultural issues, and a difficult lending environment. In early January 2011, Glenn was informed that the company would be closing and he was instructed to wind down operations. Instead of following those instructions, Glenn immediately began leveraging his passion for the work and contacting his network of prospective partners. Hileman then approached investors with a new, better path and different way of doing business. He found investors that had an interest in education and pockets deep enough to fund 10–20 schools a year. Hileman became CEO and relaunched the company in 2011. Hileman continues to lead the company today.

“While we’ve had success, that success has brought success to partners across the country,” Hileman says. “There are a lot of entities that have benefited as a result of our success.” In turn, those benefited entities benefit students. “Where else can you create benefits for partners and benefit kids?” Hileman asks. Where else indeed.

Hileman is an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. He and the other finalists will be recognized and the 2016 winners will be announced at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Gala Saturday, June 4, at the Grand America Hotel. If you’re interested in attending, you can purchase tickets here.

Published 5/18/2016