Honoree Headshot

Mike Stafford

Chief Financial Officer
LGE/Creation

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Founded: 1994
Industry: Construction/Development

Mike Stafford likens his business approach to signing up for an Ironman triathlon with no marathon, swimming or road biking experience. Chase things out of your comfort zone, he said.

Only in this case, Stafford actually did sign up for that Ironman with zero race experience.

“Even though (the Ironman) terrified me, I now compete in one annually,” he said. “Professionally, this translated to when I left a larger, publicly traded corporation to lead a smaller, privately held company. This reaffirmed for me that when you chase things that put you out of your comfort zone, it leads to professional and personal growth, and I hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Stafford serves as chief financial officer for LGE Design Build, a design-build construction firm with a reputation built on 28 years of experience. LGE started with the idea of streamlining the design and construction process with a “single source” controlling the upfront design, specification detailing, entitlement process and all the details of construction.

Stafford joined LGE in 2017 as controller. He restructured the monthly close process and overhauled the payroll platform and company compensation and benefit plans. He also upgraded accounting systems to get better visibility into the company’s financials. After just one year, he was promoted to the role of Chief Financial Officer.

Since Stafford joined the company, LGE’s top-line performance has more than doubled while the company’s balance sheet and working capital have strengthened. Stafford helped launch Creation in 2019, an affiliated hospitality and development platform that owns the real estate developments that LGE designs and builds. Having architecture, construction and development under one roof sets LGE apart from the majority of its competitors.

Due in part to Stafford’s leadership, LGE has grown from $70 million in 2017 to $325 million in 2022. The company has grown from 40 employees to nearly 100 today. And Stafford was an important part of opening a new company headquarters in Phoenix, expanding LGE’s market footprint into Texas and launching a custom home division in Phoenix.

In the coming years, LGE aims to expand its geographic footprint throughout the Southwest while continuing to be a leader in industrial and mixed-use developments across Phoenix. “LGE is optimistic that by 2024, the organization can achieve a $750 million business plan,” the company said.

“Mike is a clear titan for not only his entrepreneurial spirit, his success as a leader, but also for his genuine human decency and care for those he works with,” his team said. “Mike has a unique way of bringing monetary success and expansion to the business while also making each employee feel valued and appreciated.”

Presented by:

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Honoree Fun fact

When he isn’t at work, he loves to travel with his wife and 3 kids. If not traveling, you will find Mike coaching basketball or enjoying the Arizona outdoors. Mike has coached youth basketball throughout Phoenix for the past 10 years for his son and nephew from K-8th grade. Mike has a passion for fitness and competition. He competes annually in numerous obstacle courses (Spartan) and Ironman races across the Southwest.

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