Stiles Corp. Has Big Plans Under New Leaders

Ken Stiles grew up visiting construction sites where his father built massive office parks, then as a teenager worked summers with the landscaping team keeping Stiles Corp.'s properties well-manicured. Now, Terry Stiles is passing the CEO title to his son, making him the boss of some veteran employees who have been with the company since he was in diapers.

"Ken has one of the toughest jobs here," said Terry Stiles, 68, the co-CEO and chairman of the Fort Lauderdale-based company. "They knew him when he was playing with G.I. Joes in an elevator."

Ken Stiles, 35, joined the development firm 11 years ago and became co-CEO in summer 2015, at the same time Stiles Corp. promoted Scott MacLaren to president and shifted longtime President Doug Eagon to vice chair. Ken Stiles will take over the full CEO job in mid-2017.

Both men represent the younger generation of leadership at the firm, which has developed over 43 million square feet. This family-owned business has 34 employees who have been there for more than 20 years, so they remember their new bosses when they were still wet behind the ears. It's now the young executives' job to take the company — which built much of Las Olas Boulevard, the first office park in Cypress Creek and the Sawgrass International Park of Commerce — into the future.

Like numerous other businesses, many South Florida developers have groomed their children to take over their companies, including The Related Group and Terra Group, both based in Miami, and Turnberry Associates in Aventura.

"There are a lot of people I grew up looking up to, and I stepped into the executive role, so it was complicated," Ken Stiles said. "How do you tread water and earn respect? It took a few years. A lot of it was many years of listening, not speaking out."

Stiles Corp. has about 345 employees after growing by 40 in 2015, and it plans to hire more as it pursues a handful of major projects in South Florida and several other southern cities. But before Terry Stiles started building towers, he was happy just to put up a front door.