President of construction, Value Place
Strawn has seen the construction services division he heads grow from two to 11 employees since starting at Value Place in late 2010.
“That's all based on what we’re doing as a company overall,” he said of the Wichita-based chain of extended-stay properties and short-term apartments.
Strawn grew up on a farm near Holton, north of Topeka. He initially planned to study civil engineering at Kansas State University but found the math and physics required a little daunting.
“I had a good buddy of mine say, ‘You ought to check out construction science and management,’ ” Strawn said of the major in which he earned his degree. “I just wasn’t aware there was such as a program.”
As it turned out, “It was a better fit for me. I’m kind of a hands-on guy.”
Strawn worked his way up in the construction business, serving as estimator, superintendent, project manager, account manager, vice president of operations and eventually president of operations at Key Construction.
Currently, he said, Value Place has five new corporate-owned hotels under construction and another dozen in development. Another 26 corporate-owned sites are expected to undergo renovation this year.
Strawn also works with hotels owned by franchisees, making site visits to ensure quality control and to offer help as needed. Started in 2003 by Jack DeBoer, the chain had 186 properties by the end of last year.
The volume of work “makes Value Place an exciting place to be right now,” he said.
Strawn and his wife, Sherri, have three children – Reed, 17; Jessica, 15; and Gavin, 11.
In addition to woodworking, he said he enjoys hunting, fishing and “anything outdoors related.”