Top 50

Top 50: Moving (Heaven) and Earth

by Patrick Flanagan

Even when Floyd Degueyter is on "vacation" he's hard at work.

Photo by Travis Gauthier

Floyd Degueyter

No. 32

Even when Floyd Degueyter is on "vacation" he's hard at work. When ABiz caught up with the CEO of CLM Equipment by phone, he was aboard his 62-foot Sunseeker docked at Baytowne Marina at Sandestin Resort on the Florida Panhandle taking a break from networking and glad-handing at a builders convention.

CLM sells and leases heavy construction equipment. Those builders need to move a lot of earth before they can build. Degueyter goes to lengths to make sure they know it.

"I always look at job sites and if I don't see some of our equipment I certainly try to find out why and make sure our team members are out there," says the energetic 67-year-old who was one of the first three employees of CLM when it opened in 1966 - the company name was originally short for its founders, Crouchet, Lee and Marmonde - before working his way up to president and part owner by 26 and full owner by 34.

Now, says Degueyter, the company's letters denote his management team's motto: Create, Lead and Motivate. With 95 employees at five stores spanning from Houston in the west through corporate headquarters in Broussard and east to Biloxi, CLM has become in nearly 48 years a regional dealer of such brands as Case, Kobelco, Kawasaki and Link-Belt. And although he's just beginning to consider a succession plan over the next three to five years, Degueyter remains a hands-on owner.

"I'm fairly healthy, young at heart and I enjoy working; it's my passion to see my team motivated and I make sure I'm there," he says. "I feel my job as CEO is to challenge them, to motive them, encourage and support them."