Darren Johnson – River City Six
Meet Darren Johnson, founder and co-owner of Exterior Options (exterioroptionsomaha.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
I started Exterior Options in 2003, and it has grown to be one of the most trusted general contracting companies in the Omaha area. We recently merged with a couple other subcontractors and constructing firms to strengthen the scope of services we provide our customers. Exterior Options has built an amazing team of about 40–50 full-time employees and subcontractors who carry out roofing, siding, windows, decks, and home remodeling projects with integrity and precision.
How did you get started in the business?
I grew up in a construction environment. I’m a fifth generation craftsmen and the youngest of four boys, all of whom have also become carpenters or pursued a career in construction. I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. In 2000, I left the family business and moved to Omaha to start my own business.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Merging with three other entrepreneurs. We’ve really had to figure out what our roles are in order to work together in the most efficient way. There have definitely been growing pains, but it’s been worth it because we are building something great.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Operating a mid-sized business on my own for 17 years without one call to the Better Business Bureau, maintaining a perfecting 5-star rating. In my industry, that is hard to achieve.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have a wife, three teenage kids, three dogs, and two cats. We all have different personalities, but we are close because we believe it is important to support each other.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Becoming a father. I used to be content with just swinging a hammer, but then I became a dad and my entire outlook on life changed.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
My sons play baseball, and I love watching their games. We’re also building a pool in our backyard right now so soon I’ll be able to add “hang by the pool” to this answer.
Who inspires you?
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Success is a journey, not a destination.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
If I had the resources, I’d get into real estate development. I’m a visionary, and I believe I have the ability to take something that is run down and turn it into something that would help take our city to the next level.
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Habitat for Humanity. We donate a lot of work towards their projects because we believe in using our industry skills to give back to the community.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Mangia Italiana. They have the best Italian food in Nebraska and also happen to be right across the street from our office.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?