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Jef Forward

Head Coach, Forward Design Build Remodel

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Industry Experience: 27 years
Roundtables Member: 15 years
RAR Facilitator Since: 2021

Jef Forward

Surround yourself with great people, and remind yourself it's not about you; it's about them. Help them succeed. It is the foundation of a great culture and a great business.

Areas of Expertise


Professional background

I am a degreed Architect with a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan. I paid my way through college by running a small deck-building business. I also joined the Marine Corps Reserves and benefited greatly from the G.I. Bill. This took me ten years, so you can see I am persistent.

I started the design-build business in 1997 and immediately struggled to make money and live a balanced life. I had many moments of “what the hell am I doing?”. However, I loved the people connection, the process, and the product. I was hooked. I eventually found Remodelers Advantage and started on my journey to learning about the business and my numbers. I was determined to be successful, and RA has helped me keep my fire burning ever stronger. I have been through every level with Remodelers Advantage.

During my early years, I also met my wife, Monica. She has contributed significantly over the years, first as a sounding board, then as a bookkeeper, estimator, and now our General Manager.

Over time, I embraced the concept of people and culture. Our team culture is very near and dear to my heart. It is the only reason our company survived a serious Cancer diagnosis with my wife. Monica is in remission and doing very, very well.

My most significant focus over the last five years has been building leaders, and the reward is witnessing people grow in our company. To that end, I have successfully replaced myself in the business and have only worked on what I genuinely enjoy.

Today, we are a company with engaged and curious people, consistently hitting our net profit goals and growth targets. We focus on design-build remodeling and custom homes.

Personal Life

Happily and eagerly married with three children. I got a late start with my family, but so happy I did; my kids keep me young, and my wife keeps me laughing.

This sounds corny, but I enjoy learning and working on myself, which is not always fun or easy.

For fun, I play hockey every week of the year and also enjoy golf, skiing, and boating. In addition, I love to spend our summers at the lake cottage.


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