John Rupe Jr., 44, is CEO and founder of Rupe Helmer Group, which has specialized in construction, development, brokerage and property management since 2002. He also is principal of NAI Rupe Helmer and a licensed real estate broker in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The company’s portfolio includes the 19-story Remington Tower, 5810 E. Skelly Drive, which the firm’s development arm purchased three years ago. Since then, the office building has expanded its occupancy rate from 49 to 89 percent.
A graduate of Arizona State University, Rupe is a member of several organizations, including Young Presidents Organization, American Institute of Architects, Associated Builders and Contractors and Associated General Contractors. Rupe also serves on the board of the Salvation Army, Tulsa Community College Foundation and the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.
1. Rupe Building Co. recently announced that it was changing its corporate name to Rupe Helmer Group. What were the factors behind that decision?
The name change reflects a partnership between me, the CEO and founder of Rupe Building Co., and company president and longtime friend Mark Helmer. The new name is also part of a rebranding initiative to better align our company’s name with its broad offerings, including commercial construction, development, real estate brokerage and property management.
Together, we work as a team toward the common goal of making our organization even better. It was a logical move in the right direction to merge our talents as the two principals of the company. As we grow the business, we are both jointly focused on building an organization that will continue to thrive for many years to come.
2. Rupe Helmer Group focuses on construction, development, brokerage and property management. What are the keys to success when such a broad range of services is provided?
The decision to offer multiple services was an easy decision for us. As we grew, we realized our clients wanted and needed to simplify the process.
The answer for us was to offer turn-key services. We’re successful because we understand a project from start to finish and get involved in more than one facet of an organization. We like to think of ourselves as more of a business partner.
Whether it’s commercial construction, development, brokerage or property management, the entire team at Rupe Helmer Group works together to achieve the same goal. Our experience has proven time and time again that the process simply works better and flows seamlessly when you have one company overseeing the project as a whole. It adds value for our clients.
3. You majored in political science at Arizona State University and worked for a congressman for a while in Washington, D.C. How did you become interested in politics and has that interest grown or waned over the years?
I became interested in politics during the 1992 presidential election between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot and decided to major in political science at ASU. After I graduated, I was offered a job working for a congressman in Washington, D.C., through a contact I made at college. I worked for the congressman for two years, had a great time and learned a ton, but decided I wanted to make a career change and got into construction, which then lead to development and real estate.
4. What was the low point during your entrepreneurial career and how did you recover?
Every successful business person has had a low point along the way. In my opinion, it’s those low or stressful moments in life that make us who we are.
That said, I consider myself to be a very optimistic person. I’ve tried to focus on the teaching moments life has thrown my way. It’s in those moments that I have learned some very valuable lessons — both as a business owner and personally. I am grateful for the hurdles that have enabled me to grow — and my business to thrive.
5. How do you blow off steam away from the board room?
At Rupe Helmer Group, we are very focused on family. We’re constantly stressing to our team members that family comes first. We encourage a healthy work and home life balance because we know it lends to increased productivity.
I follow that same philosophy. I enjoy spending time with my 15-year-old twin boys, Grant and Griffin, and my fiancée, Stephanie. We love boating at Grand Lake, traveling and spending time with friends. An active lifestyle is simply part of who we are. And for me, that’s really the best way to blow off steam at the end of a hard week.