He’s at the top of one of the most well-known homebuilder names and now Chairman, CEO and President of Hovnanian Enterprises Ara Hovnanian is talking to Liz Claman about surviving the volatile market.
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Claman: When I look at your success, I think to myself, “It has been a rocky road,” particularly over the past couple of years with the housing implosion. What was the number one characteristic you feel you had that got you through a very tough stretch of time?
Hovnanian: Oh boy, perseverance. Luckily, the company has a great financial foundation that helped weather us through, but perseverance and willingness to work as hard as it took.
Claman: Was it scary?
Hovnanian: It was scary. There were definitely moments. I mean, this downturn has been unprecedented. Since World War II, this country has not seen housing starts this low. We weren’t prepared for it, but we got through it.
Claman: Well your father founded the company. He was an Armenian immigrant but came from Baghdad. What is that special something you feel you were able to glean from it? Because you could have been the son of a rich man, because he did eventually become quite successful.
Hovnanian: Well, Armenians are survivors and I guess that was part of it. And I have a son that’s interested and hopefully he’ll be the third generation as well coming up from school.
Claman: We wish him and you luck. Thank you so much! Ara Hovnanian in the Suite Spot.