Chairman and founder EJ Olbright brings nearly 50 years of comprehensive experience to CFC’s leadership team. From his start in the industry in 1972, EJ has gained wide-ranging experience as a construction manager, general contractor, developer, and business leader.
EJ is a natural-born leader and entrepreneur. Since graduating high school, he has always been his own boss. By embracing opportunity and building strong, trusted relationships every step of the way, he has constructed a loyal, hard-working team that is more like a family than a company. Under EJ’s leadership, his team has created enduring relationships with CFC’s many repeat clients, as well as an extensive portfolio of more than $1.5B worth of public buildings, commercial buildings, luxury homes, and multifamily projects since 1995.
Professional and Educational Background
EJ always knew he wanted to build. The day after graduating high school, he moved to Summit County with a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a teepee he’d sewn and built himself. He lived in that teepee for two years as he established himself in the construction industry.
Success came quickly for driven, self-taught EJ. After starting out in the building trades and general construction, he moved on to building spec houses and duplexes. He founded CFC’s predecessor in 1977. EJ then established CFC — originally known as “Colorado First Construction” — in 1983. By the time he turned 25, he had served as both general contractor and developer on a series of large projects, including 500 condominium units and several office and subdivision developments. Over the next two decades, CFC completed more than 80 projects in Summit County alone. By the 1990s, EJ had succeeded in expanding CFC’s geographical footprint throughout Colorado and beyond.
CFC has weathered its share of challenges over the years, through skyrocketing interest rates, economic downturns, and changing market conditions. CFC helped many subcontractors start their businesses and survive tough times. These enduring relationships are a part of CFC’s success. By remaining nimble, changing course when needed, and staying focused on what’s best for his clients and his people, EJ has not only ensured CFC’s survival, but also its long-term success. As EJ is fond of saying — paraphrasing a favorite quote commonly attributed to Thomas Jefferson — “I am a great believer in luck, and the harder I work, the luckier I get.”
What EJ Values Most About CFC
EJ is clear that CFC puts its people first. By creating a culture based on camaraderie, collaboration, getting everyone home safe, and a true field-first focus, he has helped to build a high-performing team that consistently delivers results. He explains, “The critical component for our success is getting everyone in the canoe paddeling the same direction, with the same goals.”
Further supporting CFC’s family-first ideology, EJ has established the core belief that, “What’s more important than growth is doing things right. Meeting our collective goals. Those goals aren’t just about making money. They’re also about lifestyle balance, taking care of our families, and collectively getting what we want out of our lives.” EJ’s “four simple things” philosophy sums it up best: “Be safe, do good work, make some money, and have some fun.”
A long-time supporter of youth sports and scholarships, EJ is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mile High Youth Corps and is recognized in the Founding Circle. EJ is on the Board of Directors of the Vail Pass Task Force, and oversees the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area in concert with the United States Forest Service. He’s also on the Board of the Willow Brook Metro District. EJ is an avid traveler who has explored destinations across the globe. A Colorado native, he annually spends as much time as possible out on the slopes. Whether heli-skiing in Alaska or snowcat skiing in Summit County, he’s skied more powder than most. Of course, EJ also loves spending time with his kids, grandkids, and Sandy, his wife of 40 years.