Employee Spotlight | James Hewatt

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

James Hewatt

Founder & CEO, MRN Contracting

James W. Hewatt comes from a family deeply rooted in Gwinnett County and currently resides in Monroe GA. James has worked in the real estate, mortgage and construction industry for over 20 years. 

James embodies family values of honor, trustworthiness and integrity, and he has established MRN Contracting with those core values at its foundation. He constantly strives to not only offer wisdom and support, but to always do the right thing. When asked to think of the first couple of words that come to mind when thinking of James, his employees describe him to be inspiring and compassionate, reliable and honest, caring and persistent, ‘a big teddy bear,’ generous and competitive, and above all, passionate. Passion to grow, to succeed, to give back, to mentor, and to provide for his family—both immediate and MRN.

Where are you from?

Snellville, GA

Where did you go to school?

South Gwinnett High School Truett McConnell University | GA Southwestern University

What is your role with MRN?

Technically, I would be considered the Owner & CEO. However, I deem my most important roles at MRN to resemble that of a friend, encourager, and above all, an example. I aim to emphasize my mistakes in an attempt to teach young adults the meaning of hard work—to ultimately change their lives. 

Tell us about your history / experience with MRN? What led you to this industry? What was the key defining moment that led you to start MRN? 

I’ve worked in the real estate, mortgage and construction industry for over 20 years. In 2001, I was appointed CEO of a Georgia Fidelity Mortgage company—which grew to be twice as big as MRN Contracting today. Unaware that my life was about to change drastically, I was boastful of my success. But in 2007, Fidelity Mortgage crashed, and I lost everything. In an attempt to bounce back, I joined another mortgage company—until the stock market crashed just one year later. I grew tired of failure and accepted my place in life—working for pennies, I lost all motivation to provide for my family. I took up work installing roofs, cleaning houses, and digging ditches.

In 2013, I received news that my Great Aunt had only a few days left. I’ll never forget what she said to me right before she passed. 

“Jamie, you need to straighten up. You’re better than this.” 

It was at that moment, I decided my way of living was not a life at all, and it was time for change. Shortly thereafter, I founded MRN Homes of GA, LLC. Starting out with only two employees, a 20 x 20 office, and a whole lot of determination, MRN Contracting became what it is today.

What led you to name the company MRN?

As a husband and father of 3, I pride myself on family and hoped to create a business that runs on family values of honor, trustworthiness and integrity. Which is why the name of my business came easy to me. My proudest title in life will never be CEO or owner, but Dad. Which led me to name the company after my three daughters—Maddy, Riley and Natalie.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? 

My Great Aunt was a big influence on my life. At the age of thirteen, during the Great Depression, her family was no longer able to provide for her. Determined to no longer be a burden, she walked from Kennesaw to Atlanta and found work at a cotton mill. However many years later, she found herself as the head of a department at Walton Manufacturing. 

In addition to showing me the meaning of hard work, she, along with my Mom and Dad, taught me to always do the right thing, to never give up, to always treat people with respect, and with that attitude, I could do anything I set my mind to.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?   

Failure is not defined by material losses, but by giving up. So long as you never give up, hold on to what matters most, and treat people as you wish to be treated, you will never fail. 

Tell us your "Why" – What motivates you?

My beautiful wife, Shannon, and my amazing daughters are my biggest motivators. Through all the good times and bad, Shannon stuck with me. She believed in me, supported me, and loved me unconditionally. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her love and loyalty. As for my daughters, well... let’s just say they’ve taught me a lot. 

At the beginning of each morning, you send an inspiring message to your company that always ends with "Be productive and positive today. Go win the day! Be fearless and stay focused!" Why these words and what do you want the takeaway from your employees to be after reading this?

Every day for as long as I can remember, I held onto those very words for my own motivation. I’m not afraid to speak on my mistakes, because they led me to where I am today. A productive and positive mindset will only set you up for success. Living your life one day at a time, unafraid of what’s to come tomorrow, will allow you to devote yourself to the present—and ultimately, win the day.  I hope to teach my employees that they can accomplish anything with the right mindset, and to remember—there is no place in this world for negativity. 

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