In a previous post, I mentioned the bankruptcy case of Atlanta builder/developer Stephen Macauley. See also this post about his business partner Brian Jordan.
Macauley filed a Chapter 7 petition reflecting that he had $131 million in personal debt, ,uch of which was business related debt. In a follow-up article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle entitled "Builder’s Bankruptcy Was ‘Greatest Learning Experience,’" by Maria Saporta, Macauley discusses the bankruptcy experience. Here are some highlights –
“This was the greatest learning experience of my career,” Macauley said. “I’m really glad I’ve gone through this. I have a lot more empathy for people of lesser means than I did before.” … “What was amazing was how fast all of it started to crash,” Macauley said. “I still believed I could get through anything. But there was a point at the end of the first quarter when I realized that there was just no way.”…
Macauley talked about all the emotions he’s gone through as he’s watched his business shrivel away. He has sought comfort among other home builders who are facing similar challenges with their companies. “If this had happened to just me, I would have felt like a failure,” Macauley said. “None of the home builders saw this coming. Nobody expected this devastation. It was very hard. But I came to realize as more time went on that this wasn’t my doing. This is a total, comprehensive collapse of an industry.”
The experience also showed him what was really important — family, friends and faith, a realization that he said sounds so trite but is really true. He has become more engaged with his wife, Lucy, and his three children who are between the ages of 3 and 7.