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Concept Companies: Cutting-Edge Growth with Responsible Leadership

Concept Companies: Cutting-Edge Growth with Responsible Leadership

In today’s dramatically changing landscape, commercial real estate is a key component of the economy, defining and redefining the economic landscapes of communities. Like many sectors in today’s business world, commercial real estate is in a constant state of evolution, requiring agility and innovative leadership to create new paths.

Founder, owner and CEO of Gainesville-based Concept Companies, Brian Crawford is a man of vision. Under Crawford’s leadership, Concept Companies, a national commercial real estate developer specializing in turnkey projects, has carved a niche as a leading concierge real estate development firm.

In the rapidly evolving world of commercial real estate, Concept Companies is revolutionizing the regional and national real estate market with its innovative approach to development.

“The first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them with meaningful stewardships, and to create an environment in which high-trust interaction inspires creativity and possibility.” — Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything — a favorite of Crawford’s.

Leadership sets the tone and culture of a company. Concept Companies’ meteoric rise since 2004 is a testament to Crawford’s vision and his inspired leadership. It is intentional with deep care for the communities Concept is trusted to develop. Decisions are made based on significant market research, a great deal of due diligence and an in-depth understanding of clients’ needs. It’s the prioritization of listening to clients, to a community, to colleagues–that sets this company apart from the rest.

“We are a group of like-minded people who are pursuing similar goals,” said Crawford. “We all want to get better. We all want to pursue greatness. We want to pursue growth, and, in order to do that, we really have to “Own-it.” A key part to owning it is self-reflection–honesty with our self about things that we struggle through, which ultimately requires a great deal of vulnerability.”

It’s this driving “core value” of “Own-it” that established Concept as a developer who takes responsibility, and strives to deliver the best work “on time and on budget” for their clients. Crawford’s dedication to the pursuit of excellence is a trait that extends well beyond his own office. The strength of the leadership team at Concept Companies enables the success of his aspirations for the firm.

“Life is much easier for everyone when you have people around you who genuinely get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it.”—Gino Wickman, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.

Starting with Matt Cason. As president of Concept Companies, Cason has been with the company from the early stages and is a leader in the commercial real estate industry. Cason is at the helm of day-to-day operations and works with the company’s executive team to ensure that its products and services meet the needs of its customers. Because of his guidance and vision, the company is well-positioned to take advantage of emerging technologies and trends in the construction industry.

“We’ve truly created a unique business model in the development industry providing a concierge service to meet client needs,” said Cason. “Our team members are committed to studying and learning more than the customers know, and have a mindset of contributing and adding value, not only to specific projects, but in day-to-day operations. Our success is measured in the quality and loyalty of our relationships.”


Concept Companies: Empowering and inspiring partners to lay a strong foundation for the future. 

It has been Concept Companies’ strong leadership that has been instrumental in the company’s success, paying attention to core values and creating a supportive and collaborative company culture. It is the embodiment of these core values that sets this team apart and allows them to provide creative solutions while successfully navigating their rapid growth.

The professionals across all of Concept Companies’ divisions collaborate to ensure maximum creativity, foster a panoptic perspective and deliver unparalleled value creation through the application of their collective talents to the demands of their customers, partners and markets.

At Concept Companies, the “why” defines who they are.

Since 2004, Concept Companies has dedicated itself to their clients across a variety of sectors. Since entering the life sciences development sector in 2014, many of these clients bring cutting-edge research, innovative technologies and life-changing medicines to the world –– and need the right space to make these dreams a reality. That mission is the driving force behind Concept Companies.

The result is the development of a wide variety of projects in the Greater Gainesville area, including residential and commercial developments, retail centers and mixed-use projects. The firm has also expanded its reach to other cities in Florida such as Tampa, Jacksonville where they have a second office and local team, and Daytona where they just broke ground last month as fee developer on a large multi-family project. Recently, Concept Companies has worked to build trust and a reputation that will take them national— commencing design on projects in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee to name a few.

While their successful national growth is an inevitable result of their ownership mindset, Concept Companies is a community-driven company. They have created hundreds of jobs in Greater Gainesville and have become a key contributor to local economic stimulation. As a company, they have committees dedicated to funding local school projects, organizing state park cleanups in Alachua and working with organizations such as Rebuilding Together and Peaceful Paths. Keeping plugged into the community is the grounded approach that keeps this developer mindful and purposeful.


OWN IT -The pursuit of excellence through selfreflection and humility, accountability and learning from experience.

AGILITY -Cultivating an agile mindset by seeking unconventional solutions to the needs and challenges facing customers and markets.

CANDOR -To communicate openly, respectfully and fearlessly.

GROWTH -To strive for continuous advancement for the individual, community and company characterized by deeper understanding, higher performance and greater results.

COMMUNITY -To seek to create a place where trust, safety and belonging come naturally; caring for one another, revealing the best versions of ourselves.

RELENTLESS -Exhibiting steadfastness in all areas. To not be deterred easily, which shows in their performance.

COLLABORATION -The professionals across all of Concept Companies’ divisions collaborate to ensure maximum creativity, foster a panoptic perspective and deliver unparalleled value creation through the application of their collective talents to the demands of their customers, partners and markets.


Developing Real Estate from Every Angle 

Concept Companies serves a diverse range of sectors in order to create a healthier economy, community and future. These sectors include mixed use, science and technology, healthcare, retail, education, office and multifamily. Crawford and his team are passionate about creating economically-viable projects to better serve the community and to contribute to the growth of the life sciences sector. Particularly, Concept Companies has played an active role in the expansion of the City of Alachua’s Progress District, a mixed-use research community which has experienced its own impressive growth over the past five years, becoming a major player in North Central Florida and the national arena for biotech and life sciences.


Progress District: Where life science, ecotourism and high-tech live side by side. 

The Progress District is an expansive setting for many biosciences and other related companies that are attracted to the opportunity for growth. Located a few miles north of Gainesville, in the City of Alachua, the Progress District is a 690-acre region that has the resources and room to grow required by life science companies doing large-scale advanced manufacturing and chemical work.

An idyllic location, with the 7,000- acre San Felasco State Park at its back door, the vision for Progress District is one where nature, science and a holistic lifestyle all converge. Crawford said, “It’s where life science, ecotourism and hightech live side by side. It is very unique, and a great opportunity to create a live, work and play environment.”

With 35 companies and over 1,100 employees, the district is one of the largest clusters of biotech companies in the state of Florida. Home to established Fortune 500 companies, the Progress District is a destination spot for emerging biotech companies looking for ample opportunities for collaboration and resources.

“The Progress District is a transformational project for the state of Florida, Concept Companies, the University of Florida and the region,” said Executive Vice President of Real Estate and Development at Concept Companies, Seth Lane. “We have a long track record of success in Alachua’s life science and bioscience industries, and we are coming in to expand the life science and bioscience industry and launch the vision on a national level.”

See Also

Life Sciences in Florida: Fast Facts

  • 2 Largest pharmaceuticals and medicine manufacturing industry
  • 2 for medical device manufacturing
  • 4 clinical trials initiated among states
  • 5 for biotech R&D facilities
  • 32,000 jobs in biotech, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and medical device manufacturing for bachelor’s STEM graduates
  • 1,571 life science establishments
  • $429M+ in NIH funding in 2021
  • $1.4B annual life sciences R&D spending by Florida universities


Momentum Labs

Joining life science anchors UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, RTI Surgical, Thermo Fisher Scientific and more in Progress District is the future Momentum Labs—a biotech hub founded and operated by Concept Companies, focused on providing biotech companies with the lab space, business resources and capital needed to advance their lifechanging technology forward. With a completion date set for 2023, this flagship location will be based in the heart of North Florida’s bustling biotech cluster in Alachua. Momentum Labs will provide turnkey facilities for promising early-stage biotech companies through the development of fully furnished and equipped laboratories. Launching Momentum Labs is a sign of tangible progress in the region, as the area continues to build credibility and leadership for bolstering critical research and innovation, particularly in the biotech and life sciences space.

“Momentum Labs is the natural next step for companies graduating from incubators like the Sid Martin Biotech that need a little more time before making a significant investment into custom lab space and equipment,” said Crawford. “Momentum Labs will provide a much-needed interim step for Sid Martin graduates as their growth progresses, also allowing Sid Martin to rotate business in and out more quickly and promoting a stronger life science ecosystem in the region.”

Momentum Labs offers flexible lab space, private offices, shared equipment, specialized amenities and collaborative workspaces combined with concierge-level service. They designed their state-ofthe-art biotech lab spaces for maximum functionality and efficiency for growthminded companies.


O2B Retail and Education Development 

As a leader in the concierge, built-to-suit real estate development industry, Concept Companies is a top choice for major corporations. Dollar General, SherwinWilliams, Firestone, National Resiliance (formerly Ology Bio) AGTC, O2B Kids and Momentum Labs at Progress District are all part of the success story that is Concept Companies.

O2B Kids has plans to open a new location in Alachua as part of the Progress District development. Since its founding in Gainesville in 1992, O2B Kids has opened eight locations in North Central Florida, acquired ten preschools in St. Augustine, Palm Beach and Atlanta, and is expanding its presence into Georgia.

“O2B Kids is proud to be part of the Alachua community. With the opening of our new location in the Progress District, we are thrilled to not only continue our involvement in the community but to also be a part of its exciting advancements in biotech and life science. We are passionate about helping children reach their full potential, and we believe that our presence in this dynamic and forward-thinking community will only enhance our ability to do so. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for O2B Kids and Alachua! We look forward to being a catalyst for educational opportunities and technological advancements for Alachua residents,” said Andy Sherrard, CEO O2B Kids.

As part of the commitment to maintain a naturebased element to the entire development, O2B Kids has announced its plans to customize this location to its surroundings and reflect the natural elements that are preserved in the Progress District’s adjoining neighbor— the 7,000 acre San Felasco State Park. The innovative, integrated learning environment, for children from birth to age 13, will include various educational and recreational activities for children of all ages. It will feature an interactive playground, a multi-sensory learning center, a science lab, a library and other amenities.


Creating a Thriving Work Culture 

With a focus on creating vibrant, sustainable places to live, work and play, Concept Companies is equally committed to providing a work environment that fosters economic growth and opportunity for the company and its employees. “It’s the people in the company that really help us to forge our way through. It’s highly critical that we empower our employees and provide the support they need. It’s all about advancement and growth,” said Crawford. “We give them that independence to learn from their coworkers and give them that room to grow. We learn from each other.” Maintaining their core values while experiencing rapid growth is no easy feat and takes commitment from the entire team with the support of inspired leadership. “It’s about being better today than we were yesterday, better tomorrow than we are today,” said Crawford. “You know, we don’t live in a perfect world, but I think when we pool our skills together and we work hard, we can achieve excellence.”

While the company expands across the nation, Greater Gainesville can take pride that it is the home of Concept Companies, a business with a dynamic team, strong and ethical leadership and a mission to make the world better, one day, one building, one breakthrough at a time.


By T. Michele Walker. 

Copyright © 2024 Costello Communications & Marketing, LLC

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