About Us

Classes, workshops, training & consulting programs that work. Period.

The Aspire Institute Story

What do we do? Simple — all we do is make General Contractors more successful, guaranteed.

Hi, my name is Ken Brookings. I’m the founder and Chairman of Aspire. I grew up in the contracting business. My father took great pride in his work, however, he never learned anything about business. As a result I grew up poor, very poor. My father died just as I was graduating from high school. I tried to continue the business but there really wasn’t anything to continue.

Later, when I learned what business was really about I realized that the problem wasn’t the contracting business, quite the opposite actually — it was that my father was trying to be a contractor without having any idea how to run a business. As a result, he worked way too hard, for way too long for way too little — and died doing it.

I found a great way to pay my way through college and so I spent a lot of years in school learning engineering, psychology and business.

My college economics professor connected me up with a Fortune 500 corporation and by my 28th birthday I was a corporate Vice President there. Big paychecks and good for the ego but the work felt meaningless. Nothing changed as a result of my work, particularly people’s lives. I left the corporation and became a strategic and marketing consultant at the highest levels of some of America’s greatest companies; Goodyear Tire, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, Firestone and Apple Computer to name a few. I quickly learned that this approach to big company work was even less satisfying than working in one.

Then I found something I really cared about: Helping smaller businesses, like my dad’s, to grow, thrive and prosper. I could witness, firsthand, the prosperity of the business owners, their families and their employees improve thanks to our work. General Contracting is noble work — changing lives and fulfilling dreams. The fact that the company I created does the same for the builders is more gratifying than I know how to say. It’s why we do what we do.

Over the decades we have developed and refined a method now called The Aspire Method™. The Aspire Method™ ensures that we won’t waste our clients time or well-earned money with happy talk or telling them things they already know or putting them through generalized motherhood and apple pie type training. We roll our sleeves up, teach and help implement a new level of professional business methods and practical tools shaped specifically for GCs.

We are designed for GCs that want to take their business to the next level. Aspire is a successful consulting, training and educational company that is so effective we can guarantee that every client will enjoy a substantial lift in profits far greater than our cost while gaining a fine quality of life enhancement — I like that.

Ken

WHO WE ARE

The Aspire Institute offices at Sandpoint Center

Aspire is a coaching, consulting and mentoring firm for businesses in specific trades in which we have deep, hands-on experience. Are you a business owner or manager in the construction trades? We have helped well over 10,000 small businesses like yours reconnect with their dreams and establish a powerful and reliable track to achieving them.

Remember those dreams you had the day you opened your business?

Were your dreams to provide a special lifestyle for your family? Dreams of leading a team of passionate people doing meaningful work? Dreams of a retirement with wealth and dignity at the time of your choosing?

You are closer than you think to every bit of that!

A toolbox does not ensure a capable construction professional. A checkbook does not ensure a capable business operator. There is every bit as much to learn and apply to run your business as there is to your craft.

Without having and applying that business knowledge those bright and shiny dreams become replaced by working too hard for too little for too long.


“When approached this way achieving your goals becomes assured – and that’s why we can guarantee in writing that you will get the results that you want.”


Find out what the Aspire Program can do for you! Go learn more»

Executive Team

Ken Brookings

Ken Brookings

Founder and Chairman, The Aspire Institute

Ken Brookings was born with a wrench in one hand and paint brush in the other. His father was at once a painting contractor and an auto shop owner. Ken became a Vice President with a Fortune 500 company by age 27. After that company was acquired Ken founded and sold two other successful businesses before beginning his consulting career. Focusing on high level strategic and operational business consulting Ken worked with the senior management teams at clients including Apple Computer, Texas Instruments, Goodyear, British Petroleum, Firestone, SPX and other major corporations.

Ken then changed up everything, “The high-level corporate consulting business was interesting and financially rewarding but something important was missing. The work, no matter how important didn’t really change anybody’s life. It just didn’t seem to matter. My head and maybe my ego led me to this kind of glamorous work – but it was my heart that brought me back to the kind of work that matters.”

Ken repurposed the successful business that he had built to focus entirely on helping small businesses. According to Ken, “The heroes of the business world are the small business owners and managers. They do the real work and produce the most jobs in this country. Sadly, they seldom get the rewards that their honest work deserves. My focus became, and remains, to change that.”

Ken has been a featured speaker at countless industry events to tens of thousands of business owners. He has written for and been featured on the cover of trade publications and holds four industry related patents.

For over 20 years now Ken’s company, The Aspire Institute, has focused on the two business segments in which Ken grew up; the Automotive Service Industry and Construction Contractors. Thousands of business owners and their families are more prosperous today through Aspire’s work. Ken is proud to still have a paint brush in one hand and a wrench in the other.

Fred Farris

CEO, The Aspire Institute

Fred grew up in the independent service industry. He acquired a small, struggling service company and promptly partnered with Aspire to help turn it around. Fred turned a near-failing business into one of the most successful of it’s kind in the country in record time. He sold that business and joined Aspire as an instructor before being promoted to Senior VP and eventually CEO of The Aspire Institute. Fred has taught hundreds of service businesses on a one-to-one basis and has presented to thousands of business owners in groups large and small all over the United States.

Fred’s passion is to help small business owners achieve work-life balance and build real wealth.

When not contributing to positive changes for Aspire clients and staff, Fred enjoys flying his personal plane and spending time with his wife and family in his home town of Ridgecrest, CA.

Linda Casey

President, The Aspire Institute

Linda has been with Aspire for over 20 years. Linda brings a unique capacity for analysis and financial management. Linda has provided financial management for many small companies, helping them grow and optimize their cash flow.

Over her years with Aspire she developed into a very effective senior manager, eventually becoming Aspire’s president. Linda’s management style is a rare blend of no-nonsense business efficiency with a fun and healthy work environment.

Anthony Rodriguez

Vice President, The Aspire Institute

Anthony is the son of small business owners making him no stranger to the stress and burden that comes with business ownership. From a very young age, he’s demonstrated an extraordinary drive to succeed. As a young athlete, Anthony competed in high school sports which led to a collegiate football career in California. After college, he worked in the fitness industry spending 14 years developing training programs, sales processes, and providing business coaching for small business owners in the San Francisco Bay Area. His career in fitness culminated in a Regional Management role overseeing a corporate division covering California, Utah, and Nevada.

Missing the small town Sandpoint Idaho lifestyle, Anthony moved back to his hometown and joined the Aspire Institute, where he provides expertise in employee development, sales, management, and operations. His tenacious desire for winning drives him to help Aspire staff and clients alike, become the very best version of themselves they can achieve. This same drive and dedication for helping others propelled him through the ranks to become Vice President of Aspire in under two years.

As our Vice President, he contributes leadership, clarity of vision and a winning attitude to every department.  It’s not uncommon for Anthony to jump from a marketing meeting to a coach’s production meeting and then go on the road to help facilitate an Aspire field workshop.  His well-deserved nickname here is “VP of Winning.”

When away from work, Anthony enjoys spending time with his wife Kayley and his dog Tay Tay, along with maintaining a rigorous workout regimen, cooking and competing to win at just about anything!

Coaching Team

Ken Brookings

Ken Brookings
Founder and Chairman

Ken Brookings was born with a wrench in one hand and paintbrush in the other. His father was at once a painting contractor and an auto shop owner. Ken became a Vice President with a Fortune 500 company by age 27. After that company was acquired Ken founded and sold two other successful businesses before beginning his consulting career. Focusing on high level strategic and operational business consulting Ken worked with the senior management teams at clients including Apple Computer, Texas Instruments, Goodyear, British Petroleum, Firestone, SPX and other major corporations.

Ken then changed up everything, “The high-level corporate consulting business was interesting and financially rewarding but something important was missing. The work, no matter how important didn’t really change anybody’s life. It just didn’t seem to matter. My head and maybe my ego led me to this kind of glamorous work – but it was my heart that brought me back to the kind of work that matters.”

Ken repurposed the successful business that he had built to focus entirely on helping small businesses. According to Ken, “The heroes of the business world are the small business owners and managers. They do the real work and produce the most jobs in this country. Sadly, they seldom get the rewards that their honest work deserves. My focus became, and remains, to change that.”

Ken has been a featured speaker at countless industry events to tens of thousands of business owners. He has written for and been featured on the cover of trade publications and holds four industry related patents.

For over 20 years now Ken’s company, The Aspire Institute, has focused on the two business segments in which Ken grew up; the Automotive Service Industry and Construction Contractors. Thousands of business owners and their families are more prosperous today through Aspire’s work. Ken is proud to still have a paintbrush in one hand and a wrench in the other.

Rory Fawley

Contractor Business Coach

Rory is a builder, an athlete, a coach and a teacher. The son of a highly-skilled mason, he had become very familiar with construction sites by the time he was eight years old.

From an early age, he developed an extraordinary drive to succeed. As a young athlete, Rory was highly competitive in high school sports. His success on the gridiron led to a collegiate football career at the University of Idaho, where he graduated with a Master’s in Education and Undergraduate endorsements in Business and Exercise Science.

After college, Rory took a position with ARI roofing, where he managed several labor crews across the state of Idaho. With ARI, he gained valuable experience in management, developing and implementing sales processes, and creating long-term client relations. Ultimately he was promoted to Vice President, overseeing and managing company-wide day to day operations. During this time, Rory was also a high school football coach, a position he held for eight years, culminating in winning a state championship in the Idaho 5A classification.

In 2018, Rory was recruited by Norcraft Companies and relocated to Michigan. He worked in the sales department for Norcraft’s custom cabinet division, where he managed the company’s client relations for several large building contractors serving the Grand Rapids and Lansing markets.

Missing the small town Idaho lifestyle, Rory moved back to North Idaho to join the Aspire

Institute’s Contractor Business coaching team. At Aspire, he brings to bear an unstoppable winning attitude in service to Aspire Contractor Clients. He demonstrates a daily passion for helping contractors around the country reach their full business and personal potential.

When away from work, Rory enjoys spending time with his wife Sheila and raising his children Zade, Remi, and Reiss, while enjoying the outdoors and soaking up all that life has to offer.

 

 

 

Mitchell Fullerton

Mitchell Fullerton
Marketing Coach

Mitchell is the Marketing Coach at Aspire, and also serves as the Marketing Director, with responsibility for marketing programs, brand management, and corporate sponsorships.  Before joining Aspire, Mitchell served as the Executive Director & President of Northwest Film Institute, a non-profit film production and education organization.

As a creative sales and marketing professional with an entrepreneurial focus, Mitchell has been involved in numerous successful business start-ups including two radio stations, three magazines, a video production company and a jingle house.  He’s also owned and operated his own commercial recording studio, a full-service marketing, advertising, and public relations firm, and the motion picture marketing company, Movietime Entertainment, which Mitchell founded, grew to a national presence and took public through a reverse merger with MagicWorks Entertainment, illusionist David Copperfield’s production company.

When not furthering the Aspire mission to help residential builders create a prosperous work-life balance, Mitchell spends his time making independent films, composing music and enjoying the backwoods of North Idaho with his family. He currently resides in Sandpoint, Idaho with his wife and kids.

Jake Issacharoff

Contractor Business Coach

Bio under construction

Staci McBrayer

Ai Coaching Specialist

Bio under construction

Marketing Team

Administrative Team

Corrie Greene

Director of Operations

Abigail Overfelt

Administrative Assistant

Maggie

Chief Wagging Officer

Customer Support Team

Garrett Kulczyk

New Business Development Manager

Amy Porath

New Business Development

Hulda Warren

New Business Development

Dalia Rowlett

New Business Development