We had the good fortune of connecting with Leo Oliveira and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leo, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is something that I don’t think comes naturally. I think it is something that we learn and it is not easy. I remember the first time I was about to take a leap into the entrepreneur life. I sat on the stairs in front of my house and experienced a mix of fear and anxiety but at the same time, excitement. That was my “baptism” into the unknown. At one point I verbalized: “Well, now I don’t have the choice to pull back. So be it”.
It is funny how after that it seems like risk-taking became part of the day-to-day of trying to grow a business. I took to extremes in many cases, which led me to make various mistakes. The good thing is that I learned from them.
That 2009 experience was about me opening a cupcake kiosk at a mall in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. From there, I took several other steps that involved a lot of risks which culminated with me joining a start-up tech/manufacturing company in Texas in 2016. In a nutshell, I went from Cupcakes to Steel Design, prefabrication, and installation for hotels, apartment complexes, Whataburger, Panda Express, and many other projects.
Without that first risk-taking on the Cupcakes, which led me to travel to the USA and introduced me to a construction system I was not aware of, I would not take another major one later: moving to the US with my pregnant wife and two daughters.
What should our readers know about your business?
Texas Steel Tech is a company that has a long accumulated experience and is focused on technology to drive its process. We have created many proprietary systems that enhance that which keeps the business running at very low operational costs.
With principals that have been involved in residential and commercial construction, as well as developments, we have a wide perspective on business analysis, a deep understanding of cost.
I think that any process has its perks when the company grows. New ones need to come to play and other ones must simply be dropped because they are bad. And that is hard because people can get attached to those. Change might feel challenging and bring discomfort. For that reason, it is very important to always encourage the team and have a clear pipeline of where things are heading. This gives clarity and a sense of direction as well as the opportunity of milestones being reached and celebrated.
We have a saying that goes like this: “We build stories”. That means that what we do is beyond construction, systems, structures. We build places where people live their lives, share their dreams, their struggles, and victories. And we participated in that with them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many cool things to do around DFW! Deep Ellum is definitely a place to go check out after spending some time Downtown walking around or visiting historical sites. Recently I had a friend visiting from Boston and we took the trolley with a guided city tour. That was really fun to learn about the history and curious fun facts about the city.
With several museums in Dallas and Fort Worth that is also fun to check out. I like Kimbel Art Museum. They have a restaurant that is really good and if you go on Sundays it is free admission to the museum.
In Fort Worth, I would recommend checking out Magnolia Ave and South Main St. So much going on there with lots of bars, restaurants, breweries. Trinity River is also a coll place to check out, especially in the summer at the music festival that you can join floating on the river. https://rockintheriverfw.com/
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I did not plan my career to take the route it did. In the process. It really just happened and I responded to it. Time went by and many years after being in the construction industry a friend told me about a book. He said when he read it, he thought about me and that I should read it. The book is called “So good they can’t ignore you” by Cal Newport.
I read the book and it was really incredible. A lot of the things he talks about there happened in my journey without me really planning or thinking about it. Since then, I recommend that book to everyone, especially for the young folks that are trying to figure out their career and battling with the tension between passion and craftsmanship (the ability to do something, even though you might not be passionate about it).
In this process, my wife Jo was incredibly supportive the whole time. She always believed in what I was doing, but most of all, she believed in me. That is priceless.
All pictures were taken by me.