As the promise of 2022 looms on the horizon, most people are anxious to close the books on what is likely the most unsettling year — from the pandemic to politics to supply chain shortages — we will ever experience. Strong leadership has never been more essential than it is today. To share their best leadership practices, Az Business magazine sat down with Arizona business leaders to watch in 2022, including Craig Weems, president and founder of Weems Asphalt.

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Highlights of Craig Weems interview

Weems established Weems Asphalt to be a company that is equally focused on people as it is on project outcomes. Weems brings years of proven leadership, having grown his career and companies over the past 25 years.

IMPACT OF PANDEMIC: “It’s changed the way we do business. We had to look at our processes, how we did things, make changes, and look at a lot of remote situations. For us, the pandemic started about six months after we opened the door, so there was some good and bad to that. The good was we didn’t have the resources we have today. The downside was the uncertainty. I think even today, we still have that uncertainty in regard to what the landscape is going to be like in the future.”

GROWTH DURING PANDEMIC: “First of all, the economy’s fantastic right now, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. But it’s the people we have. They have great contacts, great reputations. We’ve built the company so they have the autonomy to make decisions and do what they need to do to take care of our customers. At the end of the day, it’s about providing great service to the customers, and everyone at the company understands that.”

TREND TO WATCH: “Right now, we’re seeing a lot of outsiders coming to Arizona and deciding to put a stake in the ground, whether it’s manufacturing or their corporate headquarters, which is great for our state. It makes us more diverse. It allows us to get through different types of times, because businesses all have different cycles, where we’re not just real estate focused. Now, we have a technology piece and other types of businesses that have come and made Arizona their home, which is fantastic.”

GOALS FOR 2022: “I hope that we have a blast. You have to have fun at what you do. And I hope we continue to attract the talented people that we have. People like the people we have on staff, which will allow us to grow the way we want to grow, which is always maintaining our integrity and doing the right thing, but also having a quality product done on time and within budget. We want to service our customers in a way that they come back again and again and again. But for me, it’s watching people grow and becoming the best version of themselves.”