40 Under 40: Steve Merten

Steve Merten grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, surrounded by land that was constantly being cleared and reshaped. And he was just fine with that.

“When I was growing up, there was always construction around my house, in my neighborhood,” Merten said. “I saw land development, big machinery … . I saw farmlands turn into neighborhoods, which some people hate, but I always loved seeing the transformation.”

That passion stayed with Merten, who is now the senior vice president for Toll Brothers Inc.

Steve Merten, Toll Brothers employees in Ponte Vedra, photo by Roberto Gonzalez

Responsible for every aspect of the division’s business, Merten manages land acquisition and development, as well as homebuilding operations, sales and purchasing.

He received a lot of positive attention recently for his design contributions to Julington Lakes, which included maintaining more than half the land as a nature preserve. Creating beautiful, sustainable communities is something that continuously drives Merten.

“Every day you work in construction, you see progress being made. If you don’t, you have major issues,” he said. “Something has to happen every day, and it takes a coordination of many craftspeople. For me, that’s a neat thing. We are building homes, places someone will live in for years and years, so it’s pretty important to me.”

What inspired you to get to where you are today? I always liked watching construction as a kid. Seeing progress being made every day, seeing a home grow from the foundation being poured to the roof getting finished. I always wanted to make a mark on the platform of the earth.

How do you think you inspire others? I lead by example. I roll up my sleeves. No job is too menial for me, and I treat every decision like my own money was involved. I always try to do the right thing.