Since Amanda Baxter joined RL Baxter Building Corp in 2009, much has changed at the 35-year-old Poughkeepsie firm founded by her dad, RL Baxter: Staff has grown from 13 to 70, and the firm’s focus has expanded from small residential jobs to commercial ground-up construction. Revenues have kept pace, with net sales hovering at $25 million in 2017.
It’s no coincidence that the firm took off once this female Baxter (and her brother, Eric) came on board. “It was an opportunity to get into the building business and put my own twist on it,” says this Bentley College (now University) grad and mother of two young sons. Some of her projects include the building and design of Heritage Food + Drink (which she owns) and Mill House Brewing Company (she owns the building; Eric owns the restaurant). Historic revamps in the works include Star Estate Hotel and Distillery in the Town of Esopus and a residential luxury apartment complex at the former site of Lewis Country Farms in Poughkeepsie.
Baxter also designed a sleek new office for all those extra employees (just about half of her managerial staff is female), adding an in-house gym, kitchens, and relaxed lounge areas. “We try to create a really fun, exciting place to be and work — so that people feel like they’re a part of something bigger.”
Who influenced your career path?
“Observing my father’s incredible knack for envisioning the potential for a successful project and creative ability for layout design sparked my interest. There is so much in this industry outside of your basic hammers and nails.”