Brett Ekblom


Brett Ekblom knows a thing or two about living the Good Life. “I grew up down here in Islamorada, went to school here, got my degree here, all that,” he told us. “I got into construction, then I became a pilot, but a couple years later I came back, just can’t seem to stay away.” In 2003, Brett founded Native Construction, the company he runs today. “I build homes where we do everything high-end—interior, exterior, garages, gyms, guest houses, pools, beaches—that’s primarily what I like to build,” he said. “The construction company has really been thriving.”

Over the years, Brett has not only grown his company, but his family also. “I lived the bachelor life down here, and it was fun. But when you find the right girl and you settle down, you get to put that book away and start writing a whole new one,” he told us. “Now I’ve got a wife, three kids, and I love family life. On the weekends we get up, play tee-ball, crank up the pool, grill out and just have fun. We’ve got a tree swing, there’s seagrass behind our house and we take the pool net and sift through it and catch all kinds of little critters (we always release them). But it’s really fun with the kids, we put the critters in big mason jars and make little aquariums. We’ll sit for an hour and watch the sea anemones, sea urchins, sea horses, lobsters, crabs, pipe-fish, all these cool things. It’s a hoot with the kids.”

One nice part about being a general contractor in a place like Islamorada is not only do you get to live in paradise, you get to live in a tight-knit community that looks after each other. “Hurricane Irma was a complete nightmare. Hurricanes don’t seem to be that big of a deal when you live with them. It’s like going into your bedroom and knocking the pillows off the bed, tearing your sheets off and pulling everything off the walls. It doesn’t wreck your life, but you have to put everything back together,” he said. “Everybody helps out. When Irma hit, I had a lot of plywood, and everyone needed some because the lumberyard shut down, so I shared it where I could. We went around and helped people trim their trees, used our lift to get up and shut shutters people couldn’t reach. Everyone gets together and helps. It’s not too bad, but it’s still an intense time.”

But in between hurricane season and a busy work schedule, Brett still finds time to enjoy life (and keep his pilot skills sharp). “I’ve got a 1939 Piper Cub, it’s a WWII training airplane and it’s basically like the moped of the sky,” he said with a laugh. “You just cruise around in a five mile radius and check out sailfish, tarpon, turtles, manatees, the reefs—it’s really cool to see it all from the air. Then I’ve got a Cessna 210, and that thing is badass, she goes about 200 miles an hour, so that gets us around when we’re tired of being on this island. We go over to Bimini in the Bahamas for rum drinks, shoot down to Staniel Cay and the Exumas. We’ll shoot up to Naples for lunch, go to Disney World. Just a little bit of everything. It’s a blast for the kids. We like to have fun, spend time with the family and hang out. That’s what it’s all about.”

brett ekblom holding a cooler, standing in the water with his son on his shoulders
brett ekblom walking to the beach with a vineyard vines backpack, holding his son's hand
brett ekblom sitting with his family on the beach brett ekblom cooking on the grill
brett ekblom on a boat holding his son upside down