Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
History Maker Keeps the Faith - for 53 Years and Counting
Every History Maker Homes employee and every trade, supplier and consultant working for the company agree that while all of its recent innovations make History Maker a better company.
Every History Maker Homes employee and every trade, supplier and consultant working for the company agree that while all of its recent innovations make History Maker a better company, they pale in comparison to an attribute the company has had for all of its 53 years in business a Christian faith-based culture.
The only recent innovation regarding the culture is that the Mitchell family has written it into the company's values and made it a more visible statement of what History Maker stands for.
NHQ judges were immediately impressed that the corporate culture of History Maker is special. "What I was most impressed with was the people," says judge and quality management consultant Serge Ogranovitch. "Their attitude and teamwork are terrific. They have a great culture."
David Beck, vice president of construction for Pulte Homes' Las Vegas division, says, "I was the lead judge on this site visit, and I was most impressed by the teamwork and spirit. It's like a big family, and that feeling seems to even run into their trades and suppliers. They seem to cherish the relationship with History Maker and the people there. I was amazed at the longevity of trade partners, and they seem to have almost no turnover among employees. I told the Mitchells I would be proud to work for their company."
Consultant Scott Sedam says he is awed by the sense of family the Mitchells engender in the company. "It's the best job of maintaining a family atmosphere that I have encountered in a production builder," he says. "And they bring trades and suppliers into the family, so it's easier for them to get everyone focused on serving the customer."
If you are looking for the secret, look no further than the Christian faith of the owners and the sense of integrity and morality that infuses the company.
Lighting contractor Brent Barrow puts it this way: "The faith-based nature of the company is what separates them from other builders. With a lot of builders, I worry sometimes that I'm being lied to. Not with the Mitchells or any of the people who work for them. If they tell me something is missing in one of our shipments, I take their word for it and don't think twice. With other builders, I'm never quite sure."
HMH's faith-based nature provides an overarching value system that is comforting to the people who work there, do business with the firm and perhaps even buy History Maker houses.
No argument on that, says vice president of administration Cindy Culpepper, who has been with HMH for 11 years. Before that she worked in youth ministry at Richland Hills Church of Christ, where History Maker president Nelson Mitchell was part of the youth group.
"Faith is important to our ability to hire caring, empathetic salespeople," says vice president of sales Cliff Crumpler. "They are drawn to our company because it doesn't have the tough, corporate feel that many builders project. We're smaller, and the real family feel of the company is very reassuring. The kind of people we attract are just the kind we need to hold the hands of first-time buyers."
His attitude makes sense. Crumpler was the youth minister at Richland Hills Church of Christ.