Meet Professional Builder's 40 Under 40 class for 2012

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An alligator hunter, break dancer, horse trainer, and former professional basketball player are among home building’s young superstars to be named 40 Under 40 winners for 2012 by the editors of Professional Builder magazine.

Meet Professional Builder's 40 Under 40 class for 2012

Meet Professional Builder's 40 Under 40 class for 2012

March 12, 2012

An alligator hunter, break dancer, horse trainer, and former professional basketball player are among home building’s young superstars to be named 40 Under 40 winners for 2012 by the editors of Professional Builder magazine.

The 40 professionals featured in the following pages represent the next

generation of leadership and innovation in home building, and they’re all under the age of 40. We proudly present our 40 Under 40 class for 2012.

 

 

Troy Abromaitis, 29

Development Manager, Wallmark Homes Ltd., Burnaby, British Columbia

EDUCATION

BS, Urban Land Economics, University of British Columbia; BS, Technical Marketing Management – Commercial Real Estate, British Columbia Institute of Technology

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Holds licenses in real estate sales, property management, and broker management

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Oversees all aspects of residential development projects, including land acquisition, rezoning, conceptual design, planning, unit design, and approval processes

Promoted from president’s assistant to development manager to current senior-management role within three years

EXTRACURRICULAR

Vice chair, Greater Vancouver HBA

Vice chair, Vancouver Chapter, Real Estate Institute of British Columbia

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: traveling, snorkeling, and zip trekking

Fave food: anything Greek

Getaway spot: Mexico or the Caribbean

On the nightstand: “Steve Jobs” and “A Universe from Nothing”

SECRET LIFE

An avid salsa dancer

 

Clay Aurell, 38

Principal, AB Design Studio Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif.

EDUCATION

BArch, California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Started his own company at age 30

In 2007, became the youngest architect member to sit on the local architecture review board and served the community for nearly five years

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: snowboarding, cycling, and working on cars

Getaway spot: Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera

All-time flick: “Snatch” (“Hilarious antics and creative filming sequences”)

SECRET LIFE

Bought a 1966 Ford Mustang at age 13, got his license on his 16th birthday and drove it to school

 

 

Howie Berman, 32

COO, The Ruby Group, Goshen, N.Y.

EDUCATION

BA, University of Michigan

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

LEED Certified Green Associate

Certified Graduate Builder

Licensed New York State Home Inspector

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Co-founded the Ruby Group and is responsible for managing field operations and construction

Headed the EcoGreen Community Housing student housing project that achieved LEED Gold status, earned NGBS Gold designation, and won multiple awards from the Builders Association of Hudson Valley

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, NAHB, New York State Builders Association, Builders Association of Hudson Valley

OFF THE CLOCK

Loves watching sports, especially University of Michigan athletics

All-time flick: “Rounders”

Getaway spot: Lisbon, Portugal, or Puerto Rico

SECRET LIFE

Doesn’t have a middle name

 

Pete Berman, 37

CEO, The Ruby Group, Goshen, N.Y.

EDUCATION

BA, Policy Studies, Syracuse University; MBA, Mount Saint Mary

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional; Certified Graduate Builder

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Expanded company into distressed assets market

Founding partner of home-inspection company Inspect Your Home Inc.

Instructor for numerous NAHB and New York State Builders Association courses on topics including energy efficiency, accounting, negotiating, sales and marketing, training, and diversification

EXTRAURRICULAR

President, Builders Association of Hudson Valley

Member, NAHB, American Society of Home Inspectors

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: skiing, running, and spending time with his kids

All-time flick: “Goodfellas” (“It reminds me of growing up in New York City”)

Getaway spot: skiing in Utah

SECRET LIFE

Worked as a paramedic in Fort Worth, Texas, and Jersey City, N.J.

 

Jason Blenker, 35

President, Blenker Building Systems Inc. and Envision Home at Last, Amherst, Wis.

EDUCATION

BS, Construction, University of Wisconsin – Stout

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Manages all functions of family-owned home-building business

Expanded family business to include component manufacturing services

Created Envision Home at Last builder-dealer network in 2010; 20 builders involved in the first year in business

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, Golden Sands HBA

Member, Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

Member, Board of Trustees, NAHB Building Systems Council

Member, Construction Advisory Board, UW-Stout

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: team roping, trail riding, camping, and fixing up old cars and trucks

All-time flick: “The Wizard of Oz”

Fave food: Meatloaf

SECRET LIFE

Currently restoring a 1955 Dodge panel truck

 

Christopher Brown, 38

Broker, Principal, NEXT New Homes Group, Roseville, Calif.

EDUCATION

BA, Business Economics, University of California – Santa Barbara

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified New Home Sales Professional; Certified Marketing Professional

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Started two real estate-focused companies (NEXT New Homes Group and evoCore Development)

Early career saw management positions with several builders, focusing on training and process improvement, sales and marketing creation, and product development

President’s Award, Sales Manager of the Year, and 2010 Meritorious Award, North State BIA

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, Institute of Residential Marketing, Sales and Marketing Council, North State BIA, Placer County Board of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, and NAHB

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: golf and skiing

All-time flick: “Better Off Dead”

Getaway spot: Lake Tahoe

SECRET LIFE

Elite-level rower in college who made the national crew team

Father was business partners with Clint Eastwood on a hotel project in Monterrey, Calif., in the 1980s

 

Christopher Burton, 38

CEO, Christopher Burton Luxury Homes, Melbourne, Fla.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Founded custom-home building firm in 1998, at age 24

Grew firm from three projects in 2007 to more than 25 in 2012, all while operating in one of Florida’s hardest-hit areas: Brevard County

Launched commercial development firm in 2005; remodeling and home services company in 2009; and home design center in 2010. Also owns two Arthur Rutenberg franchises (Rosewood Homes, Inc. and Rosewood Homes of Orlando)

EXTRACURRICULAR

Donated remodeling and building services for a home and school for the KLD Youth Foundation

Brevard County Business Leader of the Year for Real Estate, 2011

OFF THE CLOCK

Can’t live without chocolate  

Hobbies: basketball, fishing, snowboarding,

and diving

All-time flick: “Wedding Crashers”

Relaxes by fishing and riding his airboat

SECRET LIFE

Can make almost anyone laugh, except his wife (“She’s numb to my humor”)

 

Andrew Bystry, 31

President, Bystry Development Investments & Construction Inc., Madisonville, Tenn.

EDUCATION

Design degree, Belarusian State Academy of Arts; Engineering and International Marketing & Business Finance degrees, Belarus State Technological University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Immigrated from Belarus in 2001 at age 21

with $123 and no English skills; founded

Bystry Development Investments and

Construction Inc. three years later

Increased company’s revenue by at least 30 percent every year since founding

Created design-build management and estimating system with cloud storage, workflow, BIM planning, and design capabilities

Voted best builder in Monroe County

OFF THE CLOCK

Amateur mixed martial arts fighter

All-time flick: “My Cousin Vinnie”

Fave food: garlic mashed potatoes with a juicy steak

SECRET LIFE

Family endured the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986

Played basketball professionally for two years in the Belarusian Premier League

 

Jesse Deubel, 31

Co-founder, Part-owner, Casa Verde Builders LLC, Albuquerque, N.M.

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed Realtor

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Co-founded Casa Verde Builders, which builds energy-efficient homes with all features and amenities included in base price

All homes built to LEED Gold standard, with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) near 50

Recently completed custom home for paralyzed Marine

Served as volunteer coordinator for “Extreme Makoever: Home Edition”

OFF THE CLOCK

Avid bowhunter; is president of the United Bowhunters of New Mexico

Fave dish: green chile chicken enchiladas

All-time flick: “Primal Dreams” (a must-see for any bowhunter)

SECRET LIFE

Self-professed “wilderness junkie” (“When I’m not with my beautiful family, I prefer to be alone and miles away from any human inhabitance, on the slope of a very remote mountain with only my backpack and my bow”)

 

Ryan De Young, 30

VP, Finance, De Young Properties, Fresno, Calif.

EDUCATION

BS, Accounting – Real Estate emphasis, University of San Diego; MS, Accounting Financial Management – Real Estate emphasis, University of San Diego

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Established De Young Properties’ EnergySmart home line, in which all homes are built to the Energy Star Tier II standard and are GreenPoint Rated

Co-created the De Young EnergySmart Net Zero home, which received a Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Nugget award in 2011

Established company’s purchasing department

Lead construction of a home for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

OFF THE CLOCK

Plays drums in Carpe Noctem, a modern rock band

Hobbies: volunteering, traveling, concerts, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and San Francisco 49ers football games

Fave food: Grandma’s pasta and meat sauce

SECRET LIFE

Third-generation home builder; his grandfather started building homes after World War II

Helps raise money for Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno; served as committee co-chair for two years

 

Matt Dill, 34

President, Beechen & Dill Homes Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill.

EDUCATION

BA, Business Administration, University of Iowa

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional; Certified Graduate Builder

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Became president of family-owned home-building business in 2003 at age 25

Led development of several communities and hundreds of custom homes throughout the Chicago area

Helped firm become the first builder in Illinois to earn the Environments for Living Diamond certification

2011 Homebuilder of the Year, HBA of Illinois

Closed 24 homes in 2011, tops in the Chicago private home-builder market

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, South Suburban HBA

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: skiing, golf, and running

All-time flick: “Good Will Hunting”

Getaway spot: Jackson Hole, Wyo.

SECRET LIFE

Lived in Australia for six months

 

Mollie Elkman, 29

Executive VP, Group Two Real Estate Marketing & Advertising, Philadelphia

EDUCATION

BS, Business Administration, Florida State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Manages marketing and social media for builders across the U.S.

Specializes in tracking developments in media and marketing

Educates builders on modern marketing through seminars and webinars

Developed You.Twit.Face, a full-service social media marketing program initially created specifically for builders; program has since expanded to numerous industries

Led re-launch of Elkman Advertising, originally started by her great-uncle in 1954

OFF THE CLOCK

Became a mom in August 2011

Hobbies: reading and traveling

Fave food: her sister’s cheesecake brownies

SECRET LIFE

Once volunteered in Ghana with Global Volunteers, administering polio boosters, building a community library, and teaching in various schools in a local village

Shares the same birthday with her younger sister, but six years apart

 

Heather Ferrier, 31

General Manager, Ferrier Custom Homes, Fort Worth, Texas

EDUCATION

BA, International Business – Spanish, University of Texas – Arlington

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Designed and built her home as the first LEED for Homes Platinum project in Texas

Created new marketing program for Ferrier, focusing on social media

Redesigned company’s website, which earned the Best Website award in the Building Systems Council’s Sales & Marketing Awards competition

Won Green Remodel Project of the Year from NAHB and a Gold Award in the 2012 Energy Value Housing Awards

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, NAHB Certified Green Professional Working Group

Member, NAHB Green Building Conference planning committee

Blogger, ProudGreenHome.com

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: traveling, working out, and wine

Fave TV shows: “Project Runway” and “Mad Men”

Getaway spot: Kauai, Hawaii

Pilates instructor in her spare time

SECRET LIFE

Great-grandfather immigrated to Texas from Scotland to help build the Texas State Capitol as a stonemason

 

Brad Fess, 33

President, NuDesign Builders, Inc., Maitland, Fla.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Bought out his sole business partner in 2009 and quadrupled annual home sales to more than $1.5 million by 2011

Expanded scope of services to include commercial construction and renovation, including tenant improvement buildouts, health clubs, and night clubs

Upgraded firm’s business technology systems, adding cloud computing capability and remote access to back-office systems with iPads and iPhones

EXTRACURRICULAR

Participates in annual construction mission trips through his church

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: riding his Harley, offshore fishing, spear fishing, lobster diving, traveling, and chillin’ in the garage with his two boys

Getaway spot: Cayman Islands, for their crystal-clear waters and great fishing and diving

On the nightstand: “Super Crunchers”

Fave food: a tie between steak and chocolate chip cookies

SECRET LIFE

Hunts alligators (“It’s a team activity and quite a rush. Our biggest catch was 13 feet, 2 inches!”)

 

Jared Ford, 36

Group VP, Fortune-Johnson General Contractors, Norcross, Ga.

EDUCATION

BS, Civil Engineering, Western Kentucky University; MS, Civil Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Engineer Intern, Ohio Board of Professional Engineers

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Started at Fortune-Johnson straight out of grad school, working his way from assistant superintendent to group VP in 12 years

Directly involved in construction of 23 projects, including 4,600 apartment units, for a grand total of $536 million in gross receipts

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia

Member, National Multi Housing Council

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: basketball and tennis

Avid Ohio State football fan

All-time flick: “Top Gun”

SECRET LIFE

Can’t live without his iPhone and iPad

 

Max Frank, 30

VP, Watt Communities, Santa Monica, Calif.

EDUCATION

BS, Urban Planning and Development, University of Southern California

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Led company’s efforts on a 375-home community in Inglewood, Calif. — the city’s first new-home community in 20 years and a model for local brownfield redevelopment

Responsible for multiple leadership roles, including site identification, sale negotiations, financial modeling, and project financing

Under his leadership, revenue grew to exceed $750 million

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, Los Angeles BIA

Member, USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Served on the board for the American Heart Association and Boy Scouts of America

OFF THE CLOCK

Can’t live without ESPN’s “Sports Center”

All-time flick: “Moneyball” (“In our current economic malaise, I appreciate anything done well on a budget”)  

Getaway spot: the Mauna Lani Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island

On the nightstand: “Dream Golf”

SECRET LIFE

Was a member of the USC water polo team

 

Jason Friedland, 33

Partner, Director of Operations and Investments, Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners, Philadelphia

EDUCATION

BS, Latin American Literature, Washington University in St. Louis

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Helped Iron Stone acquire and redevelop more than 100 residential and commercial projects in and around Philadelphia

Led redevelopment of former Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania into 700,000-square-foot mixed-use development; project has created 2,200 jobs

Proficient in construction management, financing, zoning, historic tax credits, and portolio and asset management

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: photography and playing in a garage band

Plays the bossa nova guitar and the charango, an Andean stringed instrument

Trustee, Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech

SECRET LIFE

Hitchhiked through southern Mexico in the 1990s

 

Dan Gabel, 36

Project Manager, Toll Brothers, Dublin, Calif.

EDUCATION

BS, Physics, New Mexico State University; Program Management Certificate, Defense Acquisition University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed real estate broker; Qualified SWPPP Practitioner; Certified Erosion, Sediment and, Storm Water Inspector; Certified Instructional Systems Designer

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Manages all operations, from marketing and sales to purchasing, construction, and warranty for multiple Toll Brothers communities

Full P&L responsibility for luxury residential single-family and three-story condominium projects

EXTRACURRICULAR

President, Trevi at Sorrento Homeowners Association

VP, Sorrento at Dublin Ranch Community Association

OFF THE CLOCK

Enjoys soccer, football, and volleyball

SECRET LIFE

Formerly held Top Secret clearance as a U.S. Air Force officer

Once ate dinner with Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto

 

Andrew Gil, 34

General Manager, Mystic River Building Co., Mystic, Conn.

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified HERS rater; Certified Building Analyst

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Oversees all office and construction activities, including design, estimating, purchasing, project management, energy efficiency, quality standards, and warranty services

Leads team of three full-time staff members and manages 30-plus tradesmen at a time

Launched home-energy performance firm, The Greensulators, to provide energy audits, testing, and energy-efficiency upgrades

2011 Builder of the Year, Builders Association of Eastern Connecticut (BAEC)

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, BAEC

Past chairman, BAEC’s House of the Year program

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: rock  climbing,  playing  guitar, and  mowing the lawn with his kids

All-time flick: “The Bourne Supremacy”

Getaway spot: White Mountains, N.H.

SECRET LIFE

Graduated  high  school  in  the  bottom five of his class  and  never passed algebra II, but is now a whiz with numbers (“All  of  my  math  skills  have  been  self-taught”)

 

Jordan Goldman, 29

Engineering Principal, ZeroEnergy Design, Boston

EDUCATION

BS, MS, Engineering, Cornell University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Passive House Consultant; LEED AP; NAHB National Green Building Standard Verifier; Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Led Cornell team to second-place finish in the 2005 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Co-founded ZeroEnergy Design, a green architecture and mechanical design firm, with Decathlon team members

Oversees all phases of energy modeling, cost analysis, HVAC design, and construction administration

Simultaneously founded FreeGreen, a Web-based business providing low-cost, energy-efficient home plans

Awarded LEED for Homes Gold designation for home built in Cape Cod, Mass.

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, co-founder, New York Passive House Alliance

Judge, NAHB Research Center’s Energy Value Housing Awards

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: cooking, exercise, playing bridge, and live music

Getaway spot: Mazunte, Mexico

Loves spending the day preparing dinner (“It’s not unusual for me to cook a five-course meal for 10-15 people”)

Favorite form of relaxation: yoga

SECRET LIFE

Does the New York Times crossword puzzle every day and hasn’t missed one in four years!

 

Brad Harper, 31

CFO, Saluda River Club, Lexington, S.C.

EDUCATION

BS, Business Management – Finance emphasis, Clemson University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Developed numerous computerized business systems for Palmetto Traditional Homes/KB Home, including real-time profit reporting and electronic payables tool

Served as land developer and project manager for Saluda River Club community, developing approximately 1,200 homes

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: skiing and reef keeping (owns a 150-gallon display tank with 20 fish)

All-time flick: “The Matrix” series

On the nightstand: “Capitalism and Freedom”

SECRET LIFE

Describes himself as a “reasonably competent water color painter”

 

Ryan Hill, 33

VP, Hill Construction Company, San Diego

EDUCATION

BS, Engineering – Construction Science & Management emphasis, California State University – Chico

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Grew revenue of family-owned business by 500 percent during the recession

In 2007, company set the record for most homes completed in one day for the Baja Challenge, which provides homes for persons in need

Has won multiple awards for new-home building and renovations projects

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: fishing, surfing, and free diving

Enjoys walking his 130-lb. Akita

All-time flick: “Dumb and Dumber”

SECRET LIFE

His grandmother dated Howard Hughes

 

Brian Humplik, 35

Construction Manager, North Houston, Grand View Builders, Houston

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Oversees construction of approximately 60 homes annually

Served as company’s sole construction manager at launch in 2009, building 35 homes in the first year

Helped shorten company’s build cycle to fewer than 60 days

Mentors salespeople on the construction process 

OFF THE CLOCK

Die-hard fan of all things football, especially Peyton and Eli Manning

Grew up on a farm, complete with pigs, horses, cows, and chickens!

Fave food: backyard BBQ

Getaway spot: any place that is heavily wooded (“I’m from a small town so it’s pretty typical for me to feel relaxed out there”)

SECRET LIFE

Self-proclaimed perfectionist (“I can’t stand a messy home”)

 

Bryan Hutchinson, 39

Chief Relationship Developer, Victor Myers Custom Homes & Real Estate, Bartonville, Texas

EDUCATION

BA, Business Studies, Dallas Baptist University; MA, Professional Development/Leadership, Dallas Baptist University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed real estate broker

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Oversees staff of five real estate agents, maintaining all external relations

Helps customers locate property, sell existing homes, purchase land, and build new homes

Expanded company’s social media and Web presence

Employee of the Year, HBA of Greater Dallas,  2009, 2011

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, president-elect, Greater Lewisville Association of Realtors

Member, Texas Association of Realtors

OFF THE CLOCK

Motorcycle and car enthusiast; has ridden his motorcycle in 15 states, including a 3,500-mile trip

Can’t live without his iPhone and Salted Caramel Mocha espresso from Starbucks

All-time flick: “Remember the Titans” (“Tremendous story about leadership rooted in the reality of conflicted people”)SECRET LIFE

Describes himself as a “closet lyricist” who enjoys spending time with a guitar and pen and paper

 

Christopher Knight, 35

Partner, Knight Homes, Jonesboro, Ga.

EDUCATION

BS, Marketing Management, Bob Jones University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Expanded company services in 2008 to include fee-building for investors to cope with the housing downturn, keeping key employees on board

Second-generation home builder who worked his way up the ranks of family-owned business

Closed 584 homes at peak of company’s growth in 2006, with revenues of $96 million

2011 Gold Professionalism Award, Greater Atlanta HBA

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, past chapter president, Greater Atlanta HBA

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: golf, graphic design, and watching his kids play sports

Fave food: wife’s chocolate chip pie

Can’t live without his iPhone

SECRET LIFE

Designs many of Knight Homes’ marketing materials

 

Marc Lifshin, 33

Partner, LG Construction + Development, Chicago

EDUCATION

BS, Structural Engineering, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Co-founded company in 2005

Firm focuses on luxury residential projects in the Chicago area

Projects include renovation of the Carpenter House on Chicago’s Gold Coast; conversion of a Wicker Park nightclub into a LEED Platinum home; and construction of a 10-story, 132-unit student housing complex at Arizona State University

EXTRACURRICULAR

Founder of Camp Out for Kids, a nonprofit group that sends underprivileged teens to the camp of their choice

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: boating, snowboarding, and soccer

High school varsity soccer coach

Getaway spot: Cabo San Lucas

SECRET LIFE

Grandfather invented vertical blinds, then sold the rights because “he didn’t see the future in it”

 

Stephen McKay, 29

VP, Cranbrook Custom Homes, Shelby Township, Mich.

EDUCATION

BArch, Lawrence Technological University; MArch, Lawrence Technological University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional; LEED AP; Associate AIA

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Co-founded Cranbrook Custom Homes in 2010 as division of Lombardo Companies

Cranbrook generated $13 million in revenue in first 18 months

Researched, designed, and built his own energy-efficient home

Early architectural designs included a 25,000-square-foot addition for a palace in Thailand

EXTRACURRICULAR

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County

Junior Achievement

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: biking, swimming, and running (including triathlons and marathons)

All-time flick: “Iron Man”

Fave food: Hungarian pancakes

SECRET LIFE

Can sketch upside down (a skill he uses with clients)

Brews his own beer

 

Christina Presley, 39

President, Colorado Division, Meritage Homes, Denver

EDUCATION

BS, Finance, Accounting minor, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Tripled division’s growth in less than four years

Manages staff across 14 Meritage communities in Colorado

Formerly division CFO at Centex Destination Properties; also held positions with Mercedes Homes and Hallmark Building Co.

Established division’s extreme energy-efficient communities, including a “deconstructed” model home in Aurora

EXTRACURRICULAR

Executive committee member, HBA of Metro Denver

OFF THE CLOCK

Volunteers for the Interfaith Hospitality Network, providing emergency shelter, meals, and supportive services to homeless families

 

Warren Ralston, 33

President, W.C. Ralston, Architects LLC, Chantilly, Va.

EDUCATION

BArch, Virginia Tech

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed Architect (Va., Md., D.C., Del.); AIA

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Formed W.C. Ralston, Architects LLC in 2009; company now has 13 employees and $2 million-plus in annual revenue

Other business entities founded include:

The Evergreen Companies (construction/

real estate consulting services), Compass

Land Strategies (real estate consulting/

property management and development), and Blue Square Investment (venture capital investment company)

Won Great American Living Award in 2010 for townhomes at Potomac Overlook at National Harbor development

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, NAHB, National Council of Architecture Registration Boards, Northern Virginia BIA

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: woodworking, camping, hiking, and fishing

Guilty pleasure TV show: “Hawaii Five-O”

On the nightstand: “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine”

SECRET LIFE

Part of a long family line of Freemasons

First job out of college was with a mechanical contractor specializing in aerospace welding

 

Albert D. Seeno, III, 37

President, Discovery Builders Inc., Concord, Calif.

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed contractor in California and Nevada; Nevada gaming licensee

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Launched home-building company at age 25

Grew firm to employ 155 people and build more than 500 homes annually, making it one of the Bay Area’s largest home builders

Also owns a commercial/public works construction company and an underground pipeline installation firm

EXTRACURRICULAR

Named Citizen of the Year by the Pittsburg (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce

In 2011, donated the land and building for the School of Imagination in Dublin, Calif., which caters to children with special needs

Donated labor and material to renovate the interior and exterior of his church

OFF THE CLOCK

All-time flick: “Remember the Titans” (“It shows that hard work and working together can allow someone to overcome obstacles and be successful”)

Getaway spot: Cabo San Lucas

Hobbies: anything outdoors, including hunting, fishing, and driving job sites (of course!)

SECRET LIFE

Can still break dance like he did in high school

 

Justin Sevier, 30

Manger, Operator, Vintage Residential LLC,

Shreveport, La.

EDUCATION

BS, Construction Management, Business Administration minor, Louisiana State University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Founded residential and commercial construction company in 2006

Company has grown every year since founding

Designed, completed, and sold multiple townhome projects and is currently designing a “mansion condo” that will begin construction this year

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, Northwest Louisiana HBA

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: golf, hunting, fishing, and anything related to LSU

All-time flick: “Christmas Vacation”

Getaway spot: New York City

SECRET LIFE

Great-great uncle was John Sevier, former governor of Tennessee and U.S. Representative, whose statue sits in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building

 

Scott Shoemaker, 37

President, Owner, Shoemaker Homes, Ridgeland, Miss.

EDUCATION

BBA, Real Estate and Mortgage Finance, Mississippi State University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Green Professional; Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Became president of family-owned business in 1998

Builder of the Year, HBA of Jackson and HBA of Mississippi, 2007

Built two homes in just 106 hours for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

Recipient of Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 award

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, past president, HBA of Mississippi

Member, past president, Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce

Member, board of directors, HBA of Jackson

Member, 2011-2012 chairman, Mississippi Housing Institute

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: golf and duck hunting

All-time flick: “Caddyshack”

Fave food: Mississippi-farm-raised catfish

SECRET LIFE

Once played golf with U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen

Has played at one-third of the golf courses where the U.S. Open Championship has been played

 

Bradley Sullivan, 36

General Manager, Sullivan Building & Design Group, Quakertown, Pa.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Joined family-owned building company as a carpenter at age 21

Specializes in preservation and restoration of historic buildings in Bucks County, Pa.

Started and operates CiderPress Woodworks LLC, a millwork and cabinet shop

OFF THE CLOCK

Co-founder of Eco-Madera, a forest management group in Ecuador

Hobbies: snowboarding, kettlebell workouts, and cruising on his BMW R100 motorcycle

All-time flick: “Snatch” (“It’s two hours of visual stimulation and intertwined plots”)

SECRET LIFE

Can breathe fire and juggle

Father competed in the Lake Placid Iron Man competition at age 54 without ever having run a race before

 

Ken Traugott, 32

Architectural Supervisor, NVR, Inc., Frederick, Md.

EDUCATION

BS, Mathematics, University of Notre Dame

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Started at NVR out of college as a production supervisor; promoted to project manager at his own site in less than a year

Currently manages architectural teams for the Ryan Homes division of NVR

Expert in building codes and inspections

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, International Code Council (Residential Code Interpretation Committee)

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: reading, watching movies, and running

Regularly competes in marathons and half-marathons

Getaway spot: Maui

SECRET LIFE

An oil painter who has had his work displayed in local galleries

 

Derek Veerkamp, 38

VP, Development Manager, Hunt Development Group, Virginia Beach, Va.

EDUCATION

BS, Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota; BS, Accounting, Upper Iowa University; MBA, Regis University; MS, Environmental Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Licensed Professional Engineer

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Helped build the second pilot project of privatized junior housing at Norfolk Naval Station

Built the first new-zero-energy home on a military base (Fort Campbell, Ky.)

Helped rebuild community on Little Rock AFB in Jacksonville, Ark., following a tornado

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: running, traveling, reading, hiking, and canoeing

Ran his first half marathon in 2011

Getaway spot: Egypt

SECRET LIFE

Worked as a DJ for many years and still does occasional gigs

 

Mark Wahl, 38

Co-owner, President, Cobblestone Homes, Saginaw, Mich.

EDUCATION

BA, Business Administration, Saginaw Valley State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Successfully transitioned firm from remodeling to home building in 2003

Grew company to build more than 50 homes annually in a county where permits were down 80 percent from 2003 to 2010

Constructed Michigan’s first net-zero-energy home, called Vision Zero, in 2010; has used the home to educate other builders and trades on energy-efficient construction

In 2011, built InVision Zero, a net-zero-energy home for sale below the average U.S. new-home selling price

Recently completed 12 energy-efficient test homes that will be owned/rented and monitored for five years to provide performance data

Gold Award, 2011 Energy Value Housing Awards

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, HBA of Saginaw

Member, Green Built Michigan and HBA of Bay County

OFF THE CLOCK

Can’t live without his iPad

Hobbies: training and selling horses

Getaway spot: Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Fave food: apple cinnamon oatmeal

On the nightstand: “Good to Great”

SECRET LIFE

Previously made a living as a professional horse trainer

 

Melissa Wahl, 38

Co-owner, VP, Cobblestone Homes, Saginaw, Mich.

EDUCATION

BS, Education, Saginaw Valley State University

EXTRACURRICULAR

Board member, Green Built Michigan

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Successfully transitioned firm from remodeling to home building in 2003

Grew company to build more than 50 homes annually in a county where permits were down 80 percent from 2003 to 2010

Constructed Michigan’s first net-zero-energy home, called Vision Zero, in 2010; has used the home to educate other builders and trades on energy-efficient construction

In 2011, built InVision Zero, a net-zero-energy home for sale below the average U.S. new-home selling price

Recently completed 12 energy-efficient test homes that will be owned/rented and monitored for five years to provide performance data

Gold Award, 2011 Energy Value Housing Awards

OFF THE CLOCK

Avid equestrian who won the Morgan Park Saddle World Championship

Hobbies: training horses and running

All-time flick: “Secretariat”

Getaway spot: Gatlinburg, Tenn., or anywhere in Kentucky (“My husband says I’m a cheap date”)

Fave dish: grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce.

On the nightstand: “Outliers” and “The E-Myth Revisited”

SECRET LIFE

Descendent of a Dalton Gang member

 

Jason Werr, 36

President, Jaw Builders, Wheaton, Ill.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Founded Jaw Builders in 2003

Built Illinois’ first NAHB National Green Building Standard Emerald-certified home (23rd in the nation)

Built a sensory room and new bedrooms for a family with two autistic boys and another in remission from leukemia through NBC’s “George to the Rescue”

Educates homeowners and builders about new products and technology in green building

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, board of directors, Northern Illinois HBA

OFF THE CLOCK

Loves woodworking in his spare time

All-time flick: “Christmas Vacation”

Fave food: pizza (every Friday night is pizza night with his family)

SECRET LIFE

Has been told he does a strong Scooby Doo impression

Wife’s great-grandmother was a French interpreter for General John Pershing during World War I

 

Andrew White, 27

Co-owner, Project Manager, Edge City Homes, Lexington, S.C.

EDUCATION

BA, History, Clemson University

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Certified Master Builder

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Co-owner of Edge City Homes with his father, Andy; also works as a contract builder for Lifestone Residential

Completed 30 homes in prestigious Saluda River Club community in Lexington

Youngest builder in South Carolina to earn Certified Master Builder designation

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: turkey and waterfowl hunting, saltwater fishing, and all things Clemson football

All-time flick: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

Can live without South Carolina’s scorching summers

SECRET LIFE

Loves metal music (“Not 80’s hair metal but the real stuff — fast guitar riffs, pounding drums, growled vocals, the whole nine yards”)

 

Heath Wilkinson, 36

President, UIP General Contracting Inc., Washington, D.C.

EDUCATION

BS, Health Science, Pre-Med, James Madison University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Started UIP General Contracting in 2008, with consistent growth each of its three years

Started UIP subsidiary UnitTurns, specializing in apartment turnover services, in 2009; currently generating $2 million annually

Began career with NVR/Ryan Homes; in nine years, served as project manager, costing and estimating manager, production manager, and sales and marketing manager

EXTRACURRICULAR

Member, Fairfax County (Va.) Comprehensive Plan Review Board

Senior educator with Gerson Lehrman Group, resident expert on construction and development in the Washington, D.C., market

OFF THE CLOCK

Hobbies: boating, sailing, and watching the Washington Redskins and Capitals

Getaway spot: Las Vegas

SECRET LIFE

High School All-American and NCAA Division I wrestler at James Madison University

Descendant of both Robert E. Lee and a Holocaust survivor

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August 2016

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