Nomination testimonials edited by Layne Deakins, associate editor, and Emily Zick, contributor
Pro Builder's Forty Under 40 class of 2023 recognizes the brightest young talent and next-generation leaders and innovators in the home building industry.
With a wide range of achievements, this year’s rising young stars are pushing the boundaries of personal and professional accomplishment, tapping a range of skills, with a good dose of grit, ingenuity, adaptability, and a keen understanding of business and the ability to inspire and lead companies and teams.
Often the change agents in their companies, these successful young industry leaders show the way forward for home building. It's a bright, promising future!
This year, we enlisted a group of past Under 40 winners to help us select the 2023 class from more than 100 nominations and also published an “Over 60” sidebar to recognize the value of retaining or hiring Boomer-age leaders for your business.
* NAHB member
Chris Adams ● Devyn Bachman ● Kellie Boling ● Vanessa Burrill ● Bridget Cramer ● Jordyn Croom ● Chad Davies ● Barrett Davis ● Ryan Delin ● Drew Dolan ● Cory Dotson ● Hanna Dover ● Reyna Estrada ● Sanket Firodiya ● Doug French ● Andrew Gasparro ● Scott Goedde ● Brook Jennings ● Kevin Jewell ● Bree Jones ● Jake Kaplan ● Bryan Keve ● Sky Kolade ● Danielle Lipari-Mareth ● Jackie Lipinski ● Morgan Lurz ● John Manasco ● Emily Murray ● Matt Orosz ● Ali Quedenfeld ● Nick Rhodes ● Sean Roberts ● Alaina Robertson ● Savannah Ryder ● Hayley Selden ● Danny Steiger ● Christopher Vaughn ● Deana Vidal ● Ali Webster ● Jim Work
If you’re wondering how we select exceptional young housing industry leaders as our annual Forty Under 40, let me tell you: It ain’t easy.
This year we received more than 100 nominations to join the 2023 class, all of them deserving in some way (and most in many ways). Right out of the gate, we were confronted with excluding 60 or so rock stars. Ugh. So this year I enlisted a panel of past Under 40 winners who I knew would recognize special talent when they saw it—and they absolutely proved me right.
To get there, we used a simple scoring system to evaluate each nominee and then averaged our scores to determine the Top 40.
In the spirit of full transparency (and also so I could thank them again), here are the judges:
Rebecca McAdoo (Under 40 class of 2018) is regional president of Garman Homes, in Cary, N.C. A mother of three, she lists her hobbies as “Kids, Kids, and more Kids,” though occasionally mixes in a hot-yoga class or a great book. Among her many other talents is clapping with one hand.
Chris Hartley (2018) is VP of sales for K. Hovnanian Homes, in Dallas-Ft. Worth ... but that’s just his day job. He also is a frequent writer, podcast guest, and public speaker for the industry, a board member for Zillow and AtlasRTX, a marathoner and triathlete, and, most recently, a children’s book author.
Ashley Kent (2018) is the president and owner of Kent Homes, in Wilmington, N.C. A second-generation builder, she worked her way up the ladder of her father’s company, in the field, in the office, and in sales and marketing leadership roles before succeeding him in 2020.
Will Duderstadt (Under 40 class of 2017) is VP, chief marketing officer of corporate marketing at M/I Homes, in Columbus, Ohio, where he oversees online marketing campaigns, lead generation, SEO, PPC, social media, and content strategy. He serves on a Zillow advisory board and has presented at the International Builders’ Show five times and counting. Fluent in emoji, he is a fan of coffee, cats, sushi, tacos, and gardening.
—Rich Binsacca, Editorial Director
Nominations for the 2024 class of Forty Under 40 will open on probuilder.com in mid-April 2024.
Meet 2023's Class of Forty Under 40
“Chris truly has a passion for building custom homes. He started in the construction industry over 20 years ago pushing a broom and worked his way up the ranks from there. He was encouraged to obtain his contractor’s license by multiple architects four years ago and is now building luxury custom homes in the communities of Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Portola Valley in California. His down-to-earth demeanor brings an element to the build process that is one of a kind.” —Kate Adams, co-owner and office manager, A4 Homes
Read more about Chris here.
“I get to watch Devyn daily, not only pushing herself to improve, but tirelessly helping our housing industry clients always stay on top of market shifts. Her recent pivot to both research and operations has required plenty of late nights and challenging decisions, but I know our firm is benefiting from the effort and thought she puts in daily. And she keeps improving with a never-say-quit attitude!”—Rick Palacios Jr., director of research, managing principal, John Burns Research and Consulting
“We can easily attribute much of our success to finding and adding intelligent and talented members to our team, including Kellie. She has been instrumental in helping us during our fast-paced transformation of closing 150 homes to more than 700 in just a few short years. As our director of purchasing (and equipped with a master’s degree in global supply chain and logistics), Kellie successfully created and led her team to enable us to experience tremendous growth and profit.” —Todd Greenfield, VP of sales and marketing, Riverside Homebuilders
“Typically, builders have agents that sell, designers that design, and a construction supervisor that manages the build. This is what sets Vanessa apart: She has a full understanding of every aspect of this business and can step up in whatever capacity is needed—something I’ve never had in 50 years running my company, and I am very proud that the person in this role is my daughter.” —William Gregory Burrill, founder and president, WGB Construction Co.
“When Bridget joined the marketing team at Lindus Construction over 11 years ago, she quickly became knowledgeable about the media landscape and in no time became my go-to person to pivot campaigns, help create messaging, and make quick decisions. She is quick to learn and understands the ever-changing media landscape with digital marketing, streaming, social media, and more, and is now my main point of contact for creative and scheduling. She is the best! She is a definite asset to Lindus Construction and I’m proud to have this important partnership.” —Ginnee Berg, senior marketing executive, Audacy
“Having overcome homelessness and extreme physical trauma, Jordyn now stands as a provider of homes for families across the Denver metro area. Their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others through housing is truly commendable, and their tenacity, resilience, and passion for the home building industry is inspiring. Jordyn’s drive for personal and professional growth, coupled with strong leadership skills, will undoubtedly contribute to their continued success.” —Eric A. Holt, PhD, assistant professor, Daniels College of Business, Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, University of Denver
“Chad is an important part of our industry’s next phase of growth. This is a tall order and statement, but rarely do you meet someone so passionate about how to do something the right way, the best way, and the most affordable way. Chad has a pulse on our industry with an intrinsic desire to push quality, he offers an ability to foster better education around marketing greatness, and he connects the dots to innovative homebuying experiences.” —Jennifer Cooper, founder and CEO, Evolution Marketing
“Barrett has served as the CEO of NterNow for two years, growing the company from a small startup to a leading provider of access and ID verification solutions for the construction industry. NterNow is currently used by over 150 builders in 33 states and in Canada, but Barrett’s entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there. More recently, he launched HomeScribe.ai, a new company that leverages artificial intelligence to increase productivity and improve sales and marketing efficiency in home building. Beyond all of that, he is a talented leader, a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, and a dedicated member of the construction industry.” —Anya Chrisanthon, chief brand officer, Anewgo Marketplace
“Through Ryan’s involvement in the Epcon Summit group, he has demonstrated he is an emerging power player within the industry. He is smart, innovative, and able to influence builders twice his age and tenure, and he does so with competency and confidence. This select group of successful and discerning home builders trusts Ryan’s financial results and recommendations, and sees him as a trusted peer.” —Rita J. Ramey, director of operations, Epcon Franchising
“Drew’s career progression, commitment to excellence, and community involvement make him an outstanding leader in the home building industry. His commitment to a values-based organization has fostered a culture of integrity and purpose, motivating his team to excel.” —Jeremy Jackson, VP of global customer success, ECI Software Solutions
“Constantly innovating to improve, Cory was one of the earliest adopters of responsive website design. He also led the implementation of an online homebuying process for a national builder before the concept was even a consideration for most of the home building industry. With a vision for combining his passions, Cory is now teaching home builders how to harness the power of social media influencers to enhance their marketing strategy.” —Greg Brey, president and co-owner, Blue Tangerine
“I am a risk-taker, forward-thinker, business owner, and most of all, a doer, not a dreamer. As the owner-developer of my own company, my work ranges from tiny houses and ‘traincations’ to historical rehabilitation projects, eclectic tree houses, and alpine chalets. During the Great Recession, I diligently invested in everything real estate, turning foreclosure acquisitions and tax sales into a residential property management, renovation, and house-flipping business that eventually evolved to include new construction and general contracting. I’m consistently engaged and approached by other women for advice on how to start up or manage a small business, and I make every effort to help direct those in need of advice."
“Reyna is an empathetic, passionate, and innovative leader whose energy is unavoidably contagious. She invests in the success of others and shows up every day with 100% and a glowing enthusiasm toward the day ahead. She expects greatness from others and is a master-collaborator as she roots for others and always provides a unique and valuable perspective. She assists organizations and colleagues in embracing diversity and inclusion in our industry.” —Savannah Paver, senior SEO manager, M/I Homes
“Before co-founding Hammr, Sanket was a founding engineer at Superhuman, a Silicon Valley startup that went on to raise $100M of venture capital and became one of the most prolific companies in the productivity space. He is an accomplished software engineer turned entrepreneur who has reconnected with his family roots to build something in ConstructionTech. As an immigrant with very little background in the construction industry, he has shown tremendous leadership and dedication to move the industry forward with his efforts over the last few years.” —Brek Goin, CEO and co-founder, Hammr
“What sets Doug apart is his unwavering commitment to excellence and his unyielding adherence to a set of core values that define his leadership style. His work ethic is unparalleled and is evident in his daily presence in the field and the way he actively engages with his team and addresses challenges head-on. His honesty, transparency, and integrity form the cornerstone of his leadership approach, fostering an environment of trust, collaboration, and inclusivity.” —Chad Sanschagrin, founder and CEO, Cannonball Moments
“Andrew has acquired, entitled, and developed more than 2,500 lots and has been instrumental in the growth of our Tucson division—all while maintaining proactive relationships that support, encourage, and promote the successes of other departments so we are always moving the business forward. He is one of the smartest people I have met, both personally and professionally, with a passion for the industry, for youth, and for Tucson.” —Amy S. McReynolds, division president-Tucson, KB Home
“Hired as an estimator in 2018, Scott has continuously improved efficiency and reduced waste in operational processes by developing and integrating several software solutions. In 2019, after extensive research, he selected and implemented a single construction management software to streamline and replace multiple non-compatible programs. When the industry was facing potentially debilitating spikes in lumber pricing, he skillfully value-engineered our house plans to reduce costs, which increased sales 273%, gross margins by 24%, and net margins by 55%. In 2021, he accepted a promotion to VP of operations, which includes hiring and managing all office personnel and centralizing all technology to decrease downtime and enable rapid response to technical issues.” —James Monroe, president, James Monroe Homes
“When Brook joined Goodall Homes as a sales assistant shortly after graduating from college, her goal was simply to help people find their forever homes. A decade, a broker’s license, and several promotions later, she is a sales and leadership coach who trains teams nationwide. Brook earned the Goodall Homes Spirit Award four times for exemplifying integrity and pursuing ongoing improvement, a quality that makes her not only a useful resource to her clients and peers, but also a role model to her three daughters.” —Chad Sanschagrin, founder and CEO, Cannonball Moments
“Kevin is dedicated to delivering top-notch quality and has brought about a new level of discipline within our company. He introduced and implemented a powerful mantra, ‘Quality, no Exceptions,’ within our production team, emphasizing the importance of upholding the highest standards in every aspect of our operations. This rallying cry has become the guiding principle for our entire organization, ensuring our team consistently delivers exceptional results.” —Tommy French, president, French Brothers Homes
“At the core of Bree’s work is Development Without Displacement—she aims to revitalize historically redlined neighborhoods while ensuring legacy residents can participate in and benefit from reinvestment. She has been a lifelong social justice advocate, focused primarily on economic justice, affordable housing, anti-displacement, anti-gentrification, and anti-recidivism. Bree’s work through Parity Homes has been recognized widely for its potential for systems change.” —Mark Boyce, founding partner, True Homes
“A self-taught finance wiz, Jake entered the home building industry with zero experience and worked his way to a top leadership position in less than five years. He’s now responsible for $100 million (and growing) in revenue. Builders our size typically employ two controllers and three accounts payable coordinators, but Jake runs it with just one other person. He plays a key role in nearly every aspect of our business. Jake onboards every new hire. He managed the design and construction on our new office and volunteered to build our Habitat for Humanity Blitz home. He trains our team on culture. Jake is the real deal. He makes us better.” —Alaina Money-Garman, founder/CEO, Garman Homes
“Bryan often talks about quality being the main driver behind everything we do at Traditions Custom Builders, and I truly feel this is how he strives to live every aspect of his life. From his commitment to family, his dedication to our community (and industry), and his relentless passion for building not only beautiful but quality homes, Bryan strives to always do the right thing in every facet of his life.” —Heath Mendenhall, senior project manager, Traditions Custom Builders
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“In July 2014, at the age of just 19, Sky co-founded the Association of Professional Builders, a leading business coaching service for custom home builders in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Under her direction, the company has continued to prosper, with thousands of builders coached worldwide. Entering the workforce at a young age and without much experience, Sky focused on gaining the respect of builders through the delivery of business growth advice, which quickly established her as an expert.” —Alana Van Slovis, account coordinator, The Hoyt Organization
“My fondest memory of Danielle was in April 2013. I was brand new to the industry and didn’t know a blueprint from a plot plan. Instead of taking a competitive stance with me as a peer, she took me under her wing. She fielded a series of ridiculous questions, panicked phone calls, messed up contracts, and insecure moments from a young (and very green) new hire. Danielle never lost her patience, never criticized my inexperience, and never took advantage of my lack of knowledge. Her mentorship, kindness, leadership, and professionalism have taken me further in my career than any other trainer or boss I’ve ever had.” —Chelsea Timmons, VP of community experience, Tri Pointe Homes
“With a solid background in marketing for the home building industry, Jackie has shown her ability to drive results. Her role as a marketing coach involves training companies, teams, and individuals to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. She works with home builders across 20 states that combined earn over $2 billion in revenue. Her versatility in handling diverse market conditions and personalities is commendable. Jackie also excels in creating new marketing processes and identifying untapped opportunities.” —Kevin Oakley, managing partner, Do You Convert
“Morgan’s visionary mindset and forward-thinking approach have allowed us to revolutionize the way we approach our clients and partners. She consistently seeks out innovative technologies, sustainable practices, and cutting-edge methodologies, ensuring Cannonball Moments remains at the forefront of industry trends.” —Chad Sanschagrin, founder and CEO, Cannonball Moments
“I first met John in 2018 during a site visit to Storybook Farm, which provides animal and nature programs for children affected by tragedy and hardships. His technical expertise, project coordination, and problem-solving skills have transformed the way construction projects that align with our mission are executed. When we encounter unexpected challenges, John identifies the issue, proposes alternative approaches, and delivers a high-quality outcome. He has also helped us establish relationships with numerous subcontractors and suppliers who are now committed partners. I cannot imagine embarking on any construction project without John’s involvement. His and Stone Martin Builders’ mark on Storybook Farm is unmistakable.” —Dena H. Little, founder and executive director, Storybook Farm
“Emily is a highly motivated and tenacious director of sales for the region’s largest home builder. She leads the company’s sales operation and online sales team, driving sales results in eight divisions across five states and achieving proven results in sales, sales management, group sales training, coaching, marketing, and recruiting. She loves a challenge, has exceeded sales goals, and has delivered best-in-class results throughout her career. Emily provides expert guidance and mentoring to our associates and sales managers, sharing her best practices and coaching techniques. She played a key leadership role in Fischer Homes’ sales transition plan in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expanded sales operations into St. Louis, a new market. She is highly regarded at Fischer Homes for her relentless work ethic and natural ability to connect with colleagues and customers.” —Carrie Rogiers, marketing manager, Fischer Homes
Ed. Note: Emily was promoted from Director of Sales to VP of Sales at Fischer Homes in November, 2023.
“Matt is a compassionate leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. I was his VP of marketing for numerous years. He led our executive team with drive, passion, and positivity, making us a strong, profitable, and collaborative team. He was always coaching, mentoring, and pushing us to be the best within our fields of expertise. With Matt, we worked hard and laughed a lot, and he provided a safe environment to ask questions, to fail, and to celebrate our successes. Besides being a dynamic individual and leader, he leads by example. His entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit has inspired me to be a better person, coach, and leader.” —Kelley Finley, principal, Marketing Foundations
“Ali’s thoughtful approach guides campaigns that outshine the rest. There is also a grace in the way she approaches complicated builder challenges. With a heart that could power a small community, she pours her soul into building relationships that truly matter.” —Georgia Castellano, creative director, Group Two
“There is no way to put this other than Nick is a prodigy who is a leader in land development and home building. When I first met him in 2011, he was already in leadership roles for his father’s land development and home building company. I assumed he was in his late 20s, which was mind-blowing enough ... until I found out he was only 18! Today, he is solely responsible for building Esperanza Homes from a small, local builder into a major player (and growing fast), while also taking on much of the leadership for the development side at Rhodes Enterprises. I’ve met thousands of builders and developers in the 55 years I’ve been in the consulting business. Without question, for a young person under 30, I’ve never met anyone like him.” —Rick Harrison, president and CEO, Rick Harrison Site Design Studio & Neighborhood Innovation
“My passion for construction, carpentry, and woodworking began in high school, where I took every available woodshop class and participated in ‘team carpentry’ competitions. I joined Villa Homes in 2023, a business founded in 2019 as a venture capital–backed startup intending to resolve a rampant housing affordability crisis across California with the production of prefab accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Villa Homes is now the state’s largest ADU builder, with over 500 homes sold. Prior to that, I led a tech-driven, vertically integrated real estate brokerage, title/escrow, and mortgage platform that expanded into 12 cities across eight states. As an investment professional before that, I managed the acquisition of a national manufactured housing communities brand, which ignited my passion to find new applications for prefabricated housing.” Sean Roberts LinkedIn
“Alaina began her career in the sales department and worked her way up through a variety of roles, including land development and construction, before becoming the youngest division president at Taylor Morrison. On top of being a very sharp business leader, she is a truly caring person who uses her platform to create connections, support, and opportunities for others.” -—Dave Nielsen, CEO, Home Building Association of Greater Portland (Ore.)
“Savannah spent her childhood touring model home projects and communities completed by her family’s home building business, Ryder Homes. She started working for the company in an administrative position at the age of 16 and quickly moved up the ranks. As project manager, she is involved in every aspect of community development, from planning to sales and marketing. She is a pleasure to work with because of her creativeness, out-of-the-box thinking, and positive attitude. She is intelligent, with excellent communication skills. In an industry dominated by men, we need more women at her capacity.” —Steve Thomsen, VP, Ryder Homes
“I was lucky enough to have met Hayley when I moved to the Denver area in 2018. From the moment we met, I knew she was something special. Her drive and energy were matched by the twinkle in her eye and her inquisitiveness to soak up as much knowledge as possible. She is the first to dive in and enthusiastically and competently take on a project and make it successful. Her realistic, centered approach turns challenges and hurdles into opportunities. She is a force to be reckoned with and makes everything she touches better.” —Leah Fellows, owner, Blue Gypsy
“I am passionate about getting involved and stepping up to help the community, and I’ve made a promise to myself not to complain about something if I’m not willing to try to contribute to the solution. I am also passionate about mentorship, recognizing the incredible gift mentors have given me, and am working to pay it forward with my managers and encouraging them to do the same. Finally, I work tirelessly to improve myself; we are never perfect, we never have all of the answers, but every single day we can improve, every single day we can grow, and every single day gives us an opportunity to be the best version of ourselves.” Danny Steiger on LinkedIn
“Christopher’s journey in the industry began when he joined Esperanza Homes as an assistant superintendent in 2017, and since then his career has been marked by rapid growth and impressive accomplishments, from his early days as a superintendent to becoming the purchasing manager shortly thereafter and, by 2019, the VP of operations. He successfully merged four critical functions—Pre-Construction, Design, Purchasing, and Production—into a cohesive department. His exceptional leadership and strategic thinking have been instrumental to Esperanza Homes in driving efficiency, streamlining processes, and delivering the best possible customer experience. The company’s growth, from 89 starts and 47 closings per year to over 600 starts and 525 closings in 2022, is a testament to his ability to inspire and lead his team toward achieving their full potential.” —Monica Wheaton, VP of customer success, ECI Software Solutions
“Deana applies her expertise in research, business strategy, architectural design, and consumer insights to help clients in the housing industry make informed decisions. Her profound impact on the industry is further evidenced by her successful project management, strategic thinking, and ability to assemble the right teams. Her leadership skills and commitment to personal and professional growth have been demonstrated through her active involvement in industry organizations, such as the BIA (Building Industry Association) Bay Area, where she serves as the vice chair of associates.” —Mikaela Arroyo, VP, New Home Trends Institute and chief of staff, John Burns Research and Consulting
“Over the past 10-plus years, Ali has exhibited unwavering dedication in immersing herself as a student of the new-construction housing market. Her profound knowledge regarding the solutions offered by Zillow to her builder partners positions her as one of the most exceptional and consultative salespeople we’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing in action.” —Lucy Wohltman, SVP new construction, Pacaso
“Unemployed in 2009, Jim founded Silverthorne Homebuilders in the western suburbs of Chicago. He ended his first year in business with just two closings, but entered 2023 as the largest private builder in the Chicago housing market. Under his guidance, Silverthorne Homebuilders has generated $46 million in revenue, is on track to close 110 homes this year, and now employs 34 people. Along the way, he has donated his time to various organizations for the betterment of our industry while promoting and encouraging young people to enter the trades and building business.” —Skyler Phillips, marketing coordinator, Silverthorne Homebuilders