Miller and Smith celebrates 50 years of building homes in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Long before email, cloud drives, and smartphones, two young Harvard Business School grads sat down at their typewriters and, separated by hundreds of miles, began to craft a plan to transform their graduate school project on the home building industry into reality. With the Washington, D.C., market as their foundation, they researched the existing competition. They scouted land. They persuaded family members to invest. They developed financial projections for “realistic,” “optimistic,” and “pessimistic” scenarios.
Miller and SmithFounded: 1964 by Gordon Smith and David MillerHeadquarters: McLean, Va.Employees: 144Closings: 369 (2013)Gross revenue: $238 million (2013)President: Douglas I. Smith
Different by Design
1961Gordon V. Smith and David N. Miller discuss starting a home building company.1964Miller and Smith begins full-time operations with $32,000 in cash. David Miller and Gordon Smith agree to pay themselves each $700 every month in salary and no paid vacation for the first year.1967The firm builds a contemporary-style community on 65 acres purchased from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Miller and Smith names the development Wessynton in a nod to a British version of George Washington’s surname.1970Builders sell a total of 485,000 new homes in the United States.1974Miller and Smith closes 122 homes and generates $22 million in revenue.1981Mortgage rates soar to a national average of 16.63 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan.1984Rezones a former gravel pit and its surrounding land into Kingstowne, a 1,300-acre mixed-use development with retail, office, and 5,800 homes in Fairfax County, Va.1987Purchases Providence Savings and Loan Association.1988Buys stock in Freddie Mac, providing a significant financial cushion for the company.1994Closes 279 homes and generates $63 million in revenue. Sells Providence Savings and Loan Association.2002Doug Smith becomes president of Miller and Smith.2004Closes 384 homes and generates $175 million.2005Sales for new homes peak at 1.283 million in the United States.2011New-home sales plummet to a record low of 306,000.2013Opens One Loudoun, a 358-acre high-density, pedestrian-friendly development with office, retail, and 1,040 homes near a new Metro station in Loudoun County, Va.2014Celebrates 50 years of home building.