It's About People

Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh invites readers to check us out!
By Paul Deffenbaugh | October 31, 2005

I'm new here. I joined the magazine about three weeks ago but I've been in the residential construction industry for more than 20 years. A long time ago, I used to swing a hammer for a living, doing historic restoration in Fredericksburg, Va. I also built custom homes and did some light commercial work.

Before I took my first magazine job, I debated about how difficult it would be to move from the jobsite to the office. Jobsites are such social places, and the people I worked with had become my friends. I worried that I would be walled away from others and end up working in isolation. It was a curious fact to recognize about myself. I had always thought I was a bit of a loner. Instead, I discovered how much I enjoyed social interaction.

In the intervening years, I came to understand that I was not unique in that regard in the building community. In fact, I would hazard that being a social person is one of the keys to success for builders. You see, I don't believe building homes is really about either the homes or the building. It's about people.

To succeed, we need to establish relationships with our employees, our trade partners, our vendors, our community leaders, our bankers, our accountants and our marketing advisors. Without those relationships, no builder could succeed. And at the heart of each of those business relationships lives a direct, one-to-one, person-to-person interaction. Keep the other person happy, and that person will help you succeed.

Home building is a people business.

Don't get me wrong. I love a razor-sharp miter joint and the smell of a freshly excavated foundation as much as the next guy. But what gets me up in the morning is the chance to be around people.

Over the next few years, I look forward to meeting and speaking to as many of you as I can. I want to sit in your design centers, prowl your construction sites and meet your office staff. My job is to make this magazine an essential tool in the operation of your business. Believe me when I say that as in home building, editorial work is also a people business because for me to succeed, I have to keep you happy.

So do me a favor. Take some time with this month's issue. Read the articles, look at the projects, then drop me an email and let me know what you think. Bop over to and look around. How are we doing?

Evaluate us like you would a new saw. Are we being straight and true? Are we sharp? Do we have a handle on it? In exchange, I promise to keep the puns and silly tool analogies to a minimum.

I look forward to meeting you.



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