Meet Professional Builder's 40 Under 40 class for 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.

By David Barista, Editor-in-Chief, and Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor | March 12, 2012
Meet Professional Builder's 40 Under 40 class for 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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PB-Leadership,PB-Awards,PB-Professional Builder 40 Under 40
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