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Leading the Home Building Industry: Pro Builder's 2021 Forty Under 40

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Forty Under 40

Leading the Home Building Industry: Pro Builder's 2021 Forty Under 40

Meet our class of 2021—the rising stars in home building

By Mike Beirne, Senior Editor, and Caroline Broderick, Associate Editor April 8, 2021
Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40
This article first appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Pro Builder.

Surviving the Great Recession has become part of a home builder’s résumé to show that its team can run in the marathon. Add the ability to pivot and thrive during a pandemic and you’ll see the dominant talent exhibited by this year’s class of rising stars in Pro Builder’s Forty Under 40.

Among the Class of 2021’s accomplishments is the generation of record sales volume through all-virtual home shopping experiences, doubling leads by creating and growing online sales teams, building a digital platform that targets buyer groups, and training staff on how to engage prospects during the buying journey

Another trait shared by honorees is the ability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. For example, starting in the industry with no home-selling experience and rising to be a top producer, division manager, or even developing and leading the training regimen for new salespeople. Or launching a company with small carpentry jobs because there were no big-project prospects at the time and growing to become one of their markets’ leading custom home builders. How about the company VP who started as a new-home technician after graduating high school, or the project director who worked his way up through the ranks from entry-level draftsman.

Among the Class of 2021’s accomplishments is the generation of record sales volume through all-virtual home shopping experiences, doubling leads by creating and growing online sales teams, building a digital platform that targets buyer groups, and training staff on how to engage prospects during the buying journey. 

Several of our young leaders also took their family businesses to the next level by targeting 55+ buyers or streamlining selections so projects would move faster from contract to construction. Other members of the class started at the bottom as a laborer, bought the business from their boss and then flourished, one by repositioning his company to build high-performance homes and the other by expanding and opening a second office and hiring more staff. 

There are also a lot of firsts for women among this year’s winners, such as becoming their company’s first female VP of purchasing, first CEO, or the first senior manager for a national builder.

Off the clock, the next generation volunteers its services and talents to give back to communities at home and in other parts of the world. Pro Builder is proud to present the Forty Under 40 Class of 2021.



Pro Builder is proud to present the Forty Under 40 class of 2021

  • Alex Akel, 29, President / Owner, Akel Homes, Delray Beach, Fla.
  • Cory Benjamin, 39, Project Director, BIM Manager, TK Design & Associates, South Lyon, Mich.
  • Mitchell Bode, 39, EVP, Boone Homes, Richmond, Va.
  • Koby Bowen, 38, President / CEO of Construction and Design, Homes of Distinction, Rogers, Ark.
  • Kasey Brown, 32, Regional Purchasing Manager — East Tennessee, Goodall Homes, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Philip Chan, 37, Principal Architect, AIA, PDS Studio, Arcadia, Calif.
  • Meredith Chapman, 36, Area Sales Manager, K. Hovnanian Homes, Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Cory Charles, 36, National Sales Coach and Trainer, K. Hovnanian Homes, Matawan, N.J.
  • Alexa Drees Walker, 31, Design Center Director, Drees Homes, Fort Mitchell, Ky.
  • John Ferrucci, 38, President, Ferrucci Custom Homes, Manhattan, Ill.
  • Eder Gallardo, 35, VP, Edward’s Homes of El Paso, El Paso, Texas
  • Chris Garcia, 27, Founder, Cobalt Construction Management, Effingham, N.H.
  • Elise Goodell, 39, Director of Marketing Operations, Tri Pointe Homes, Irvine, Calif.
  • Andrew Gotlieb, 34, Business Development Director, Keystate Homes & Development, Cleveland
  • Lindsay Haltom, 39, Director of Marketing, Homes By Taber, Oklahoma City
  • Laura Hanson, 39, Marketing Manager, New Tradition Homes, Vancouver, Wash.
  • Mariel Heredia, 39, Director of Design, AIA, Van Metre Homes, Fairfax, Va.
  • Nikki James, 38, Studio Manager, Ashton Woods Homes, Dallas
  • Luke Kinser, 35, Managing Member, Owner, Virginia Builders, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Drew Lindsay, 37, President / Owner, Hammerwell, Boulder, Colo.
  • Maureen Luyun, 33, Regional Marketing Manager, D.R. Horton, Denver
  • Klynt Marcusse, 32Owner, Marcusse Construction, Hudsonville, Mich.
  • Blair McDaniel, 38, CEO, Alair Homes, Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Topher McLarty, 38, Director, Young Professionals Program, National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.
  • Andrew Owen, 31, Project Manager, Thrive Home Builders, Denver
  • Jared Phifer, 39, President, Revolve Design-Build, Denver
  • Carla Ramalho, 31, Product Manager, WernerCo., Itasca, Ill.
  • Kaylee Smith, 29, VP Sales and Marketing, Southern California, Landsea Homes, Irvine, Calif.
  • Steven Speer, 29, Senior Construction Superintendent and Safety Manager, Blackrock Builders, College Station, Texas
  • Adam Steiner, 35, Owner, Birnam Design Co., Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Scott Strayer, 37, President / Owner, Helen Scott Custom Builders, Barberton, Ohio
  • Jessie Suggs, 28, Online Sales Manager, Mungo Homes, Irmo, S.C.
  • Justin Thompson, 39, Regional Partner, Ontario and Ohio, Alair Homes, Toronto and Cleveland
  • Chelsea Timmons, 33, VP of Community Experience, Tri Pointe Homes, Austin, Texas
  • Karla Tuten, 29, Owner, Creative Director, Tuten Creative, Richmond Hill, Ga.
  • Alexis Udine, 37, Account Supervisor, Group Two Advertising, Philadelphia
  • Megan VanTassel, 37, Director of Marketing, The New Home Company, Roseville, Calif.
  • Aaron Wagner, 36, Director of Organizational Learning, New Home Star, Elmhurst, Ill. 
  • Kayla Watson, 31, VP Operations, Timbercraft Homes, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Kerri Woodward, 38, Director of Sales and Marketing, Chesapeake Homes, Virginia Beach, Va.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Alex Akel



Alex Akel, 29

President, Owner

Akel Homes

Delray Beach, Fla.


Education  • BA, Business Administration, The George Washington University • MDes, Real Estate Development and Finance, Harvard University

Certifications  • Florida Building Contractor

Accomplishments  • At age 25, founded Akel Homes with his father • Played a key role in launching a 55+ master planned community of 500 homes, which sold out in three years • Led the acquisition of 50 acres for $12.5 million and gained entitlements for 208 single-family lots for Villamar at Toscana Isles • Won six 2020 Aurora Awards • Finalist in the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Young Professional Awards • Is spearheading the predevelopment of a 2,500-acre land parcel, Wilson Grove, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Extracurricular  • Akel Cares partners with Feeding South Florida and other local nonprofits

Off the Clock  • Soccer • Running • Boating • Gaming • Spending time with family

Secret Life  • Perfecting his homemade pizza dough recipe






Cory Benjamin, 39

Project Director, BIM Manager

TK Design & Associates

South Lyon, Mich.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Cory Benjamin

Education  • BS, Architecture, Lawrence Technological University

Accomplishments  • Hired as an entry-level draftsman in 2015 and worked up the ranks to become project director

• Identified approximately $10 million in potential savings as an architectural consultant conducting Lean Week training and workshops across the country 

• Collaborator and co-author for award-winning project in the 2017 Global LafargeHolcim Awards. The project proposes sustainable solutions for Detroit’s 48204 ZIP code • Led the initiative to transition from CAD to BIM construction documentation and introduced several technical innovations to streamline operations • Created a custom BIM content library with hundreds of host components and subcomponents

Extracurricular  • Architectural consultant, True North Development

Off the Clock  • Playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, synthesizer

Secret Life  • Avid collector of guitars and amplifiers, which he uses in his home recording studio



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Mitchell Bode



Mitchell Bode, 39


Boone Homes

Richmond, Va.


Education  • MBA, Leadership Concentration, Liberty University • BA, Political Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University • Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University

Accomplishments  • Becoming president of Boone Homes, effective April 1, 2021 • 670 new lot acquisitions since October 2019 • Directly responsible for acquiring three new communities consisting of 148 developed lots and a potential 522 lots from three raw land acquisitions • Winner of multiple awards from the Home Building Association of Richmond

Extracurricular • 2020 president of the Home Building Association of Richmond, previously the Legislative Committee chairman • Regional VP, Home Builders Association (HBA) of Virginia, 2019-2020

Off the Clock  • Rooting for Virginia Tech football and basketball

Secret Life  • CrossFit aficionado






Koby Bowen, 38

President, CEO of Construction and Design

Homes of Distinction

Rogers, Ark.



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Koby Bowen

Education  • BS, Medical Sciences, University of Arkansas

Certifications  • Arkansas Contractors License

Accomplishments  • Becoming CEO in 2017 of her family’s building company • Won 2019 Best of Bentonville Residential Home Builder • 2019 Northwest Arkansas Parade of Homes Show Home Best Floor Plan, Best Kitchen, Best Master Suite, Best Curb Appeal, Best Overall • After becoming president, doubled the company’s size and tripled the number of projects completed per year

Extracurricular  • Northwest Arkansas Design Association board member  • Equestrian Bridges’ Mini Derby Committee member

Off the Clock  • Snowboarding • Wakeboarding • Surfing • Clay shooting

Secret Life  • A vegetarian cattle farm owner with a massive shoe collection




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Kasey Brown



Kasey Brown, 32

Regional Purchasing Manager — East Tennessee

Goodall Homes

Chattanooga, Tenn.


Education  • BS, Marketing, Louisiana Tech University

Accomplishments  • Developed a centralized regional purchasing and operations hub for six divisions across the country by standardizing operations, which improved net margins by +200 basis points • Worked to negotiate with manufacturers on behalf of all six divisions, streamlining regional purchasing contracts and growing national partnerships from two to 20 • Negotiated 4Corners Homes’ largest deal at $998,000 for one product line • Youngest person and the first woman to be named VP of purchasing operations at 4Corners Homes • Named one of Oklahoma’s next generation of leaders and achievers in the 2018 NextGen Under 30 awards

Extracurricular  • Member, Junior League of Chattanooga • Member, Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association • Volunteer with the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Chattanooga pet food pantry

Off the Clock  • Cooking • Crafting • Going to sporting events • Playing with her dogs

Secret Life  • Threw the opening pitch at the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers baseball game in 2019





Philip Chan, 37

Principal Architect, AIA 

PDS Studio

Arcadia, Calif.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Philip Chan

Education  • BA, Business Administration, University of California, Riverside

Accomplishments  • Designed more than 1 million square feet of new-construction single-family homes since opening PDS Studio in 2005, with a market value of more than half a billion dollars • Received Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the office of Congresswoman Judy Chu

• Recipient of 2018 Chinese Construction Professionals Outstanding Award • Featured on the cover of the Los Angeles Times, recognizing his contributions and the architectural impact of Chinese Americans in the San Gabriel Valley • Cut down on construction time and costs by implementing fast tracking with the help of BIM modeling and forming an in-house design team as project manager for his family’s company, Sunny Construction and Development

Extracurricular  • Board of directors and chair of the Technology Committee, Chinese American Construction Professionals (CACP) • Sponsor, CACP Scholarship Program
• Architectural Review Board Member of City of Arcadia Rancho Santa Anita Residents Association • Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity

Off the Clock  • Cycling • Playing soccer 

Secret Life  • Finds true inner peace when out in nature (even better if he’s snowboarding down mountains)




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Meredith Chapman



Meredith Chapman, 36

Area Sales Manager

K. Hovnanian Homes

Dallas-Fort Worth


Education  • BS, Public Administration, minor in Interior Design, Texas State University

Accomplishments  • 3X Sales Consultant of the Year, K. Hovnanian Homes – DFW • Sold and closed more than $20 million for six consecutive years • National Sales Consultant of the Year 2019, K. Hovnanian Homes • Took DFW division from losing $4 million per year to making $18 million in 2020 • Increased sales 17% and closings 40% year over year from 2019 to 2020 • First female leader for K. Hovnanian Homes

Extracurricular  • Founding member, Austin Angels, national foster care organization with 22 chapters across the country • Member, Jeff Shore Leadership Roundtable

Off the Clock  • Working out • Traveling • Crushing it as a single mom with a full-time career

Secret Life  • Tricking out the car stereo system for her hip-hop and rap obsession





Cory Charles, 36

National Sales Coach and Trainer

K. Hovnanian Homes

Matawan, N.J.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Cory Charles

Education  • BA, Multimedia Design, International Academy of Design and Technology – Orlando

Accomplishments  • Created new-hire training and strategy for Taylor Morrison, contributing to the company’s status as America’s Most Trusted Builder • Went from zero home-sales experience in 2013 to National Sales Trainer for Taylor Morrison in 2017 • Created the course Salesology Sales Training for ApostleTech • Top producer for K. Hovnanian Homes • Southeast Building Conference speaker

Extracurricular  • Volunteer for Give Kids the World Village, Meals on Wheels, and Relay For Life

Off the Clock  • Enjoys basketball, football, soccer, and cars 

Secret Life  • Recovered glossophobic (fear of public speaking) and autism “dad”vocate



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Alexa Drees Walker



Alexa Drees Walker, 31

Design Center Director

Drees Homes

Fort Mitchell, Ky.


Education  • BFA, Interior Design, Miami University

Accomplishments  • Created Drees Homes’ Jacksonville, Fla., design center and selection program • Shifted design selection appointments to virtual, which is now a best practice companywide • 95% customer satisfaction or higher for past three years • Created “The Curated Home” program, which cut contract-to-construction time by two weeks • Co-presented at IBSx on today’s design studio customer experience

Extracurricular  • Member, The Sales Process Task Force, Drees Homes; The Customer Portal Committee, Drees Homes • Organizer of the Diocese of Covington Children’s Home Annual Holiday Party for 10-plus years

Off the Clock  • Cheering on the Cincinnati Reds • Attending concerts • Running and biking (other favorite activities on pause)

Secret Life  • Living in a 115-year-old home despite her love of designing new homes





John Ferrucci, 38


Ferrucci Custom Homes

Manhattan, Ill.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee John Ferrucci

Education  • High school diploma

Accomplishments  • Began his career as a laborer, after dropping out of vocational school to gain hands-on experience, became a carpenter and, eventually, president of his own company • Hired as superintendent of development and new construction at age 23 • Opened his own company during the Great Recession, with a newborn at home. Grew from small carpentry jobs to room remodels, whole-house remodeling, entry-level townhome construction, and then, ultimately, upscale custom homes

Extracurricular  • Sponsors local community groups: Lincoln-Way Swim Association Gators swim team, Lincoln-Way Wrestling Club, and other youth organizations

Off the Clock  • Looking for the next adventure with his family

Secret Life  • Deep-sea fishing and escaping the bustle of life on his boat



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Eder Gallardo

Education  • High school diploma

Certifications  • Licensed real estate agent in Texas and New Mexico

Accomplishments  • 2019 Construction Manager of the Year, Texas Association of Builders’ Star Awards • Ranked the No. 6 Latino individual agent in the nation by The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals in 2018 • Hired as a new-home delivery technician in 2010. Worked his way up the ranks and was promoted to VP in 2020 • Able to show gratitude to El Paso Children’s Hospital, which treated his son, with an ICU room named after Gallardo’s child

Extracurricular  • Sponsor partner, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Home Run for the Homeless, El Paso Children’s Hospital, Boy Scouts of America, Young Professional Network, Socorro Independent School District Son & Father Educational Program

Off the Clock  • Spending time with family • Golf • Cooking • Travel 

Secret Life  • Loves work so much, he says it feels like a fun hobby





Chris Garcia, 27


Cobalt Construction Management

Effingham, N.H.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Chris Garcia

Education  • BS, Marketing, Franklin Pierce University

Accomplishments  • Managing more than $8 million worth of work within the first six months of forming Cobalt Construction Management • Hired as project manager for the University of New Hampshire’s projects years after being rejected from the school as a student • Opened Cobalt Construction Management in July 2020 at the age of 27 • Custom lake home project graced the cover of Down East magazine in summer 2020

Extracurricular  • Volunteer, historical revitalization of Effingham’s town hall and town library

Off the Clock  • Exploring New Hampshire with his dogs • Milking cows, watching the cattle, and making new pasture

Secret Life  • Co-owns Cobalt Farm • Loves off-the-grid, remote homes, despite building traditional projects for his business



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Elise Goodell



Elise Goodell, 39

Director of Marketing Operations

Tri Pointe Homes

Irvine, Calif.


Education  • BA, Communications, Arizona State University

Certifications  • NAHB Certified New Home Marketing Professional

Accomplishments • Launched a pre-marketing campaign for a master planned community resulting in thousands of leads and visitors • Key player in the launch of five master planned communities  • Pivoted to all-virtual home shopping experience for master planned community resulting in record sales volume and price points in the submarket • 2019 HBA of Central Arizona MAME XXXIV Marketing Manager/Director of the Year award recipient

Extracurricular  • Former member, Maracay Homes’ Community Outreach Committee • Marketing in Construction instructor at Arizona State University

Off the Clock  • Hiking • Skiing • Gardening • Making art 

Secret Life  • Graced with a green thumb, which she uses on her 500- square-foot produce garden





Andrew Gotlieb, 34

Business Development Director

Keystate Homes & Development



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Andrew Gotlieb

Education  • BA, City and Region Planning/Urban Geology, The Ohio State University • Master of Urban Planning, Design, Development, and Real Estate Finance, Cleveland State University

Accomplishments  • Best Architectural Design, Building Industry Association (BIA) of Central Ohio • Best Green Built Custom Home in the Cleveland market, HBA of Greater Cleveland, 2020 award • Grew family business into a regional leader in green building practices in Northeast Ohio 

Extracurricular  • Board member, board of trustees, HBA of Greater Cleveland • Committee member, Education and Membership Committee, HBA of Greater Cleveland • Adjunct professor, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

Off the Clock  • Exploring Cleveland parks with his dog • Learning Hebrew

Secret Life  • Enjoys analyzing land zoning and development layouts for fun




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Lindsay Haltom



Lindsay Haltom, 39

Director of Marketing

Homes By Taber

Oklahoma City


Education  • BA, Business Administration in Marketing, The University of Texas Permian Basin

Accomplishments  • Developed and built the Homes By Taber marketing team from the ground up • Created the company’s online sales team, which has doubled the company’s leads • Has grown sales by an average of 20% per year since joining Taber in 2015 • Spearheaded development of three new websites, doubling web traffic 

Extracurricular  • Zillow Forum, New Construction Department • Volunteer, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma; Infant Crisis Services • Organizer for the Taber Cares initiative, selecting a charity each month

Off the Clock  • Working out • Reading books or listening to audiobooks • Spending time with family

Secret Life  • Has completed more than 200 Peloton rides and starts every day by hitting the gym






Laura Hanson, 39

Marketing Manager

New Tradition Homes

Vancouver, Wash.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Laura Hanson

Education  • BA, Public Relations/Communications, Western Washington University

Accomplishments  • Began new campaigns at the onset of the pandemic and leveraged virtual showings to reach record-breaking sales • Helped lead the rebranding of New Tradition Homes • As part of the company’s Building Science Team, led the effort that garnered New Tradition Homes seven National Energy Star Partner of the Year awards • Designing, staging, and merchandising award-winning model homes, including the 2020 Best Interior Decorating Model Homes, Best Master Suite, and Best Home Design Model Homes in the 2020 Parade of Homes

Extracurricular  • Mentor, Teach One to Lead One • Sponsor partner, Race for Warmth • Organizer for New Tradition Homes’ community projects

Off the Clock  • Hiking • Paddling • Anything outdoors

Secret Life  • Loves to garden and grow produce for her family



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Mariel Heredia



Mariel Heredia, 39

Director of Design, AIA

Van Metre Homes

Fairfax, Va.


Education  • BA, Architecture, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

Certifications  • Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist

Accomplishments  • Moved to Virginia from Puerto Rico and landed a position as a senior drafter soon after arriving • Became a licensed architect while on maternity leave with her 2-month-old son and a 3-year-old at home • Managed construction and represented her firm for two 120-plus–unit projects • Led initiative for creating all of the materials take-offs for active house products • Designed and oversaw the development of 11 new conceptual designs for an upcoming community 

Extracurricular  • Coordinator, Latin America Impact group, McLean Bible Church • Member, Steering Committee, Van Metre Women’s Leadership Group

Off the Clock  • Working on home-improvement projects

Secret Life  • A human tape measure, able to accurately approximate dimensions by eye






Nikki James, 38

Studio Manager

Ashton Woods Homes



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Nikki James

Education  • BA, Communications, The University of Kansas

Accomplishments  • Promoted to general sales manager at the age of 28 after being with the company for three years • Two-time recipient of Dallas Builders Association McSAM Awards for Best Interior Design Studio • Increased sign-offs by 36% year over year, with just two employees • Managed construction of 8,000-square-foot award-winning design studio • Maintains a cycle time average of 30 days

Extracurricular  • Co-chair, Dallas Builders Association first virtual McSAM Awards

Off the Clock  • Running • Activities with her two children

Secret Life  • Loves to go hunting, but never does the actual hunting




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Luke Kinser



Luke Kinser, 35

Managing Member, Owner

Virginia Builders

Chesapeake, Va.


Education  • BA, Communications, Longwood University

Accomplishments  • Became part owner of Summit Construction, switching operations from a production builder with “cookie-cutter” models to a semi-custom builder at the same volume • Has closed more than $30 million in real estate since opening in 2018 • Is in the process of developing three new communities by the end of 2021 • Won 2019 Coastal Virginia Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for New Homes • Built St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway Home in 2010

Extracurricular  • Contributes to the Navy SEAL Foundation for every home sold • Member, Coastal Virginia Building Industry Association board of directors and Entrepreneur Organization

Off the Clock  • Playing drums, piano, and bass guitar—by ear

Secret Life  • Can often be found fixing up his 1968 Ford Bronco • Broke his leg while break dancing at his own wedding





Drew Lindsay, 37

President, Owner


Boulder, Colo.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Drew Lindsay

Education  • Green Building Certificate, Colorado State University

Certifications  • Certified Passive House Trades-person training, Emu Systems

Accomplishments  • Began as a laborer/carpenter for Hammerwell in 2001, became company owner in 2016 • Doubled Hammerwell’s staff and opened a second office within five years of taking over • Superintendent for the Canadian Consulate in Denver’s World Trade Center at the age of 20 • Shifted focus to building high-performance homes and embracing building science as a standard

Extracurricular  • Sponsor, Colorado Green Building Guild, and AIA Colorado’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program for young architects

Off the Clock  • Coaches youth sports • Camping • Hiking • Biking • Fishing

Secret Life • Dog dad to a tiny Yorkie, two pugs, and a big Samoyed



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Maureen Luyun



Maureen Luyun, 33 

Regional Marketing Manager

D.R. Horton



Education  • BA, English, Secondary Education, University of Texas at Austin

Accomplishments  • Built a digital platform based on inventory and buyer targets of divisions in multiple states and organized staff training sessions • Increased digital traffic to community sites and increased brand awareness in key regions by unifying D.R. Horton’s brand and marketing best practices • Opened 11 retail centers within 18 weeks to launch an operating division; trained the sales team and activated outreach to real estate agents to introduce D.R. Horton to the Des Moines, Iowa, market, resulting in a significant annual sales increase • Created strategy, timeline, and process for an email marketing campaign that increased traffic for a new community launch and exceeded sales goals

Off the Clock  • Traveling and exploring the culinary scene, live music, and beaches

Secret Life  • Plays the flute • Majored in English, which is not her first language





Klynt Marcusse, 32 


Marcusse Construction

Hudsonville, Mich.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Klynt Marcusse

Education  • High school diploma

Accomplishments  • Quit college and started a one-man construction company at age 22, which grew into one of the region’s leading custom home builders, employing several project managers and designers • Developed proprietary finance and scheduling software that allows managers to schedule build steps and homeowners to see progress and updates • Getting accepted as a member of builders’ buying group • Self-taught architect for all of the homes he builds

Extracurricular  • Active church member • Fundraised for and worked at Mount of Olives Children’s Village, in Baja, Mexico • Financially supports church in Vista, Calif., that ministers to alcohol and drug addicts

Off the Clock  • Adventure • Reading science fiction • Bible reading • Slalom water skiing • Target shooting

Secret Life   • Starts work at 3 a.m. so he can get home by early evening to help his wife, Marie, care for their five children • Pilot who flies Marie to restaurant dates by helicopter • For-hire vocals soloist at weddings and musicals • Free-climbed 350 feet up a radio tower



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Blair McDaniel



Blair McDaniel, 38


Alair Homes

Nanaimo, British Columbia


Education  • Real Property Administration, The University of British Columbia

Accomplishments  • Launched a construction management network in 2007 for custom home builders and remodeling franchisees that has scaled up to include 125 locations in the U.S. and Canada • In less than seven years, helped build the largest luxury custom home franchise system in North America with more than 111 offices in five provinces and 13 states • Introduced the Regional Community Managers program in 2019 to support local outreach to renovate homes for disabled teens and veterans, the Ronald McDonald House Program, and families affected by fire

Extracurricular  • Supports multiple charities through the Alair Partners Network

Off the Clock  • Cedar strip boat building • Off-roading • Snowmobiling • Stand-up Jet Skiing • Wakeboarding • Waterskiing • Playing guitar

Secret Life  • With his wife, homeschooled their children in a 40-foot RV while visiting Alair offices throughout the southern U.S.






Topher McLarty, 38 

Director, Young Professionals Program

National Association of Home Builders

Washington, D.C.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Topher McLarty

Education  • BA, Business Administration, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Accomplishments  • Increased NAHB’s Young Professionals (YP) Program’s social media footprint by 35% in its first year and implemented strategic plan to grow outreach nationwide • Enhanced value of YP membership with directory and mentorship program for more than 600 chapters and launched YP-focused week during NAHB’s Careers in Construction month • Grew social media membership and content engagement 105% since start (online presence)
• Created and implemented the Leading Suppliers Council Spark Award to recognize suppliers and manufacturers

Extracurricular  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

Off the Clock  • Cycling • Reading bios of musicians • Hiking • Camping • Skiing • The Washington Nationals • 100-mile Bike to the Beach fundraising for autism awareness

Secret Life  • Has hiked the 220-mile John Muir Trail




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Andrew Owen



Andrew Owen, 31

Project Manager

Thrive Home Builders



Education  • High school diploma

Certifications  • Trench safety training • Erosion control • High-performance mechanicals • HVAC

Accomplishments  • Reduced cycle times by an average of 106 days through diligent communication with vendors and cut unexpected costs by $1,800 per closing by working with purchasing and subs to capture costs • Overcame pandemic obstacles to build Thrive’s Ultimate Z.E.N. demonstration home—the builder’s first completely electric and zero carbon home—in record time • Leaped from being assistant construction manager to construction manager via a combination of professional growth—earning multiple certifications—and on-the-job learning

Off the Clock  • Golf • Darts • The Denver Broncos • Food drives • Goodwill • Cystic fibrosis runs/walks • Community service at the local library





Jared Phifer, 39


Revolve Design-Build



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Jared Phifer

Certifications  • Passive House Institute Certified Passive House Tradesperson • General contractor

Accomplishments  • Acquired the company he worked for from its owner, survived the Great Recession, grew the business from doing small remodels to whole-house remodels, to opening an in-house cabinetry shop and, ultimately, to doing new-home construction as a design/build firm • Attained Passive House certification, which has enabled Revolve to market its homes as LEED certified and built to Passive House standards

Off the Clock  • Fly fishing • Meditation • Reading • Hiking

Secret Life  • Dad was in the Army and the family lived in Germany until moving back to the U.S. for high school • Can play drums, bass, guitar, and banjo



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Carla Ramalho



Carla Ramalho, 31

Product Manager


Itasca, Ill.


Education  • MBA, Organizational Behavior, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management • BA, Marketing, Northern Illinois University

Accomplishments  • Part of team that developed Werner’s lightest 375-pound multi-position ladder, which oversold its targeted goal by more than double • Part of launch team for Werner’s Aluminum Adjustable Pro Work Platform, which reached its $2.5 million annual sales goal in three months and earned the brand 2020 Innovation Partner of the Year recognition from Lowe’s • At 24, led development of road maps for product development for more than 30 countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region

Extracurricular  • Involved in WernerCo Women’s Inclusion Network promoting a culture of gender diversity and inclusion

Off the Clock  • Painting • Travel

Secret Life  • Born and lived in Brazil until moving to the U.S. at age 16





Kaylee Smith, 29

VP Sales and Marketing, Southern California

Landsea Homes

Irvine, Calif.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Kaylee Smith

Education  • BA, Business Administration, California State University San Marcos

Accomplishments  • Led rebranding of Landsea Homes with new corporate website, brand standards, and national rollout in three divisions • Provided vision and led team of interior designers, landscape architects, and marketing agency for Lido Villas project, which was named 2019 Best Multifamily Model Home by the NAHB National Sales and Marketing Council • Promoted to VP of sales and marketing at age 26 • Graduated from college after attending school and working full time simultaneously for two years

Off the Clock  • Pilates • Spin cycling • Fly fishing

Secret Life  • Celebrates destination Thanksgiving in a new city every year with immediate family from Colorado and California



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Steven Speer



Steven Speer, 29 

Senior Construction Superintendent and Safety Manager

Blackrock Builders

College Station, Texas


Education  • BBA, Finance, Texas A&M

Certifications  • NAHB Certified Green Professional • NAHB Certified Graduate Builder • NAHB Certified New Home Sales Professional • OSHA 30

Accomplishments  • Rose from rookie superintendent to senior builder in five years • Named Superintendent of the Year in 2018 by the Texas Association of Builders • Piloted a safety program that won NAHB’s Safety Award for Excellence in 2017 and 2019 • Named Safety Champion of the Year by NAHB in 2018 and 2019 • Built and closed more than 130 homes in just six years

Extracurricular  • Works with BuildAid to help families affected by natural disasters • Advised area builders on adopting and adjusting their pandemic safety programs

Off the Clock  • Fishing • Competition clay shooting • Outdoor DIY projects

Secret Life  • Played violin as a child • Recreational Bigfoot hunter





Adam Steiner, 35 


Birnam Design Co.

Valparaiso, Ind.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Adam Steiner

Accomplishments  • Was director of new-home design when Creative Homes won Housing First Minnesota’s Twin Cities Builder of the Year in 2019 • Helped grow father’s business in 2006 to 40 build-on-your-lot homes by 2016 • Began designing homes during college • Started his own home design firm in 2020, acquired 10 semi-custom and custom home builder clients, and posted a profit during the first year

Extracurricular  • Host of the “Builder vs. Buyer” podcasts • Designed website and branding for Anew, a nonprofit that offers training and education for single mothers • Supports Mommy’s Haven shelter home for young, single mothers • Guitarist for church worship bank

Off the Clock  • Trail running • Hiking • Biking

Secret Life  • On his desk are the drafting tools his grandfather used to hand-draw the homes he built • Solid wilderness navigator when armed with a compass and topographic map • Purdue graduate who is an Ohio State football fan



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Scott Strayer



Scott Strayer, 37 

President, Owner

Helen Scott Custom Builders

Barberton, Ohio


Education  • BA, Business Administration, minor in Construction Management, The University of Akron

Certifications  • Realtor

Accomplishments  • In 2014, was the youngest president of the Portage and Summit Counties HBA; focused association’s efforts on workforce development • Four-time HBA Builder of the Year and multiple Akron enVision Awards winner • Since taking over the business in 2007, has achieved year-over-year growth by streamlining daily operations and the building process and implementing new tech and software. Company grew from one custom home per year to 17 in 2020 and now generates $10 million in annual revenue

Extracurricular  • Co-chair Rebuilding Together • Built cabins for special-needs children at Akron Rotary Camp • Habitat for Humanity

Off the Clock  • ATV • Watching Cleveland pro sports

Secret Life  • Wants to live on a boat in retirement and sail parts of the Atlantic, the Great Lakes, various inland rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico






Jessie Suggs, 28 

Online Sales Manager

Mungo Homes

Irmo, S.C.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Jessie Suggs

Education  • BS, Exercise Science, University of South Carolina

Accomplishments  • Led online sales team that handled over 10,000 leads and generated more than $146 million in sales revenue in 2020 • The same sales team won the Online Sales Team of the Year Silver Award in NAHB’s 2019 and 2020 The Nationals • Three-time honoree of Mungo Homes’ CEO Circle of Excellence • In 2018, received the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina’s Internet Leads Specialist of the Year award

Off the Clock  • Travel • Exercise • Animals • Board games • Hiking • Discovering local breweries • Golf • Reading mysteries and crime books

Secret Life  • Initially went to college to study dentistry



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Justin Thompson



Justin Thompson, 39

Regional Partner, Ontario and Ohio

Alair Homes

Toronto and Cleveland


Education  • Tourism, Thompson Rivers University

Credentials  • Canadian British Columbia helicopter ski guide

Accomplishments  • Before joining Alair as partner, had started a general maintenance business for cottages in Georgian Bay, Ontario, and a timber-frame home building company • Described as the “King of Culture.” After joining Alair’s custom home builder/remodeler network of 25 offices and 100 people in Ontario, used his unique coaching style, and ability to leverage the expertise of employees, to unite everyone in a shared mission, transforming the existing group of silos into a collective of like-minded offices working together • Launched a mental health and wellness awareness initiative in 2021 for trades and the community

Extracurricular  • Hockey Helps the Homeless

Off the Clock  • Golf • Alpine skiing • Ice hockey • Fishing • Boating

Secret Life  • Competed as a sponsored whitewater kayaker • Speaks French






Chelsea Timmons, 33 

VP of Community Experience

Tri Pointe Homes

Austin, Texas


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Chelsea Timmons

Education  • BA, Political Science, The University of Texas at Austin

Accomplishments  • As an inexperienced temp/sales assistant, chronicled her learning of industry jargon and unfamiliar terms, which eventually became a 200-page onboarding manual that led to a training program for 27 junior sales reps • Named Sales Manager of the Year in 2019 and 2020 by the HBA of Greater Austin • Set a personal goal to become a senior manager by age 40. Became a sales manager at 30 and attained her current title at the age of 33

Extracurricular  • Board of directors and chapter president, HBA Austin, Hays County • Co-chair, sales and marketing council of HBA of Greater Austin • Volunteer for Community First! Village, a residential program for formerly homeless people • Fundraising for Austin Angels

Off the Clock  • Local church volunteer

Secret Life  • Fluent in American Sign Language • Transferred baton twirling skills to twirling pens during meetings • Has never ever eaten a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Karla Tuten



Karla Tuten, 29

Owner, Creative Director

Tuten Creative

Richmond Hill, Ga.


Education  • BA, Graphic Design, University of Georgia

Accomplishments  • Reinvented a local builder’s visual identity, introduced virtual tours, updated models, and retrained the sales team to deliver a great homebuying experience  • Created an in-depth photo library, co-wrote the sales process manual, redesigned and managed construction of a new sales office, and co-managed sales teams in four markets • Started Tuten Creative in 2019 and won Best Website and Best Printed Material nods at the HBA of Greater Savannah Sales and Marketing Summit Awards

Extracurricular  • AIGA member • HBA of Greater Savannah Sales and Marketing Council • Delta Phi Lambda • Hosts annual food drive for Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens • Raises funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Feeding America, and a local animal shelter

Off the Clock  • Tennis • Yoga • Jogging • Restored a 1978 postal jeep

Secret Life  • Acrobatic yoga • Aerial skills • Dance trapeze






Alexis Udine, 37 

Account Supervisor

Group Two Advertising



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Alexis Udine

Education  • MA, Elementary Education, Rosemont College • BA, Marketing, University of Delaware 

Certifications  • Realtor

Accomplishments  • Worked her way up from account manager to senior account manager and then account supervisor for customer relationships
• Developed unique two-sided perspective by merging her marketing, online sales, and community management experience for a builder with her personal journey as a buyer of two new-construction homes • Expert presenter about 55+ market at IBS, NAHB Builder 20 clubs, and at the 2018 Builder MT and Sales Simplicity Summit

Extracurricular  • Fundraising for The ALS Genius Fund, Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation • Local school volunteer

Off the Clock  • Running • Yoga • Trying new restaurants • Binging on Netflix

Secret Life  • Taught preschool and third grade • She and her husband, Joe, attended the same preschool and were high school sweethearts



Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Megan VanTassel



Megan VanTassel, 37

Director of Marketing

The New Home Company

Roseville, Calif.


Education  • BA, Liberal Arts, minor in Sociology, Loyola Marymount University, cum laude

Accomplishments  • Executed marketing for three national award-winning master planned communities • Chair for the Sales and Marketing Council for the North State BIA; chairperson for the counsel, and emcee for the annual MAME (Major Achievement in Market Excellence) gala • Has held posts in land acquisition, project management, forward planning, and sales management, resulting in cross-functional department experience

Extracurricular  • Volunteer painter for shelter facilities • 10K race organizer to benefit local food bank • The New Home Company charity golf tournament • Hands 4 Hope L.A. • Koinonia Foster Homes

Off the Clock  • Long walks • Bike rides • Listening to podcasts • Spa days

Secret Life  • Played Division I college volleyball as a setter





Aaron Wagner, 36 

Director of Organizational Learning

New Home Star

Elmhurst, Ill. 


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Aaron Wagner

Education  • MS, Organizational Leadership and Change Management Special-ization, Colorado State University • BA, Communications, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Certifications  • Military Relocation Professional 

Accomplishments  • Created and managed leadership development program that graduated sales directors who generated more sales volume in 2020 and earned higher satisfaction scores • Salesperson of the Year for Colorado South division during first full year of selling homes • Won National Sales Director of the Quarter award while managing sales team in Melbourne, Fla.

Extracurricular  • Volunteer on New Home Star community outreach projects • Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership

Off the Clock  • Woodworking • Playing piano, drums, and guitar

Secret Life  • Paints a perfectly clean edge with a wide brush without taping • Has an impressive collection of colorful socks • Built a guitar from scratch




Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Kayla Watson



Kayla Watson, 31

VP Operations

Timbercraft Homes

Oklahoma City, Okla.


Education  • BA, Interior Design, University of Central Oklahoma

Accomplishments  • Started as design intern, worked full time while finishing last two years of college • Promoted to director of construction at age 27 whereupon she cleaned house, hired committed employees, and implemented a centralized scheduling and accountability process with trade parters that reduced build time by 150 days • Redesigned quality-check program between supers and a third-party inspector, which dropped the average warranty request per house after closing to one during 2020, and no warranty requests during two quarters of last year

Extracurricular  • Fundraising for St. Jude Dream Home • Constructed playhouse for the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Off the Clock  • Spending time with the Golden Girls (retrievers) Avery and Basil • Oklahoma State football and Kansas City Chiefs fan






Kerri Woodward, 38 

Director of Sales and Marketing

Chesapeake Homes

Virginia Beach, Va.


Pro Builder 2021 Forty Under 40 awardee Kerri Woodward

Education  • BS, Business Management, Virginia Wesleyan University

Certifications  • NAHB Certified New Home Sales Professional • Licensed principal broker, Va. • Licensed broker in charge, N.C.

Accomplishments  • Learned the home sales process by observing new-home specialists while working as a front desk greeter • Sold 40 homes during her first year to become Chesapeake’s sales volume leader • Created an agent-in-training program and increased number of staff from four to 20 • Merged sales teams from three divisions into an in-house brokerage, reducing costs and providing benefits for full-time employees • Created an online sales program that generated 50% of 2020 sales and a design studio experience that boosted options sales by 20% 

Extracurricular  • Habitat for Humanity • Finance chair and Sunday school teacher for local church • Fundraising for Samaritan House • U.S. Youth Soccer and Little League coach

Off the Clock  • Going to the beach • Being outdoors • Read-ing a good, spiritual book  



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