Home Building Industry Leaders: Pro Builder's Forty Under 40 Class of 2020

Meet home building's next generation of rising stars

March 5, 2020
Pro Builder Forty Under 40 leadership awards logo
Background photo: Ammak / stock.adobe.com

Disruption may be in danger of becoming an overused word in the home building industry, perhaps because it’s often used in the same sentence as digital marketing. Yet this year’s Forty Under 40 class shows that those who adapt to change won’t just survive but will thrive. For example, honorees in the sales and marketing discipline who increased sales volume by double digits, expanded their companies with new divisions, or increased web traffic, have backstories that involve mastering tech tools such as digital analytics, podcasts, and social media video, as well as using data to accurately target homebuyers with personalized outreach or taking on virtual reality consumer research projects.

On the construction side, some of our Class of 2020 members leveraged their college construction management or finance degrees to start their own companies, or learned about home construction because the Great Recession pushed them to pivot from just selling land. One winner was building houses while pursuing an associate’s degree one class at a time for seven years and learned how to operate an impressive list of heavy construction equipment along the way to closing more than 100 homes.

 

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This next generation of leaders is well-traveled, with experience studying abroad, stints working in South Africa, North Africa, and Afghanistan, mission trips to South America, and deployments to Iraq. “Help somebody” also could be a motto for this group, demonstrated by their volunteer work, charity fundraising, mentoring, and other outreach efforts when they’re off the clock.

 

Pro Builder is proud to present the Forty Under 40 class of 2020

 

 

2020 Forty Under 40 winner John Allen

 

John Allen, 38

President

Brown Haven Homes

Blairsville, Ga.

Education

• BS, Family and Consumer Economics, University of Georgia

Accomplishments

• Started a land development business before the Great Recession and taught himself to build houses on that land • Survived the downturn while paying 100% of financial obligations to trade partners, suppliers, employees, and the bank while going without a paycheck himself • Grew from a developer stuck with 60 lots in 2008 to a build-on-your-land custom builder with 160 closings in 2019 in Georgia and the Carolinas

Off the Clock

• Travel • Boating • Basketball • Reading anything by John Maxwell 

Extracurricular

• Brown Haven Cares allows employees to request donations up to $500 to the cause of their choice. It has donated more than $30,000 to over 50 organizations since 2018 • Coach, SMA Consulting Group • Member, YPO

Secret Life

• Consumes an enormous number of podcasts

 

 

2020 Forty Under 40 winner Chris Bergh

 

Chris Bergh, 37

Partner, Director of Construction

Pohlig Homes

Malvern, Pa.

Education

• BS, Construction Systems Management, Ohio State University

Accomplishments

• Interned as a field laborer while a college sophomore and transitioned to senior project manager in 2009, assisting with $200 million in custom home sales during the next 10 years and personally overseeing more than $85 million in projects • Worked at every level of the company and is comfortable with laborers and super-intendents in the field, leading from the C-suite, and focusing on customer satisfaction when meeting with clients • Promoted to current role in 2017 and named a principal and plan successor

Extracurricular

• NAHB Builder 20 Club • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art • Habitat for Humanity • Chester County Food Bank 

Off the Clock

• Austin City Limits Music Festival • Cooking • High-stakes fantasy football • Golf

 

 

2020 Forty Under 40 winner Cassian Bernard

 

Cassian Bernard, 37

VP, Sales and Marketing 

M/I Homes

Dallas

Education

• MBA, University of Dallas • BA, Advertising, minor in Psychology, Southern Methodist University

Accomplishments

• Coached and fostered strong partnerships across sales team to exceed 2019 sales goal by 43%, selling 500 homes compared with 295 homes in 2018, and earned a 93% “definitely would recommend” score • NAHB 2020 Nationals Gold, Sales Manager of the Year • McSam Awards in Dallas/Fort Worth metro, 2019 Sales Manager of the Year • Promoted from area sales manager to director of sales and then to current position in just one year 

Extracurricular 

• Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Roundtable alumni • Dallas Builders Association Young Professionals • McSam Committee • Boys & Girls Clubs • Pelatonia • GLAAD • Guest lecturer on sales and leadership at University of Dallas

Off the Clock

• Designing high-end custom homes he enjoys living in; currently working on a modern farmhouse

Secret Life

• Breezed through a Nickelodeon game show trivia contest at 11 years old

 

 

2020 Forty Under 40 winner Richard Calderon

 

Richard Calderon, 36

Realtor

Rose & Womble Realty, New Homes Division, QHOC Homes

Virginia Beach, Va.

Credentials

• National Association of Realtors: Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource, Pricing Strategy Advisor, Accredited Buyer’s Representative • National Affordable Housing Management Association: Low Income Housing Tax Credit Certification • National Apartment Association: Certified Apartment Manager

Accomplishments

• Presold 70% of Phase 1 of Windswept Pines before it opened and was responsible for 41% of new-home sales over the next 15 months • Started a monthly workshop about using social media and video marketing, which now has 70 attendees • Qualified in less than a year for the Circle of Excellence Gold award from the Hampton Roads Realtors Association after closing almost $7 million in new-home sales in 2019 • Received Stephen Covey Award for Outstanding Daily Behaviors during first year with Rose & Womble

Extracurricular

• Gift-wrap volunteer for donation drive benefiting Salvation Army, Moyock Fire Department, and Currituck Animal Shelter • Won best dish in Men Who Cook fundraiser for Norfolk Senior Center

Off the Clock

• Drumming • Fishing • Kayaking • Showcases authentic Mexican restaurants and other local venues in videos as the “Taco Realtor”

Secret Life

• Wife, Sharon, is a Hatfield descendant of the infamous Hatfield–McCoy feud

 

 

2020 Forty Under 40 winner Linnea Chapman

 

Linnea Chapman, 39 

Director of Marketing

DeNova Homes 

Concord, Calif.

Education

• BA, Visual Arts, emphasis in Art History/Art Management, minor in Graphic Design, University of San Francisco

Accomplishments

• Launched, redesigned, and overhauled company website, content management system, CRM, online sales concierge (OSC) programs, and digital ad strategy in just one year • Website traffic increased 75% first month after relaunch, lead generation jumped 130% in 2019, and OSC generated 28% lead-to-appointment keep rate
• Named 2019 Marketing Director of the Year by BIA Northern California • Founded Somersault Press in South Africa, a personalized stationery and photocard provider featured on the O List in O, The Oprah Magazine

Extracurricular

• Swedish American Patriot League • BIA Bay Area: Professional Women in Building Council and Educational Outreach Committee

Off the Clock

• Relaxing at cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains • Cooking, baking, cake decorating • Reading

Secret Life

• Taught ballet • Lived in Cape Town, South Africa, for six years with husband, daughters, and family’s Rhodesian ridgeback

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Ryan Clarke

 

Ryan Clarke, 33

Director of Operations

Robuck Homes

Raleigh, N.C.

Education

• BS, Building Science, emphasis in Construction Management, Appalachian State University

Credentials

• Certified Supply Chain Professional

Accomplishments

• Overcame small lots, crowded streets, and parking dilemmas to build Oakdale at Mordecai, an infill  neighborhood that won 2017 Best in American Living Awards for Community of the Year, Best of the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Best Infill Community • Led company through Lean building program • Helped Robuck Homes’ annual revenue grow from $17 mil-lion during the Great Recession to more than $60 million • Won 10 Parade of Homes honors

Extracurricular

• Habitat for Humanity Home Builders Blitz • Church elder and small-group leader • Rebuilding Together of the Triangle

Off the Clock

• Listening to bluegrass music and audio books • Working on his Jeep • Bible reading • Playing Lego with his sons

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Andrew Comstock

 

Andrew Comstock, 33

VP

Gilbert C. Martin Co.

Colonial Heights, Va.

Education

• BA, Economics and Commerce, Hampden-Sydney College • Graduate Certificate, Leadership, University of Virginia 

Certification

• Certified Graduate Builder • Graduate Master Builder • Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist

Accomplishments 

• Oversaw and implemented the company’s shift from primarily doing spec building and subdivision development to multifamily construction, custom design, and renovation • Rose from superintendent to VP • One of five builders in the state of Virginia and one of only 79 nationwide to hold all three of his certifications • Local Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40 in 2019

Extracurricular 

• Selected to serve on the executive board for the Home Builders Association of Virginia • First third-generation president of Home Builders Association of Southside Virginia, following his grandfather and mother

Off the Clock 

• Watching University of Virginia football games • Fishing • Boating on Chesapeake Bay • Traveling

Secret Life 

• Only volunteer firefighter in over 20 years to be cleared to drive and operate all of the fire department’s apparatuses/vehicles

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Phil Crone

 

Phil Crone, 37

Executive Officer

Dallas Builders Association

Plano, Texas

Education 

• BA, Political Science and History, Purdue University • JD, Southern Methodist University 

Certification

• NAHB Certified Green Professional

Accomplishments

• Grew Dallas Builders Association (DBA) by 100 members in one year, the most growth in over a decade • Led Green Built Texas policy • Wrote two pieces of state home building legislation • Launch-ed DallasBuilders.com
• Implemented a quarterly dinner with volume builders and developers to better understand their concerns and increase networking opportunities • Created Parade of Homes, raising $25,000 for the DBA • Built seven mortgage-free homes for combat wounded veterans through a partnership with Operation Finally Home 

Extracurricular 

• NAHB Executive Officer of the Year 2013 and 2018 • Advisory board member, Operation Finally Home • Committee chair, City of Dallas affordable housing task force • Construction advisory board chairman, Collin College 

Off the Clock 

• Pace leader for the Dallas Running Club • Hiking • Kayaking • Working on projects in garage • Cycling • Running half-marathons

Secret Life

• Private pilot’s license • Received law degree from SMU while working full time at the DBA

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Rachel Eaton

 

 

Rachel Eaton, 38

Chief Marketing Officer

LGI Homes

The Woodlands, Texas

Education 

• BS, Texas A&M University 

Accomplishments 

• Manages $50 million budget and drove over 385,000 leads in 2018 

• Leads strategy and direction for talent acquisition • Company grew from operating in two communities to being the 10th largest builder in the U.S. • Closings grew from 179 to 6,000+ homes a year • Revenue grew from $22.1 million to $1.5 billion • Part of team that led a successful IPO and two home builder acquisitions in five years • One of just three women at public home building companies listed as having a “named executive officers” role in 2017 • Help-ed launch, and continues to support, the LGI Giving Initiative, which has contributed over $1.2 million in corporate nonprofit sponsorships and more than 20,000 service hours

Extracurricular 

• Member, Zillow Group New Construction advisory board

Off the Clock 

• Dance, cheer, soccer mom • Relaxing with Netflix 

Secret Life 

• Proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2003

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Megan English

 

Megan English, 38

Director of Strategic Services

ONeil Interactive

Hunt Valley, Md.

Education 

• BA, Political Science, minor in Sociology, Towson University

Accomplishments 

• O’Neil Interactive team is four times larger since Megan started • Company revenue has increased 120% • Marketing expertise and insight trusted by more than 50 builders nationally • Creates a collaborative company environment • Provides valuable insight and direct support to company president • Donates marketing and event promotion skills to Next One Up • Co-founder of the annual Mrs. Claus Cares event, which has raised thousands of dollars to benefit the Women’s Housing Coalition

Extracurricular 

• Speaker for IBS education sessions three years running • Completed the Center for Creative Leadership development program • Speaker at the Do You Convert Online Sales & Marketing Summit • Key member of Maryland Building Industry Association’s Builder Mart Committee, association’s largest, most profitable event

Off the Clock 

• Yoga • Running • Stationary bike • Listening to podcasts 

Secret Life 

• Has memory like an elephant • Aspiring screenwriter 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Blaine Flynn

 

Blaine Flynn, 31

CEO and President

Flynn Building Specialists

Pensacola, Fla.

Qualifications 

• Licensed Florida General Contractor

Accomplishments 

• Went from high school dropout to owning and running a multi-million-dollar company • Expand-ed business into multi-family, commercial construction, and investment properties • Company set to surpass 120 homes and over $30 million in revenue after six years in business • Grew from building one house to operating in six counties • 7-time Parade of Homes winner • Best of the Bay winner 2018 • VIP Pensacola Best Builder for 3 consecutive years • Forged company connection with Ronald McDonald House and The Seven Project

Extracurricular 

• Home Builders Association of West Florida 2020 president, youngest ever • Workshops at Pensacola State College to attract local talent to the industry • Member, Pensacola Young Professionals • Serves on Governmental Affairs Committee for Florida Home Builders Association

Off the Clock 

• Pack leader for son’s Scout troop • Coaches Little League • Golf • Smoky Mountains vacations

Secret Life 

• Collects antique wooden duck decoys • Phenomenal drummer

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Kyle Gable

 

Kyle Gable, 37

Broker

Pioneer Land Group

Douglasville, Ga.

Education 

• BBA, Real Estate, University of West Georgia • 100+ hours of real estate continuing education 

Certifications 

• Licensed Real Estate Broker in Georgia and Florida 

Accomplishments 

• Helped shape real estate process that expanded pipeline volume to over $150 million • National Association of Realtors 30 Under 30 Class of 2011 • Awarded the designation of Accredited Land Consultant by Realtors Land Institute • Organized and analyzed data on new-home sales and education options for over 23 counties 

Extracurricular 

• Member, Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors • Member, Realtors Land Institute • Board member, Douglas County Chamber • Member, Young Gamechangers Class of 2016 • Deacon at church

Off the Clock 

• Mission trips to Thailand, Honduras, Cuba • Leads men’s ministry at church • Sunday afternoon Bible studies • Helps run church’s Thanksgiving Day celebration that feeds 400 people • Thriving family life • Hunting and fishing

Secret Life 

• Excellent barbecue cook

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Patrick Ginn

 

Patrick Ginn, 38

Founder and CEO

Ginn Group

Vancouver, Wash.

Education

• BBA, Finance, Golden Gate University • MBA, University of Oregon 

Accomplishments 

• Helped identify the “missing-middle market” to tackle affordable housing shortage • Built 950 homes and started more than 300 in 2019 • Grew company from 13 staff in 2016 to 65 in 2019 • Developed 2,000 lots in 31 communities worth over $1 billion in market value • Established multifamily division • Greater Vancouver  Chamber of Commerce, 2019 Large Business Award • Received Clark College Outstanding Alumni Award 2018 

Extracurricular 

• Launched philanthropic arm, Ginn Gives, and donated over $150,000 in 2019 • Executive committee and chair, Real Property Oversight Committee, Clark College Foundation Board • Board president, Boys & Girls Club of
SW Washington

Off the Clock 

• Reading • Journaling • Traveling  • Watching the Portland Timbers

Secret Life 

• Runs in marathons around the world • Formerly top-selling real estate broker 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Brek Goin

 

Brek Goin, 27

Co-founder and CEO

Hammr

San Francisco

Education 

• BA, Finance, International Business, Entrepreneurship, Washington State University 

Accomplishments

• Founded professional networking platform Hammr and leveraged social media to connect with young builders and address labor shortage • Grew the largest builder community on social media, Builders of Insta, to over 190,000 followers driving 75 million impressions • Nominated for the Ivory Prize • Rebuilt a company after losing everything but his Instagram account • Founder of YouTube Series “Beyond the Build”

Extracurricular 

• Speaker at IBS 2020 • Host of NAHB panel at IBS 2019, 2020

Off the Clock 

• Snowboarding • Wake-surfing • Visiting beaches • Hanging out with dog • Basketball

Secret Life 

• Couch surfed first four months of starting business • Still has ‘92 Jordan booties from childhood

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Paul Hanson

 

Paul Hanson, 39

President

Epcon Communities Franchising 

Dublin, Ohio

Education

• BS, Grove City College • MBA, University of Florida

Accomplishments

• Responsible for the direction and growth of the country’s largest home building franchise • Execut-ed a new franchise agreement with new payment terms favorable to its builders • Initiated development of BIM drawings and line-item purchasing takeoffs for its franchise builders • Expanded franchise recruiting methods to include LinkedIn campaigns, regional builders • Doubled the number of new franchises
• Customer Service Award

Extracurricular 

• Speaker at IBS 2020 

Off the Clock 

• Skiing in New Mexico • Hiking • Watching the Cleveland Browns 

Secret Life 

• Married high-school sweetheart after reconnecting a decade later

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Justin Henry

 

Justin Henry, 38

Owner

Zander Homes

Houston

Education 

• BS, Psychology, Austin Peay State University

Certifications 

• Certified Green Professional  • Certified Graduate Builder • Licensed real estate agent

Accomplishments 

• Grew company from remodeling business to custom home powerhouse • Builds and sells 10 custom homes per year • Revenue over $4 million • First in family to attend college • Company recognized 62 times since 2014 with awards and nominations at both state and local levels, including Texas Association of Builders (TAB) 2019 Star Awards Best Architectural Design (Under $350K) • Worked with families to rebuild after Tropical Storm Imelda 

Extracurricular 

• Licensed real estate agent

Off the Clock 

• Coaches baseball and basketball • Volunteers with youth at church

 Secret Life 

• Played four years of college football, team captain for two 

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Jennifer Hoops

 

Jennifer Hoops, 39

Builder Partnerships Lead

Higharc

Durham, N.C.

Education

• BA, Architecture; BS, Political Science, minor in Urban Design, Miami University – Oxford, Ohio 

Accomplishments 

• First to convert plan library to full lot-specific plan delivery for a national production builder • One of first in industry to successfully manage a national builder’s conversion of plan library into fully functioning BIM model • Managed as many as 12 divisions; responsible for full architectural services, including CD sets and estimating • Spearheaded first virtual-reality consumer research project for a national builder • Maintained high level of service to 23 operating divisions • First person in extended family to earn a college degree

Extracurricular 

• Member, North Coast Building Industry Association “Dream” committee • Involved in planning and construction of “2000 Minute House” built by the National Association of Women in Construction • Member, Women’s Housing Leadership Group 

Off the Clock

• Attends her kids’ sporting events • Harvests produce from farms around her home • Takes dog on long walks through the woods

Secret Life 

• Designed her own canning kitchen 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Taylor Humphrey

 

Taylor Humphrey, 36

Division Sales and Marketing Manager

Pacesetter Homes

McKinney, Texas

Education

• Doug Wilson Advanced Leadership 3-year program • Sales Solves Everything training courses • Builder Partnerships: Front Line Management and Managing for Profit courses • Jeff Shore sales training

Accomplishments

• Shaped team that doubled sales and profits in less than 6 months • Grew company sales and marketing staff from 6 to 25 in 2019 • Will expand company reach from 5 communities to 13 by Q2 2020 • Wrote three construction manuals, a sales manual, and created a sales training program • Started career as construction manager and built several model homes; five of which were completed in just 45 days 

Extracurricular

• Secretary, Board of Adjustments, City of Frisco • Dallas Builders Association, Young Professionals Committee • Co-chair, annual golf tournament at ManeGait, raises $100,000 annually • Partnered with Scott Wozniak and Chick-fil-A 

Off the Clock

• Community group leader at local church • Level 4 Personal Protection officer licensed in Texas • Golf • Triathlons

Secret Life

• Sponsored triathlete for more than a decade 

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Justin Julian

 

Justin Julian, 38

Senior Associate, Senior Architect

Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning

Bellevue, Wash.

Education 

• BS, Architecture, Ohio State University • Pursued Human Factors Engineering degree with minor in Business, Wright State University • Pursued Business degree with basketball scholarship, Bluffton College 

Certifications 

• Licensed architect, Washington state • American Institute of Architects • LEED Accredited Professional, US Green Building Council • IDP and CIDP requirements met 

Accomplishments 

• Promoted to senior associate/senior architect within 3 years • Spearheaded company’s venture into new territories in single-family, multifamily, commercial, and hospitality builds • Received Tribute Awards from the New Home Council 

Extracurricular 

• 2020 NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Membership Committee incoming chair • NAIOP Community Enhancement

Off the Clock 

• Sports • Road-tripping • Home improvements • Researching parenthood for first-born child

Secret Life 

• Former All-Ohio basketball player  • Holds a -20 handicap in golf, that is the arcade game Golden Tee Live golf 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Chelsey Keenan

 

Chelsey Keenan, 27

Director of Social Media

Group Two Advertising

Philadelphia 

Education

• BA, Advertising and Leadership Studies, University of Tampa

Certifications

• Myers Briggs Certified Trainer

Accomplishments

• Started as an intern and is now director of an entire department • Company grew from 7 to 25 since Chelsey started at Group Two • Coached executive officers at the Association Leadership Institute • Gives presentations across the country to crowds of 100+ • 2020 NAHB Young Professional Awards Finalist Region A • Helped revamp hiring process • NAHB vlogger for IBS 2019 • Founding member, Building Industry Association sales and marketing council

Extracurricular

• Active member, NAHB Young Professionals • Has volunteered for over a decade with Spark the Wave, a nonprofit empowering teens • Member, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance and Philabundance hunger-relief organizations 

Secret Life 

• Backpacked solo around Europe • RV road trips to national parks 

Off the Clock

• Yoga • Reading

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Mike Latimer

 

Mike Latimer, 34

Design Director

TK Home Design

South Lyons, Mich.

Education

• BS, Architectural Engineering, Lawrence Technological University • Certificate of Achievement in Architecture, Lansing Community College

Accomplishments

• Architect with framing carpenter background provides unique perspective for home designs that combine aesthetics, functional livability, and cost savings through Lean building principles • Lead designer on projects that won awards and were featured in Pro Builder • Stepped in as a last-minute speaker at IBS with just a few days to prepare

Off the Clock

• Ice hockey • Teaching ice skating clinics • Mission trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mexico • Building motorcycles and a Jeep Wrangler from the ground up

Secret Life

• Started a company with a high school friend that hand-crafted sand boards; made a design that “unofficially” broke the world record for speed at 53 mph 

 

Pro Builder 2020 Forty Under 40 winner Joanie McCann is a young building industry leader

 

Joanie McCann, 38

VP, Sales and Marketing, Maryland/Delaware Division

Lennar Homes 

Columbia, Md.

Education

• MS, Real Estate Development, Johns Hopkins University • BS, General Business and Management; BA, Government and Politics, University of Maryland

Accomplishments

• Improved division sales performance to rank No. 2 across 38 divisions (as of Sept. 2019) by increasing year-over-year absorptions in more than 30 communities by more than 25%, improving digital advertising to increase community traffic by 12% year over year, and handled merchandising and marketing to open 19 new communities in one year on time and performing above business plan • Led CalAtlantic team through merger with Lennar and retained 100% of both companies’ sales associates through the transition • Broke division record for 1,000 annual sales by improving field sales associates and marketing team relationship

Extracurricular

• Chairwoman, Maryland Awards of Excellence, Maryland BIA

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Andrew Peek

 

Andrew Peek, 30

Lead Generation Manager

Do You Convert

Tulsa, Okla.

Education

• BS, Information Technology, Florida State University

Credentials

• Google Analytics, Google Ads

Accomplishments

• Cohost of popular new-home marketing podcast “Market Proof Marketing,” with nearly 50,000 downloads as of November 2019 • Nicknamed the “Ad Doctor” • Highly rated IBS speaker since 2018 • Leads team that manages and optimizes more than $16 million annually in digital advertising for more than 40 home builders

Off the Clock

• Church children’s ministry volunteer • Preparing to be a foster parent • Competitive power lifter

Secret Life

• Cancer survivor

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Ryan Perrone

 

Ryan Perrone, 35

President

Nautilus Custom Homes

Sarasota, Fla.

Education

• BA, Construction Management, Everglades University

Accomplishments

• Started company just nine years ago and it now competes as a top-three luxury home builder in one of the nation’s most exclusive markets • First home he built made the cover of Veranda magazine’s 20th anniversary hard-cover book • Taught himself to use SketchUp, Sage 100 Contractor, ProCore, and Sage Estimator, among other programs and apps; developed workflow plan detailing every aspect of the business; digitized documentation so company operations are almost paperless • Won four regional Aurora Awards, SRQ magazine’s Best Contractor 2016-2019, SRQ HOTY Silver 2017, Best of Houzz Design Awards 2018-2019. Homes also were featured in magazines Veranda, Florida Design, Style, SRQ, VeniceLuxury Home, and more

Extracurricular

• Board member, General Contracts Licensing and Examining Board of Sarasota County • Weekly mentor for high school students studying architecture and construction management; scholarship donor and provider of paid internship for top student

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Owen Nerren Pratt

 

Owen Nerren Pratt, 37

VP, Construction

Pratt Home Builders

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Education

• BA, Business Administration, with emphasis in Real Estate Finance, University of Mississippi • AA, Wallace State Community College

Accomplishments

• Led construction team since 2010 in building and closing more than 1,200 homes and over 25 communities, boosting the company to the top 200 in Pro Builder’s Housing Giants rankings • Expanded housing products to new and revitalized rental apartment properties • Founded Callio Earthworks to create a fully integrated building and development organization

Off the Clock

• Working on the farm, riding horses, and raising cattle

Secret Life

• Spent four years being a cowboy for National Outdoor Leadership School and working at various ranches in and around Jackson Hole, Wyo.

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Greg Prieb

 

Greg Prieb, 38

President

Prieb Homes

Olathe, Kan.

Education

• BA, Business Administration, minor in Economics, Kansas State University

Accomplishments

• Built 270 homes in 2018 and again in 2019 • Created Prieb Property Management, which has a dozen multifamily projects under construction and will result in 3,500 units available for lease • Company’s land development arm provides about 85% of the lots the home building division builds on, making Prieb one of the larger Kansas City builders in annual revenue and permits, and among the city’s fastest growing companies since 2016

Extracurricular

• Remodeled group home for Healing House • Prieb Family Foundation raised more than $2 million for local charities

Off the Clock

• Flying and photographing scenery with drones • Weekends tying up with flotilla of neighbors’ boats in lake community • Lake Quivira council member

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Amber Richard

 

Amber Richard, 35

Director, Sales and Marketing

Melia Homes

Irvine, Calif.

Education

• BA, Human Communication, California State University, San Bernardino

Accomplishments

• Sales process relaunch included weekly sales calls, construction meetings, regular field visits, and detailed follow-up to deliver an excellent customer experience • Dives deep into marketing research for pricing, consumer and product data, and works with ad agency on campaigns tailored to each product and neighborhood • Closings totaled $57 million since starting at Melia in 2017 and were on track to finish 2019 at $93 million • Sold and closed more than 700 units, from entry-level, multifamily to single-family, totaling $600 million in nearly seven years working for Irvine Pacific until 2017 • Nominated “Rising Star of the Year” for 2019 SoCal Awards

Extracurricular

• Chairwoman, NAHB Entry and Education committees, SoCal MAME Awards and Sales Awards committee • Board member, Great-er Sales & Marketing Council 

Secret Life

• Loves writing and is currently working on writing a book • First job was collecting snails from neighbors’ yards for a nickel apiece 

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Sean Ricks

 

Sean Ricks, 38

President, Dallas-Fort Worth Division

Trendmaker Homes

Dallas

Education

• JD, University of Southern California • BS, Business Administration, California Polytechnic State University

Credentials

• State Bar of California

Accomplishments

• Represented TRI-Pointe Group for the 2014 acquisition of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. The deal elevated TRI-Pointe to being one of the top 10 largest public home builders and added five brands to the company’s portfolio • Expanded TRI-Pointe’s footprint to Texas as a member of team that completed the acquisition of Dunhill Homes and its 55+ brand Nathan Carlisle Homes, which have been rebranded as Trendmaker Homes

Off the Clock

• Riding Peloton and mountain biking • Pro bono legal assistance for nonprofit organizations • Youth basketball coach

Secret Life

• As a boy, escaped a mama black bear attack in the Shasta Mountains after accidentally startling her cub

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Elizabeth Russell

 

Elizabeth Russell, 31

Director of Marketing

Stylecraft Builders 

College Station, Texas

Eduction

• BS, Family Science, University of Maryland

Accomplishments

• Acquired unique marketing perspective about homebuyers’ needs by working as an on-site sales executive for a year before returning to marketing and eventually being promoted from manager to director • Relaunched company website while simultaneously recreating the marketing department to be a more professional division providing web content and updates that were previously delivered by a third party • Gathers analytics about traffic and marketing outreach

Extracurricular

• U.S. Army officer wife who participates in a variety of military and cancer charities and the Margaret P. Cullison Scholarship Foundation (Howard Community College)

Secret Life

• Manager for Univ. of Maryland’s wrestling team • Featured in Kane Brown music video 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Anjela Salyer

 

Anjela Salyer, 39

VP, Division Manager

Mattamy Homes

Tucson, Ariz.

Education

• BA, Business and Communication, Arizona State University

Accomplishments

• Led a team of 40 employees that generated more than 300 closings in 2019, ranking Mattamy among the Top 5 builders in the Tucson market • Led customer experience that earned the division an AVID score that exceeds the national average • 2018 Sales Leader of the Year by the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA)
• Designed and developed layout and floor plans and marketing plans for Alterra at Vistoso Trails, SAHBA’s 2018 Community of the Year. Also handled same duties for Saguaro Trails, which sold more than 130 homes in six months

Extracurricular

• Chair, SAHBA’s Sales & Marketing Committee 

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Colin Scattergood

 

Colin Scattergood, 32

Product Manager, MarkSystems

ECI Software Solutions

Mount Laurel, N.J.

Education

• BS, Entrepreneurship, Temple University

Certifications

• Project Management Professional, Project Management Institute • PMC Level IV, Pragmatic Institute

Accomplishments

• Collaborated with divisions and team members to create best practices for working with builders to ensure successful startup of enterprise resource planning solution • Not a programmer, but learned SQL to enhance communication between the development team and management • Pursued continuous improvement by overseeing 10 new version releases of the MarkSystems platform, which included more than 2,500 enhancements and fixes • Since becoming product manager in 2017, MarkSystems’ customer base has grown 40% due to development of features targeted to bring in specific customer segments

Off the Clock

• Coaches youth lacrosse and plays in a men’s league

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Kate Seabaugh

 

Kate Seabaugh, 32

Senior Manager Research Group

John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Irvine, Calif.

Education

• MEng, concentration in Financial Engineering, Cornell University • BS, Business Administration, Finance emphasis, University of Connecticut

Accomplishments

• Becoming a housing industry expert within four years of joining the company, after transitioning from a finance and investments career • Has attended 73 industry events; presented at six during 2018 • Built her brand by writing forward-looking white papers, newsletters, and posting content about macro/regional/local housing industry data on social media • Participated in the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Executive Committee and the Women’s Leadership Initiative and Mentorship Program and won the group’s Emerging Leader Award

Off the Clock

• Hiking • Tennis • Golf • Pickleball • Visiting nearly every U.S. national park • Trying new Mezcal cocktails

Secret Life

• Played Division I college volleyball on full scholarship • Climbed Mt. Whitney, Half Dome, and hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Will Spencer

 

Will Spencer, 37

Director of Operations

Spencer

Monroe, Wash.

Education

• BS, Travel and Tourism/Hospitality Management, St. Cloud State University

Accomplishments

• Left successful cellphone sales management and tech services career for family cabinetmaking business • Arrived with an outsider’s perspective and identified production bottleneck in the finishing system. Smoothed out cabinet production flow, doubling total weekly output, cut manufacturing lead time to 1 workday compared with two to three weeks for competitors • Further improved productivity by addressing work-life balance; changed workweek from five 8-hour days to four 9-hour days and a 4-hour Friday, giving employees 2 ½-day weekends. Average monthly bonus employee profit sharing checks jumped from about $500 to $1,800 and turnover was eliminated

Extracurricular

• Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association • Cabinet Makers Association • Washington State Golf Association

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Dennis Steigerwalt

 

Dennis Steigerwalt, 38

CEO and President

Housing Innovation Alliance

Pittsburgh

Education

• BS, Finance; BA, Accounting, University of Pittsburgh

Accomplishments

• Increased Alliance membership by more than 30% and annual program underwriting partnerships by more than 25% since becoming president in June 2019 • Led team that drove innovation in Middle East and North Africa housing industry with $30 million multiyear program that developed more than 1,000 subject-matter experts, including 46 manufacturers, ultimately resulting in the Middle East’s first LEED platinum home, a community of 1,200 LEED Silver homes, and a LEED Gold interactive exhibition center. As of 2019, the program has resulted in more than 100 business opportunities with more than $500 million in new value creation

Extracurricular

• Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Free Care Fund • Investing with like-minded entrepreneurs in infill development to reactivate distressed neighborhoods in partnership with community groups

Off the Clock

• Snowboarding • Paddle boarding

• Hiking

Secret Life

• Conducted business in 28 countries and traveled to many more

 

 

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Emily Sweitzer

 

Emily Sweitzer, 39

VP and Associate General Counsel

Ashton Woods

Alpharetta, Ga.

Education

• BA, Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton College • JD, Northwestern University

Credentials

• State Bar of Georgia

Accomplishments

• Integral member of team that grew land pipeline from 11,053 homes and lots under control in 2016 to 39,014 homes and lots by year end 2019 • Helped create single-family rental business that delivers fee build services and build-to-rent single-family homes to rental companies • Developed robust banking platform to facilitate Ashton’s rapid growth

Off the Clock

• Hiking • Camping • Biking • Uno championships with two sons

Extracurricular

• Urban Land Institute’s Residential Neighborhood Development Council • Women’s Housing Leadership Group

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Andrea Wagner Watts

 

Andrea Wagner Watts, 35

Commercial Application Technology Leader

DuPont Performance Building Solutions

Midland, Mich.

Education

• BS, Civil Engineering, Cornell University

Credentials

• LEED Green Associate

Accomplishments

• Holds two patents related to the development of silicone air and water barriers • Developed and successfully launched two new products in different market segments during the same year; both attained their sales plan targets • Provided technical support for $30 million sales territory through problem-solving causes of possible product failure, presented technical information to customers and evaluated possible use of product in applications beyond traditional scope of material 

Extracurricular

• Co-chair, technical committee of Air Barrier Association of America • Buffalo Habitat for Humanity construction committee

Secret Life

• Visited 35 national parks by high school graduation • Performed leads in two Shakespeare plays

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Cindy Wasser

 

Cindy Wasser, 33

Senior Manager, Green Building Programs

Home Innovation Research Labs

Upper Marlboro, Md.

Education

• MBA, Sustainability, Bard College • BS, Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior, Rutgers University

Accomplishments

• Helped refine policies and procedures to keep the NGBS Green Certification program flexible and affordable and helped it grow to more than 202,000 certified homes and apartments since launching in 2009 • Provided path for growth of green certified buildings by developing a suite of technical tools that streamline the path for single-family construction and for certifying mixed-use commercial path • Earned MBA while working full-time, changing jobs, moving, and getting married

Off the Clock

• Cooking • Yoga • Biked from Washington, D.C., to Leesburg, Va., and Richmond to Williamsburg, Va.

Secret Life

• While studying abroad in South Africa in 2007, helped student group launch community service organization that aids rural schools • While pursuing MBA, worked on consulting team that developed growth plan and financial model for Eileen Fisher Renew, a women’s clothing company that takes used clothing for resale, reinvention, or repair

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Robert White

 

Robert White, 39

Senior Brand Manager, Shopper Marketing (Retail and Builder Channel)

Whirlpool

Benton Harbor, Mich.

Education

• BA, Business Administration, Illinois State University • MBA, University of Illinois

Credentials

• Six Sigma Green Belt

Accomplishments

• Rebranded an already successful marketing effort by overhauling the campaign to redefine how the manufacturer speaks to builders with the tagline “Count on Us.” Business has since outpaced building industry growth, and the builder-targeting website WhirlpoolPro.com saw double-digit traffic increases, engagement quality, and interactions • Launched Whirlpool’s first-ever builder business CRM program, which resulted in best-in-class open rates and click-through rates • Started investigating through test buys and then led patent enforcement effort against imports of counterfeit water filters for refrigerators that led to more than 40 patent lawsuits resulting in $14 million in rulings to date

Secret Life

• Army veteran served two deployments in Iraq and Germany (awarded 1st Sergeant Award for outstanding leadership, Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals) • Has been to 36 countries in 18 years, goal is to visit 100

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Nick Wisniewski

 

Nick Wisniewski, 31

VP

Landmark Homes of Tennessee

Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

Education

• BS, Concrete Management, Middle Tennessee State University

Accomplishments

• At age 26, led team that won 12 of 15 awards in the Parade of Homes • After graduating college in 2011, worked as a project manager and eventually as director of operations in Afghanistan leading more than 2,000 employees to build hotels, office buildings, restaurants, power stations, and the country’s first underground irrigation system • After returning from Afghanistan in 2012, helped triple closings for the family home building business through 2019

Off the Clock

• Boating • Skiing • Four-wheeling in his Jeep

Secret Life

• Had such a strong work ethic even at 12 years old that parents restricted his summer work hours to three days a week

 

 

2020 Pro Builder Forty Under 40 winner Erin Wright

 

Erin Wright, 37

Owner, CEO, and President

Wright Built

Hawkins, Texas

Education

• AA, Tyler Junior College

Credentials

• Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist • Green Professional • Graduate Builder • Master Builder • Can operate a front-end loader, haul truck, track hoe, tractor, and drive an 18-wheeler

Accomplishments

• Was building houses while attending junior college one class at a time. Joined the local HBA, enrolled in NAHB classes, became a general contractor, and has built more than 100 homes in 15 years • Texas Association of Builders (TAB) JB Sandlin Builder of the Year winner • Inducted into inaugural class of TAB’s Excellence Under 45 award • Featured in the Houston Chronicle and Wall Street Journal • Best of Houzz for Design and Service 2013, 2014, and 2015

Extracurricular

• Organizes food drive for local pantry • Collected trailer loads of supplies and delivered to HBAs affected by Hurricane Harvey • Has organized local Fourth of July fireworks show for past three years • Executive officer and chairman, Parade of Homes, Tyler Area Builders Association • Young Professionals Council, Texas Association of Builders • Bond and campus improvement committees for Hawkins Independent School District

Off the Clock

• Boating • Paddle boarding • “Floating” on lake near home

Secret Life

• With husband, Brandon, co-owns a bar/family restaurant that hosts concerts, Christmas toy drives, and other charity fundraisers 

 

 

Access a PDF of this article in Pro Builder's March 2020 digital edition

 

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