flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Under-40 Home Builders: Career Construction

billboard - default

Under-40 Home Builders: Career Construction

Wayne Yamano explains how he went from staining microscope slides in college to strategizing for Housing Giant Meritage Homes. 

By Mike Beirne, Senior Editor October 9, 2014
This article first appeared in the PB October 2014 issue of Pro Builder.

Wayne Yamano’s career path started in a science classroom where understanding such microbiology fundamentals as the difference between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria is essential. But the UCLA graduate eventually found his way into finance, which exposed him to real estate. Ultimately, that landed him a position where he underwrites land deals and manages market research and product development for a builder ranked 11th among Professional Builder’s Housing Giants. 

Q: How did your career path move from a degree in microbiology and molecular genetics to an MBA and  home building?
A: Like virtually all kids entering college, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. My favorite classes through high school were biology and math, so I figured I’d challenge myself with a major that involved both. By the time I figured out that I had a stronger interest in business, I was too far along to change my major, so I decided to graduate and take my chances in the job market. My first job was with a mutual fund company, which gave me exposure to many different industries, and that’s where I started gravitating towards real estate. After a few years with CBRE in commercial real estate research, I had the great fortune of going to work for John Burns, who taught me all about home building and challenged me to look at the business in new ways. While at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, I went back to school to get my MBA so I could get some of the finance education I didn’t get during undergrad. My wife, whom I met while I was getting my bachelor’s at UCLA, still won’t forgive me for getting my MBA at crosstown rival USC. The latest chapter in my career at Meritage has been my opportunity to not just provide consulting in the industry I love, but also to make decisions that drive company strategy.
Q: What is most rewarding about what you do in your current job?
A: The most rewarding part of my job is that I have a genuine opportunity to make a difference at Meritage. I feel very fortunate that our senior leadership is willing to hear my ideas and empower me to make strategic changes where they make sense. I nationally manage our land underwriting, marketing, product development, market research, and consumer research teams, but I feel that my ability to impact a change in strategy goes beyond just the groups under my purview. I think this is one of the ways we’ve managed to keep innovation as part of our company culture.
Q: What is the most challenging thing in the business right now?
A: The challenge to grow is the most demanding right now. All builders, particularly the publics, are looking for smart ways to grow. That makes everything we do more competitive, whether it’s land acquisition, M&A, hiring the best people, or simply selling homes across the street from each other. The keys to growth in a competitive environment like today are finding growth opportunities where others aren’t looking and trying to predict where the market is heading, rather than just operating where it is today. That’s obviously much easier said than done.
Q: Which Meritage initiatives are catching on with the market/buyers?
A: Different strategies work at different communities, so the key that we have been focusing on is finding ways to measure the effectiveness of the strategies we try. That way we can focus our dollars and energy where they make a difference. One strategy that we have found to be more universal is strong online marketing. We put a lot of energy into getting our online strategy right, because we know that 90 percent of homebuyers search online for their homes. I know this isn’t breaking news to anyone, but not everyone is willing to make the same level of commitment. PB
leaderboard2 - default


Related Stories


Overcoming Challenges, Celebrating Victories

NAHB Chairman's Message: 2023 was a challenging year for home building, but among the challenges, there were many victories as well

Market Data + Trends

Builder Sentiment Rises for Third Consecutive Month

A combination of factors is buoying home builder confidence in February, with the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index at its highest level since last August

Housing Giants

The 2024 Housing Giants Survey Is Now Open!

Complete the 2024 Housing Giants Survey to see if your company makes the cut in Pro Builder's rankings of the largest home building companies in the country

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

Sure there are challenges, but overall, Pro Builder's annual Housing Forecast Survey finds home builders are optimistic about the coming year

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.