Many communities across the country were hit hard during the recession that began in 2008, and some are just now coming back. Examples of this are seen throughout Michigan, but that doesn’t mean the state continues to be down and out. Like much of the rest of the company, Michigan is coming back, and the Lansing community is one example of that, helped in part by the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Lansing. 

There are more than 800 local homebuilder associations throughout the country, and the HBA of Greater Lansing is similar to them in that it strives to enhance the image of the industry, participate in legislative issues, promote the professionalism of its members and remain active in its communities. These are ongoing concerns for the non-profit organization, but one of its core focuses at this time is on developing the area’s workforce.

East Lake Builders, a general contractor on the eastside of Michigan, has been building custom homes along the shores of Lake Huron for more than 20 years. Brothers Rick and Anthony Mills of East Lake Builders in Port Huron, Mich., “build high-quality custom homes that stand the test of time.”

As brothers, they have taken many trips to old neighborhoods filled with historic charms from the turn-of-the-century with Victorian-era vibes. With cameras in hand, they observe the high-level of craftsman that allows those homes to last more than a century and they mirror it in their own work. “This is the foundation of East Lake and what our slogan ‘creativity and craft’ was built on,” says Rick Mills, owner.

In-house design and customization of production homes are competitive advantages of Drees Custom Homes, the Texas division of national homebuilder Drees Homes, says Texas Regional President David Harbin. “We give our customers personal attention, and we have outstanding architectural plans,” Harbin says. “It all begins with strong designs and our ability to execute on the highest quality results for our customers. We allow our homebuyers to customize based on their lifestyle and preferences. Most builders in the production category will not offer this level of customization. We consider ourselves a high-end production/custom builder, and we’re heavily focused on delivering our ‘Custom Homes Made Easy’ brand promise.”

As of 2010, 39 percent of the nation’s population lived in counties directly on a coastline. This number is projected to increase by an additional 10 million people or 8 percent by the year 2020. The low-lying coastal regions of the United States remain a steady magnet, drawing a growing population of residents and vacationers to unsurpassed beauty, lifestyle and recreational opportunities. But life near the coast is not always a day at the beach.

These regions have been consistently pummeled by severe storms generated in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, which few structures are built to withstand. Meanwhile, the frequency of storm events continues to increase. Ten of the top-15 most active Atlantic hurricane seasons, and the most named storms, from 1851 to the present, have occurred since the year 2000. These conditions are made worse by rising sea levels. 

Family is the foundation on which CB JENI Homes was built. In fact, the company’s name was derived from the initials of President and founder Bruno Pasquinelli’s wife and five children. The strong family culture throughout the company is fitting because families are its key focus when building high-quality, energy-efficient townhomes and luxury single-family homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“Bruno created a family atmosphere starting with the name of his company and with the original four employees who had all worked with Bruno in the past,” Director of Construction Rick Davis says. “We all knew each other very well and are very close-knit. Our biggest asset is our people. Our award-winning team of seasoned professionals is committed to accomplishing our business plan and goals. As we grow, it is key to continue adding more people to our team with the same values.”

Capstone Development Group LLC believes in making a long-term commitment every time it acquires a new property. For the St. Louis-based developer, the success of its communities is measured over the course of several years and not just when its apartments begin to go on the market. “We develop land that we hang on to for a long time,” President Bill Luchini says.

The company specializes in affordable housing for seniors and families. For Capstone, “affordable” does not mean “cheap” when it comes to materials and finishes. “We’re able to build good-quality homes that don’t look any different than market-rate apartments because of the financial incentives we bring into the deal,” Luchini says. 

Bloomfield Development Co. owner Jim Schueller lives and breathes real estate. After spending years as a real estate attorney for a large law firm and developing a few properties in his spare time, Schueller realized his passion was in homebuilding. In 2003, he founded the Chicago-based custom homebuilding company. 

“I was involved heavily on the legal side of things from commercial to residential development and got to know a lot of developers, architects, engineers and brokers in Chicago as their lawyer,” he says. “I eventually decided to follow my passion to start my own company.”

Frank Cotroneo and his three brothers developed their passion for building at a young age. As children, they would watch as their father, Antonino Cotroneo, a native of Italy and a trained stonemason, would work on homes and other projects. “The pride he showed in his work and the work he was creating gave us insight into what we wanted to do when we got older,” Frank Cotroneo says.

Antonino Cotroneo would continue to guide his sons as adults by sharing the knowledge he had gained during his more than 60 years in construction. Frank Cotroneo and his brothers Enzo, Tony and Gino along with their brother-in-law Fabio, began to put this knowledge to use in 2003, when they founded Artista Homes.

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