Gene Myers wanted to save the world. So fresh out of college, Gene tells me how he signed up for the Peace Corps. and with a twinkle in his eye, he says, “and we’re all still here – so it worked!”.
Since then Gene, CEO of Thrive Homes, has been busy creating multi-award winning developments and championing low-energy and healthy building solutions. All this whilst turning a profit and constantly pushing for even higher standards.
I met up with Gene for a chat about how he’s created such a successful, purpose-driven company and his advice on how you can do the same.
Off the back of the last recession in 2009, things were bleak for everyone in construction. It led Gene to reflect. “I asked myself, why should the market let us exist? What are we delivering thats different?”
“If you haven’t got a crisp offer and strong branding, you end up completing against the low price per square foot companies.” As a small builder that wasn’t going to work.
He saw a real demand for homes that helped people live happier lives. Low energy homes, built with non-toxic building materials in neighbourhoods designed with world-class daycare and other facilities. No one was filling this demand.
But Gene did have doubts. In 1992, he’d tried to provide this kind of housing but the market just wasn’t ready for it. On top of that, the technology was expensive and unreliable. However, he looked around 17 years later and saw that attitudes had changed. The technology was better and cheaper. It was time to try again.
After over a year in the making, in Spring 2013, New Town Developments (as his company was then called) developed the very first production-built zero energy home in Colorado. He swiftly followed this up in 2014 with the ZEN (Zero Energy Now) Home. Refined design and processes enabled them to reduce build costs by $20k. This made it profitable to roll out across their developments. In this video, Gene shares more detail on how they managed to reduce build costs whilst keeping quality high.
Focusing on quality and innovation has brought Gene’s company happy customers and a stack of awards. Amongst them, Thrive Homes has collected the highest awards from the National Department of Energy in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Smiling he says,“we’re always working hard to make it really difficult to give them to anyone else.”
Gene knows that energy performance, healthier construction materials and world-class facilities sell homes but also, “buying a home is an emotional purchase. People care that its high performing but it has to be beautiful first.”
In the video, I talk to Gene for almost 40 minutes on;
- exactly how Thrive build efficient homes and still profit
- how Gene built his business right from the ground up
- his secret that makes sure your company keeps getting better and better
- how “always doing the right thing” has been key to Gene’s success
Thrive Homes – http://www.thrivehomebuilders.com
Department of Energy – http://energy.gov