Selfless service: industry award winners prove that residential construction is always ready to give a little back

Selfless service: industry award winners prove that residential construction is always ready to give a little back – View From Builder

Chris Wood

“Builders are some of the most generous, giving people you can find, once you get them outside the arena they work in,” says Lee Wetherington, president and CEO of Lee Wetherington Homes in Sarasota, Fla., who was one of the recipients of BUILDER magazine’s 2003 Hearthstone Advisors Lifetime Public Service Awards. Profiled by Matthew Power, along with fellow grand winner and COO of Lennar Corp. Robert Strudler, in the February 2003 issue of BUILDER, Wetherington has been volunteering his time, effort, and resources to community service in southwest Florida since 1978.

From acting as a member of the board of directors of the Sarasota County Boys and Girls Club to donating design and labor services for Home Builder Association charity projects, Wetherington is determined to bring residential construction into the service limelight. In today’s ultra-competitive, margin-squeezed production atmosphere, there’s often little room to give, he explains, but industry players can–and do–provide at the community level. And Wetherington wants to get the positive word out.

Bonus PR and marketing impact aside, community service can be as simple as inspiring confidence. For example, Strudler leverages his position at Miami-based Lennar to create the Project Opportunity program, which builds homes for financially troubled families with special needs. “The key is to make sure people feel they have a place in society, that they are not just takers–they are also givers,” says Strudler, who often uses teams of Special Olympians to help build and present Project Opportunity homes.

Generosity and community service are not foreign territory in the pro dealer community either, which is a prime source for donated materials, funds, and services for home building charities. In fact, just recently during the International Builders’ Show, pro dealer recipients of the 2002 PROSALES Excellence Awards, which honor outstanding achievements in construction supply, were awarded with $1,000 donations to local and national charities of their choice, including the American Cancer Society, the National Jewish Medical Research Center, the U.S. Green Building Council, Aultman Hospital of Canton, Ohio, the Lake Hospital Respiratory Foundation of Canton, and Habitat for Humanity (see ProWatch, page 28).

Completing the circle, award checks were made possible through the sponsorship of Boise, Dodge, Enterprise Computer Systems, Masonite, New-Tech Doors, and Therma-Tru Doors. Indeed, some of the most successful service efforts in residential construction result when companies along the supply chain work together to make that difference.

Of course, service to your community, as Matt Power writes in BUILDER, is simply about changing the world for the better. Or as Wetherington puts it: “The bottom line about all of this is simple. It’s just fun. If you ever want to lift your day up, just go out and do something in the community.” In today’s climate of uncertainty, we could all heed that advice.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Hanley-Wood, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group