Q&A with Steve Shoemaker: Home builders learn lessons at California conference
Monday, July 13, 2009
Posted by: Katy Watson
By Richard Mize
Q: You and Vernon McKown, Ideal Homes' co-owner and president of sales, attended the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco June 17-19. What were Oklahoma builders doing in San Francisco at a California building conference?
A: To begin with, we're big believers in education. We can't get enough of it. Interestingly enough,
Vernon McKown presented at (the conference) on
energy-efficient building once or twice in the past. He came back and raved about the creative environment. Now it has kind of become a midyear refueling. I'd like to see a larger contingent of Oklahoma builders make the trip. It's unique because they bring in many presenters who work outside of our industry and really stretch your mind.
Q: How would you describe the mood of West Coast builders?
A: Genuine optimism. It's still tough, but there is great opportunity for the folks who've weathered the storm and a lot of positive things are happening. That said, we feel very fortunate to be in Oklahoma. After talking with some of our West Coast brethren we realize that our worst day would be one of their best.
Q: What are some key points you came back with?
A: Author Seth Godin challenged us to consider the power of leadership and connecting people. When you build a home for someone, you're connecting them to a community. That really hit home for us as the largest builder in Oklahoma. We're in a leadership position that we do not take for granted. There is a lot that goes into developing a neighborhood and building homes. But really, we're in the business of building places for people to live, to start or raise a family, and to make memories. When you create connections between your buyers and get out of the way, you reap the benefit of the community. People choose where they want to live, sometimes long before they choose what they want to live in. Building strong community helps them make that initial choice. Fareed Zakaria also did a great job of putting the current political and economical climate in historical context. The glass is more half full than people think — much more.
Q: Anything else to add?
A: I love Oklahoma, but oysters taste better near the ocean.