Q: How did you get involved in the remodeling industry?
A: My husband, Dan, is a carpenter by trade and when he started the remodeling company I was the part-time bookkeeper. About 13 years ago I quit my job as a flight attendant to come on full time, which is when I joined the Chamber of Commerce and NAHB and we got our designations. That’s when we started growing as a company.
Q: How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved?
A: It’s become more professional and people have been taking it more seriously. All of the people I work with at the local, state and national levels within the association try to focus on making it a profession and debunking the myth that remodelers are people who come in and take your money without doing the proper work on your house. New home building isn’t as prominent as it was when we first started; there are a lot more people remodeling and that’s a lot different than building new.
Q: What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?
A: Two Novembers ago we had a client who had been riding his bicycle and the front wheel came off. He fell off and broke his neck and now is a quadriplegic. We were hired the first of December and had to have the full project done by Dec. 24. We did a full ADA modification of the bathroom and bedroom, including hanging lifts on the bed. We made the whole house so that he could get around with his wheelchair. That was by far one of the most emotional and educational projects I’ve ever done. Before the accident, the man had played rugby, was a retired lieutenant colonel and a professor at the nearby university.
Q: To whom do you turn for business advice?
A: Joining the 20 Club has been one of the best things we’ve done for our business. Because we’re a husband and wife team, we often come to the same
conclusions but take different routes to get there.
The 20 Club has been a sounding board to get there without being emotional. The club is usually right on and helps us grow our business.
Q: What is your favorite item in your office?
A: I have a big picture that was originally painted by a Russian artist that has all of the famous people throughout history. It starts with Jesus and it includes good and evil people, including Saddam Hussein, astronauts, explorers and business leaders.
Q: What have you done to grow your business during the current economy?
A: We’ve stayed very active in our local community. We follow up with our past clients and continue to provide the customer service they need and let them know we’re here for them. We continue to educate the consumer that listening to the media is not necessarily a good thing. Your home is still an investment that you need to take care of. You can’t neglect it because it might not be worth as much as it was when you bought it. Someday it’ll come back.
Q: What about your business makes you most proud?
A: I’m really proud of what Dan and I have grown. I’m very proud of our staff. We have a staff with a lot of longevity. Our designer/estimator has been with us for 20 years and both lead carpenters for 10 years. Our son is working for us in the field this summer. Our company is very much a team effort. It’s the fabric of our company.
President, Greater Dallas HBA
Immediate past chair, Texas Association of Builders
President, NAHB Remodelers 20 Club, R4 Rhinos
Longacre serves on the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce board of directors and volunteers with PediPlace, a nonprofit children’s clinic in Lewisville.