Staying the Course

Todd M. Newman, owner of the Newman Company, Inc., in Riley, Ind., firmly believes in the value of education and professional engagement — so much so that he is his state’s first National Association of Home Builders Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR).

That might be impressive if it were his only achievement — becoming a Graduate Master Remodeler requires at least nine years as an active Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), 15 years’ remodeling industry experience, and completion of required courses — but he also holds designations as a Graduate Master Builder (GMB), Certified Graduate Builder (CGB), Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) and Certified Green Professional (CGP).

His lifetime of learning — and his career in remodeling — started out with a Bachelor of Science degree in construction, with a minor in architecture, from Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
Education and the resulting professional designations are a great marketing tool, Newman says, “but the experience I have gained from the interaction with leaders of the industry like Mike Weiss, Jud Motsenbocker, and Steve Robinson is worth much more.”

"We are professionals, and it is our responsibility to be the leaders of the industry."

“The NAHB has formed my company into the organization it is today. No matter what level I am at, I believe I can always raise the bar, and diminish the image of the remodeler of the past. We are professionals and it is our responsibility to be the leaders of the industry. We’ve earned respect for what we have achieved by separating ourselves through education and professionalism,” he continues.

Newman’s involvement with the home builders association hasn’t been limited to the educational side, either. He was state director for 13 years; chairperson of the state remodelers council for three years; founder and chairperson of the local remodelers council in 2007; local green build chairperson; state remodeler of the year; local remodeler of the year four times; and past president of the local home builders association. He was named life director for the state of Indiana in 2008.

Newman is involved in his community as well. He was named Angel of the Year by Habitat for Humanity for his contributions to the group’s local ReStore program. He also created a foundation in his mother’s memory after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The foundation “Janet Sue’s Helping Hand” builds handicap ramps for individuals in financial need. The Newman Co. contributes a percentage of profits each year and has received donations from friends and customers for the purchase of materials.

One of his company’s greatest strengths, says Newman, is its level of communication with clients, from the first contact to completion of the project. Expectations are determined and exceeded; design is done in-house with attention to details; and proposals are written to eliminate any areas of misunderstanding.

“We try to be very detailed in our contracts. I’ve seen other contracts that are essentially one page and there’s really no detail. We specify all the fixtures, the tubs, faucets, colors, countertops and sinks,” he says.

“We don’t do a lot of allowances in our contracts; we do hard-number contracts. Unless there is a specific change order, we stand by our numbers. It makes it a lot easier if we specify everything upfront. That way if the homeowners want to change anything, they know exactly what that cost will be,” Newman explains.

Making the process easier is Newman’s showroom, which is open by appointment. “We have all the products that we use, all the colors and all the selections. We will go through and select all of our cabinets and all of our countertops. We help them with their tile selections, their faucet finishes; we have all of our cabinet selections and colors on the wall, as well as the paint selections, carpet and moulding. We do every aspect of it through the selection list, so there are no misunderstandings,” he says.

Todd M. newman:

  • Company name: Newman Co., Inc.
  • Location: Riley, Ind.
  • Community involvement: Angel of the Year, Habitat for Humanity; founder, Janet Sue’s Helping Hand Foundation
  • Industry involvement: NAHB state director; life director; chairperson, state remodelers council; founder and chairperson, local remodelers council; local green build chairperson; local remodeler of the year (four years); past president, local HBA.
  • Professional designations: GMR, GMB, CGR, CGB, CAPS, CGP