Helping Those in Need

Dan Lammers, CGR, CAPS, owner and president of Lammers Construction Services, Inc., Iowa City, Iowa, has built his business by doing everything from $800,000 whole house remodels, historic restorations or simply fixing a doorknob. It’s his role in helping start the local Remodelers’ Council in 1996 and working hand-in-hand with Iowa City to help those in need that makes Lammers the September NAHB Remodeler of the Month.

Lammers started his business in 1983 to a slow start, but by 1985 it started to take off. In 1988, Lammers and his wife joined the NAHB, mainly to become better educated in the building industry. In 1990 they went to a remodelers’ convention where they learned a lot from the classes.

“All the things that the NAHB can give to me are what keep my interest,” says Lammers. “It’s a matter of being nationally connected and also having an outlet so we can do some community service. It’s a way to give back.”

Two years ago a tornado struck Iowa City and this year it experienced major flooding. Because of his relationship with the area, Lammers has stepped up to help assess the damage.

“We just had some big floods here, so we’ve been working with the city to get these flood homes inspected and get all the information off to FEMA, which I think we’re doing pro-bono,” Lammers laughs. “So far no one has offered to pay me for it.”

Lammers is happy to do it though. The flooding has essentially given the company too much business. Lammers Construction for the last 10 to 15 years is almost always at least six months out on jobs lined up, so jobs are not a problem. But when the floods came, four different homes that got flooded were those of past customers. Consequently the company felt obligated to take care of them right away — to get them cleaned up, get them back into their homes.

Because of the tornado two years ago that hit three of Lammers’ customers, the company was accustomed to reacting to natural disasters. Lammers had to pull crews off of jobs and go over and work with those customers. Lammers told them that they would be pulling their crew off of the job and split the time between that job and the natural disaster job so they can get a roof over the unfortunate families’ heads and keep people living in both homes.

“What we noticed was that all of our current customers were more than willing to help,” explains Lammers. “They understood that even though their kitchen was torn out and we would be finished two weeks later than we said we would, it was fine with them and they made the sacrifice so we could get the affected families back in their homes.”

Lammers and his wife often remark on how rewarding it is, that their customers are the type of people who will do such a thing for their neighbor, which gives a good sense of what the community is doing.

“When you get into an emergency situation like that, the way it affects your company is that it gives you a good feeling that you’re doing the right thing,” says Lammers. “You’re actually giving people shelter, which gives you a new sense of what it means to have a roof over your head. A lot of people lose the concept of what that means. Going through an emergency teaches you that. When a home is taken away from someone so abruptly you understand the importance of the career that you’ve chosen to keep people housed.”