Listening to Advice

Gene Glaze, CGR, GMB, owner of Glaze Construction Company, Hickory, N.C., probably never figured he would be NAHB Remodeler of the Month the day he started school to become a pharmacist. But after nine years of working with medications, he made a change that would eventually get him there.

“I was surprised and honored to be selected,” says Glaze. “But you know I’ve been blessed with people who helped me, people who’ve been around a long time.”

When Glaze decided to leave the life of pharmaceuticals behind, he went to work for Habitat for Humanity. Because he had some knowledge of home building but not a lot of experience, he would have to spend Tuesdays and Thursdays learning from the regular volunteers how to do various things so that he could teach it to the help on Saturdays. After three years of working with Habitat for Humanity, Glaze made the decision to open his own business in 2000, but still helps out with humanitarian projects.

“The people before you always help pave the way,” says Glaze. “From the day I started out, I had people offering me help, advice and answering questions and all that. I’ve always tried to take advantage of that on the one hand, and I’ve always tried to turn that back around and offer that sort of hand up, too, as other people are coming in the field. I’m a firm believer that you get out of it what you put into it.”

Glaze started out strictly as a home builder and found himself slowly shifting into remodeling. Today Glaze Construction’s primary focus is remodeling and within the last year has made the switch to a design/build firm.

“The light bulb really went off during my trip to Las Vegas last fall for the Remodeling Show,” explains Glaze. “I had the opportunity to attend some great classes. My business had shifted primarily to remodeling and I already had a full-time designer on staff, but I knew I was missing something from the mix but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I’m not sure who the instructor was supposed to be for the design/build class, but Alan Hanbury showed up as a last minute substitute and by the first break I knew that the future of my business lay in design/build,” Glaze says.

“One of the best things about these shows is the ability to have a conversation outside of the classroom with people like Alan and Mike Weiss, as well as gain new friends who, like me, were there to learn,” he adds.

Glaze came home from the show re-energized and focused on shifting his business completely to design/build. One of the recommendations he listened to was to hire a consultant to help map out the best way to make the transition. Working with the consultant, the company essentially utilized the principles of design/build to overhaul everything from its logo and organizational chart to its design and sales processes. Having always been a big believer in the importance of creating systems, Glaze also discovered the importance of continually evaluating those systems and tweaking them as needed.

“The process has at times been overwhelming and we aren’t all the way there yet, but I could not imagine doing this without help,” says Glaze. “Establishing our company as a design/build firm has made a big difference in helping us to get the kind of projects and clients that we want instead of just taking whatever came along.”