Presidents Speaking to Our Core Values

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We are passionate about our four core values. In celebration of President’s Day, we will let a few of them speak to these values.


"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."George Washington


“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly…” Ronald Reagan


“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson


If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Holidays Home Assessment

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Goodness, are the holidays a busy time? Decorating, shopping, entertaining: for most, this is not a time to think about remodeling. But maybe it should be.  Chances are that this might be a time when your house is under maximum stress.  These are the times that many remodeling projects are geared to improve.

When your home is full of guests is a great time to take inventory of traffic patterns and places of congestion.  Is there a bottleneck coming into the living room? Do you need more space at the front door?  Would an additional guest bathroom be helpful?

When there are extra cooks in the kitchen is a perfect time to think about changes that might be helpful there. Remodeling Magazine says, “We all love to hang out where the food is, so your kitchen and eating space need to be designed to flow and function for cooking and entertaining.” Are guests in the way of cooking? Do you have enough counter space, storage space, refrigeration? Are the spices where they should be? Are there too many steps between the frig and the prep area? This is the time to think about efficiency in your kitchen.

Is there room for everyone around the dining room table? Is there a protected screened in porch for spillover space? How are those floor coverings? Does everything come together in the coordinated way that makes you proud to show your home off?

The holidays are a busy time and a time to enjoy family and friends. It is also a great time to think about your home and imagine great improvements to make it even warmer and more of a reflection of you.


Business handshake


Are you an aspiring, or even established, entrepreneur?  It can be exciting, exhilarating, terrifying and often you feel like you are all alone.  But you don’t have to. There are lots of outlets that can provide great information and let you feel less all alone.

Most professional organizations provide resources for learning more about your profession or just asking questions.

Your local peers. Often people are scared to turn to their “competition.”  But most of the time they are a great source of information. In most industries quality professionals help raise the bar and raises awareness for their industry by working together. Working together with your local competition can be both rewarding and provide a great return for all involved.

There are many mentor organizations that can be very beneficial for some.

Most Universities provide aid either as a class project or as an extended practice.

National peer groups. There are many national peer groups both within industries and also across industries. In these groups, you meet other noncompeting businesses. This format allows a deeper dive than most business owners would be comfortable with within their local market. I meet twice a year for three days with ten other top-flight remodeling companies. We review accounting, sales, marketing, policies, and procedures. I learn a great deal from these peers.

Do not overlook the wisdom of friends and family. They want to see you succeed. Granted they probably do not know much about your business but that is actually an advantage. They can provide rich insight from an outsider’s perspective. 

I have been very fortunate to have had peers and mentors that made my journey less scary and more enjoyable. When possible, I return the favor.  I have been a business owner for over 30 years and I know how overwhelming it can be at times. I will provide free consultation to anyone thinking about starting a business or who is running a business within 70 miles of College Station.

I do this because it is a passion, I stand to learn, and I believe that communities that encourage entrepreneurship are more vibrant and interesting.  Sometimes just having someone to tell your ideas to can help you work through them. At other times hearing a different perspective can help bring things into focus. Mistakes provide the best learning opportunities, it is much less costly if you can learn from the mistakes that others have made.

I reserve one hour a week for this service.  I am available for one session or a series of once a month sessions. You can contact me at [email protected] or call our office at 979.696.0524 and ask for Hugh and tell them that you are interested in business coaching.

Girl Power


Let’s start with the title of this post.  I started out to write about the dearth of women in the construction field and the incredible women that are part of our team. The term “girl power” popped into my head.  That is a common term these days.  I figured that was because of some children’s superhero.  I googled it. The first entry was Wikipedia, which said, “Girl power is a slogan that encourages and celebrates women's empowerment, independence, and confidence.”

Why… how does the term “girl power” encourage women’s empowerment?

Does “boy power” encourage men’s empowerment?

And what about the term manpower? It denotes work done by anyone including girls and women.

Will we ever be able to make our language gender neutral? Maybe it seems trifling to you. Not to me.

Nonetheless, there is a sense in which I like the expression “girl power.” It denotes something young, not as in underdeveloped, but as in unjaded. This is the perspective we must have if we are to overcome so much scripting of language and culture.

This scripting is likely the reason why only 10% of the construction industry is represented by women.  I don’t know what that percentage is within residential remodeling or what it is in the College Station and  Bryan area. Later, I will write about the two powerful women on our team. Our workforce has twice the industry average percentage of women, but we strive to do better than that. We are always looking for qualified women to be part of our team.

Remodelers Advantage Peer Group


One of our best assets here at Stearns Design Build is an organization called Remodelers Advantage (RA.)  RA brings together top notch Remodelers from around the country forming peer groups to share insight and information. RA provides experienced facilitators and coaches to help its members improve and grow.

Peer groups meet twice a year for intensive review and learning.  It is like having a board of directors made up of the top people in your industry. In addition to meeting twice a year there is regular communication thought email and phone calls.

Each of the members of my peer group provides a wealth of information and guidance.  I will share these members here because their websites are well worth a visit to find inspiration and knowledge and if you have family or friends in these areas you will want to recommend these companies. RA members must adhere to high ethical standards and business practices. 

Fiderio & Sons - Meriden, CT - Fiderio & Sons Website

Kaufman Construction - West Des Moines, IA - Kaufman Construction Website

Tier1 Group - Leander, TX - Tier1 Group Website

Petra Custom Builders - Boulder, CO - Petra Custom Builders Website

Gordon Reese Construction - Walnut Creek, CA - Gordon Reese Website

Schloegel Design Remodel, Inc. - Kansas City, CO - Schloegel Website

The Merrill Construction Group - Nashville, TN - The Merrill Construction Website

5th Generation Contracting - Marietta, GA - 5th Generation Website

Daniel Builders Inc. - Anderson, SC - Daniel Builders Website