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Youth and experience can work hand-in-hand

When you’ve been in business for more than 30 years, you can take justifiable pride in your stability, but how do you keep stability from turning into rigidity?

One way is by ensuring your team is diverse, with exciting new ideas and hard-earned wisdom.

Residential construction can be a challenge, where time-honored methods and materials have a deserved place. “From design to completion, there are elements of our craft that haven’t changed in many years because they are trusted and effective,” says Steve Pryce. “But there is also an endless stream of innovation – new technologies, new materials and new ways of doing things. We need to balance the intuitive with the innovative.”

Steve and his brother Matt launched Prycon Custom Building & Renovations over 30 years ago and have remained leaders in custom home design and construction; but staying at the head of the pack takes more than just two experienced leaders.

“We’ve always believed in giving voice to the younger members of our team,” says Matt. “They bring exciting new ideas, information, and energy to the table. They can suggest approaches that we may not have even thought of.”

Listening and learning
Plenty of companies have a mix of older and younger employees, however, not every company works to ensure there is a bridge in their communication gap.

“Many of our employees have worked together for years; they know and trust each other,” Steve says. “So, they listen to each other and learn.”

The company also takes pride in investing in training, and in promoting from within. “You build a good, young team and you give them the opportunity to grow, which also helps you retain the top talent.”

These are the critical elements of collaborative teamwork.

It takes a team
Every Prycon home is overseen by a dedicated Project Manager, Matt explains. The homeowner will communicate with that project manager almost exclusively, on a daily basis — or even several times a day — over the course of a months-long construction project.

“It may appear to the client as though their project manager is the only person running their construction project,” says Matt. “However, there’s a lot more happening behind the scenes.”

In fact, Prycon can have more than one new home in various stages of completion at any one time, and their team of project managers meets regularly to discuss the progress of the sites. Those meetings focus on scheduling, suppliers, and budgeting. However, they are also a chance to share innovative approaches or ideas, or to brainstorm solutions to a particularly knotty problem. “You’ll have someone say ‘yes, I had a similar issue ten years ago, and here’s what we did,’ or someone saying, ‘I was at a trade show last month and saw something new that might be ideal for us,’” Matt says.

“That intergenerational sharing results in a better home, a better construction experience, and that’s good for the project and the homeowner.”

New ways of looking at a home
We are also seeing some generational shifts; younger homeowners are bringing new ideas to the table, new design elements or home features, or even entirely new attitudes to housing.

“Years ago, even the most elaborate homes had an unspoken uniformity to the layout: bedrooms upstairs, living space on the main floor, and a separate play space for the kids – usually in the basement,” says Steve. “You never would have dreamed of putting a recreation area upstairs, but now that’s quite routine.”

The bigger shift is how people are thinking about their future selves. “More and more clients of all ages are thinking about aging in place, designing a home that will work when they have children, when they’re empty nesters, when they’re elderly,” says Matt.

Clients are now designing interiors that can be separated into two living areas, each with their own entrances, so that two generations can share the home; or planning now for an elevator that might be installed in the future.

“People aren’t just asking themselves what kind of home they want now; many are picturing how the home will be used in the future,” says Matt.

Sometimes the answer is that it won’t. “Not everyone wants a forever home. Some clients want the perfect home for right now, and when their lives change, they’ll move.”

Many clients will call on Prycon to build or renovate that home in the future, as well. “We have clients who have hired us to build two or three homes over the decades,” says Matt.

“Homeowners appreciate knowing that even when Steve and I are retired, Prycon will still be there to build their next project. The people we’re training now are the people who will eventually be running this company, building great projects for the next 30 years and beyond.”

TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON
PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN

www.Prycon.com

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