Tell us about yourself and how you got started in construction?
I grew up in North Dakota between a cattle ranch and a sugar beet/barley farm. When I was 13 I tried working the farm with my dad irrigating the crops. I hated it. The hours and mosquitoes were the worst but I had to have a job so the next day I called my dad’s best friend at the time who was also a general contractor.
I said, “I will do whatever it takes, I’ll be your ‘gopher’ (go for this, and go for that)”. He said, “Sure you can come to work for me for $7.25/hr. We are roofing this summer. We tear off and put back on a roof a day. Your job will be to pick up all the garbage on the ground and you can come up on the roof when you are done with the garbage.” I was the best gopher around. I was on the roof in no time and eventually roofing with them. We did 80 roofs that summer. I was hooked. I loved the work, the comradery, and the culture of construction.
I then went on to pursue an associate’s degree in Building Construction Technology from the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton North Dakota. After completing the degree I was still not convinced of why the architects drew the plans we were building the way they did and suddenly I also loved going to school so I applied to the Architecture program 75 miles north in Fargo North Dakota at North Dakota State University and was accepted. 20 years later I am now an architect and builder and love every minute of it.
What is your professional opinion on the state of construction in Colorado right now?
The state of construction in Colorado right now is that we are all very busy and that it’s very expensive to build as well. I am hearing other architects and builders say that they are booked for months and even years out and that they expect this trend to continue.
I also do not expect costs to come down anytime soon so if you can build now then your best shot is right now. You cannot print 80% of all dollars in existence in 22 months and not expect inflation.
What are some of the largest obstacles in the construction process that you have found?
The government. Every single time it is the local governments and their ever-increasing and burdensome regulations that are our biggest obstacle.
What is a typical day (or week) like for you?
I typically wake up before the sun does and go directly to my home office downstairs and that’s also when I am most creative. It’s my quiet time to caffeine up and get after it. I then go into our office in Longmont after dropping the kids off at school and stay at work until 5.
We work hard and play even harder at F9 so we rarely work weekends.
What do you like most about your work?
The variety. There are always new clients and new types of buildings. We rarely do the same thing twice.
What advice would you have to share with other builders or contractors in this market?
Tell the truth. Don’t be afraid to give realistic timelines and budgets to clients.
In your experience, what are the largest hurdles in achieving compliance with energy codes?
I would say it’s when we are doing houses that have a lot of glass with poor southern exposures.
What areas do you serve?
We serve all of Colorado and occasionally Tennessee, Idaho, and North Dakota.
What hobbies do you have outside of your business?
I am an avid fisherman.
What’s the best way to get in touch with you?
Call me anytime between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday at 303.775.7406!
Final Note: Lance and Alex also host a podcast called INSIDE THE FIRM which is a very interesting look into the inner workings of an Architecture firm. Check out the podcast here or on youtube.