Meet Dave Durham: Division Manager at Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods
At Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods (PH&N), we’re proud to introduce a vital member of the leadership team, Dave Durham. As a Division Manager of PH&N, Dave helps create gorgeous, personalized dwellings that not only capture the essence of our spectacular surroundings but also optimize each homeowner’s quality of life. He’s making it happen at Bay Creek right now and will start building in our sister coastal community, Albemarle Plantation, very soon. We recently chatted with Dave to learn more about him, his background, how he helps people make their dream homes a reality, and his take on new home building trends.
Dave, you’ve been a Division Manager with Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods (PH&N) for close to a year now. As a 30-year veteran of the residential construction industry, what prompted you to join the team?
“Before coming on board with PH&N, I was fortunate to be in several leadership roles within the home building industry. I was the co-founder of Palm Coast Group, LLC, as well as North Carolina Division President and Corporate Senior Vice President for John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. During my time with Wieland, I oversaw homebuilding operations in eight markets across six southeastern states. I knew I could contribute a lot of knowledge and experience to Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods. What’s more, I have a strong, long-standing, working relationship with Jeff Coggin (President of PH&N) and Kevin Popson (another Division Manager of PH&N) that dates back to the 1990s. So joining the team made sense. We’ve been able to leverage our combined experience in incredible ways. It’s been a perfect fit.”
Your title is Division Manager. What exactly does that encompass?
“Currently, everyone on the team is pooling resources to build a strong foundation for the success of PH&N. Eventually, the company’s structure will grow into two separate divisions. Once that happens, I’ll handle the South Carolina and Georgia division, and Kevin (Popson) will oversee the Virginia and North Carolina division. But as it stands right now, we’re using our expertise to build the processes for ensuring that each new homeowner has an enjoyable home building experience. Things like putting the best warranty programs in place, creating strategies for quality management, and building methodologies for interfacing design with a customer’s needs. It’s fun because we get to put our own experienced spin on it. Knowledge is power, and we’re using that power to create a healthy, highly successful home building enterprise — one that produces beautiful, quality-built, personalized homes for the most discerning buyers.”
What are your hopes for the future of PH&N?
“Right now, our focus is to complement Preserve Communities with houses that appeal to ‘move-up’ homebuyers. These buyers have typically owned a few homes already or have lived in their homes for several years. Today, they have the equity and income to trade up to a dwelling that’s more personalized and tailored to their lifestyle. They are experienced buyers with distinctive tastes. And for some, this may be their final home — one that epitomizes their lifestyle, interests, and passions — elements that Preserve Communities takes pride in offering at all of their properties.”
Are there any specific areas of homebuilding that excite you?
“Yes, I love the challenge of perfectly matching and tailoring a home to fit a homebuyer’s needs. It’s gratifying to hit on the right architecture and home plan that clicks for them. When they’re delighted, we’re delighted. Sometimes homebuyers don’t even realize that we’re strategically adding features and functionality that make life easier for them. We like to anticipate their needs before they do. One example is a ‘drop zone.’ While guests will typically enter homes through an elaborate front foyer, owners usually enter through the garage and into the kitchen. To help keep the kitchen tidy and uncluttered, we’ve created somewhat of an enhanced mudroom, now known as a drop zone. It’s an organizational space where you drop your mail, keys, purses, bags, coats, charge your phone, and more. And with the right storage spaces and decor, it can look very attractive.”
What other interesting home trends and strategies are you utilizing in PH&N-built homes?
“We take pride in truly understanding each of our homebuyer’s needs, but we also like to create what we call ‘memory points’ — unique differentiators that separate us from other homebuilders. For example, we’ll pop the ceiling height to 10 or 11-feet in the owner’s suite to make it feel even more spacious. We’ll design an oversized kitchen island because the homeowner has lots of family and friends that like to gather in that space. Most people love an enormous shower, but we’re still happy to accommodate those who enjoy a soothing bath in a modern soaking tub. Another popular feature is more livable outdoor spaces. We’re installing large sliding doors that lead to welcoming covered porches — places that beautifully blend the indoors and out. And with so many people working from home today, we’re creating hidden, highly functional nooks that are a perfect home office space. We listen to our client’s wishes and like to stay on the cusp of what people are looking for in a modern, high-end home.”
Tell us about your favorite part of the home building process.
“You know, I just went to Charlotte this past weekend, and I made it a point to ride through one of my old neighborhoods. It’s a 10-year old community now, but I was delighted to see that it looked fantastic — even better than when it was new. Seeing it reminds me of my favorite part of the home building process — strategic positioning of houses on sites so that they beautifully complement the property and surrounding homes. You have to get it right on the first try because there’s no going back and fixing it. It’s about looking at the big picture and creating a gratifying, idyllic streetscape — one that has incredible synergy and will stand the test of time. It’s rewarding to see the homes and neighborhoods I helped create turn out so well. Each has given its residents a warm sense of pride in place, not to mention an excellent ROI . I’m looking forward to doing the same for the owners of PH&N homes.”
You’re currently building PH&N homes in Bay Creek. What’s your favorite feature in that community?
“It isn’t easy to choose just one! The fantastic views of the water, the award-winning golf, the Life Center — and Cape Charles is a lovely town too. When you add it all up, everything about the quality of life at Bay Creek is hard to match. But if I had to pick my absolute favorite thing, it’s a particular view. When you approach Bayside Village, you’ll come upon a magnificent scene where we have an American flag proudly flying in the coastal breeze. And currently, the PH&N homes are being built leading right up to this iconic spot. Every time I see it, it’s breathtaking. I love it.”
And speaking of the American flag, we must thank you for your service. You served four years in the US Army as a paratrooper at Fort Bragg, NC. You were also awarded the Army Commendation Medal for combat operations during the invasion of Grenada in 1983. What’s more, you received an Executive Education from Harvard Business School in 2003. So how has all of this impressive experience helped you excel in your homebuilding career?
“Bottom line, I’m not afraid of a challenge. I gained a ton of strategic-level thinking and creative problem-solving skills. I like putting strong, proven systems into place. And once you get to know me, you’ll discover that I’m very gung-ho about getting stuff done.”
We’ve learned a lot about you and Preserve Homes and Neighborhoods, but would you care to share a fun fact about yourself? …maybe something most don’t know about you?
“I’m a BIG college football fan and look forward to watching games every year. Growing up, I idolized my dad, and he’s always been a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan. My interest in college football stems from that shared passion for the sport. I love watching and discussing games, especially with him — and he’s 91 years young! Watching games together makes for a wonderful time, not only with him but with the rest of my family and friends.”
Not only does Dave understand the importance of quality time with those we hold dear, he knows how to craft homes and neighborhoods that capitalize on those connections. With PH&N, you’re not just purchasing a home – you’re joining a community that enjoys an active, enriching lifestyle. PH&N is already building homes in Bay Creek and will have new homes available in Albemarle Plantation at the end of 2021. We invite you to see and experience the great work that Dave and his team have already started. Learn more and plan your visit today. We can’t wait to welcome you to your new home.