"Builder of the Year"
When Mark Padrutt and Kurt Bauch forged their friendship playing
football together in high school and college, they had no idea that
someday they would be a winning team all on their own.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary as a single-family
home builder, Kurt and Marks company, Prominence Homes, has been named
1998 Builder of the Year by the Home Builders Association of
Although receiving this award is a tremendous honor, it is not the
first time Prominence Homes has been recognized for the quality of homes
it builds. Since Mark and
Kurt formed the company in 1989, Prominence Homes has also been involved
in several Parade of Homes, winning various honors including Best of
Show. They have also
participated in Best Homes competitions, winning first place and other
honors. Earning top awards for both events the very first time they
entered in 1994 was a sign this building company had a promising
future. Prominence Homes was
previously featured on our Builder/Architect
cover when it was a fairly new, up-and-coming company, already making its
mark. Over the years, the
company has grown and prospered, gaining scores of satisfied customers.
One secret of their success is Mark and Kurts dedications
to customer satisfaction. "One of the most crucial aspects of home building is the
planning. We spend a lot of time up front with our customers, planning and designing their
home and pricing out all aspects of the project. This eliminates surprises that can be
costly if not covered early on in the process," Mark states. "We make sure we
cover every detail faucets, fixtures, appliances, finishes, counter surfaces, etc.
the list is almost endless. Its time consuming, but before this stage is
over, we have a good understanding of our customers needs and desires. We like to
focus more on personal contact than on volume."
Adds Kurt, "We are hands-on throughout the
entire building process and involved in every aspect from design to completion. In
addition to our office number, our customers have our mobile, home and pager numbers
we maintain constant contact with our clients."
Another important factor of Prominence Homes success is
Kurt and Marks loyalty to their tradesmen. Mark explains, "We work with a
highly talented group of people, and have maintained a strong working relationship with
many of them since the very beginning. Their quality makes Prominence Homes what it
is." Notes Kurt, "Quality is our top priority
even if it costs a little
more and may not even show. Things you cant see often make the difference."
Says Mark, "We have been very fortunate to have had the
opportunity to work with so many good people. Our tradesmen, our suppliers and even our
customers have been wonderful to work with, and we have built many personal relationships
along the way."
Prominence Homes offers stock plans, including a range of
colonials, ranch style and one-and-a-half story homes, but always modifies the homes to
each customers specifications. Mark notes, "We also build completely customized
homes. We can start with a customers sketch or work with a plan the client brings to
us. Even when we begin with our stock plans, each home is modified to the point that, in
10 years, I dont think we ever built the same exact house twice."
Now based in Rootstown, OH, the company builds 12 to 20 homes per
year, at a wide price range, beginning around a very reasonable $135,000. Prominence Homes
has built in Stark, Portage, Summit, Wayne and Medina counties. The company usually has
several spec homes under way at any given time, as well as occasional model homes.
The building team has a keen interest in innovative building
processes, including a basement waterproofing system with an extensive warranty, which
Prominence Homes uses in about 95 percent of its homes; geothermal heating, cooling and
water heating; and overall home design. Kurt points out, "We are also starting to
offer options for the physically impaired, and even trying to incorporate into our plans
the versatility to convert homes when and if necessary." By offering larger doorways,
lever handles rather than knob-type and handles in tubs and showers, Prominence Homes is
always thinking and planning to make life easier for its customers. Mark and Kurt believe
it is their responsibility to keep abreast of new products and services.
In a new venture for this team, Mark and Kurt have joined with
Terry Moser, a commercial builder, to form their first development company. Clover Pointe
Land Development currently has three developments under way in Portage County.
"Weve thought about getting into developing for a long time and are very
excited about it. Its a different ball game, but were learning very
quickly," says Kurt.
Prominence Homes is a member of the HBA of Greater Akron, and Mark has
also served on the HBA Board of Trustees since 1997.
The company is also a member of the Western Reserve HBA and the
Better Business Bureau.
Mark and Kurt became friends while attending Peninsula Woodridge
High School and remained close friends through college. After both graduated from the
University of Akron, Kurt left for the U.S. Air Force to pursue his dream of becoming a
jet pilot. Mark, with his love of carpentry, joined a remodeling company founded by his
uncle. The two teamed up again in 1989 built their first home and Prominence Homes was