Summit Construction Corporation
Terry Neal and Olin Slabaugh founded Summit Construction Corporation (SCC) in 1981 as a track construction contractor, providing services to clients in the Mid-Atlantic States. The company found success throughout the ’80s and ’90s; however, the team shifted into a new market around the beginning of the new millennium.
Robert Kinser, president of SCC, operates the business with son Luke Kinser and Chellie Burton, vice presidents of SCC. According to Luke, expansion into the homebuilding sector has offered the team a broader market. Within that scope, SCC is able to offer diverse, customized services.
“One thing that really sets us apart is that we are able to build a wide spectrum of houses,” explains Luke, who grew up in the business and began working with his father at the age of 13. “We have a showroom that we built in our office to showcase design options. We embrace change, and being a smaller company makes it easier to go through with those changes. Our work is 100 percent new, residential construction. We have a team of 15 people and we build 50 to 60 new homes every year around Chesapeake, Va.”
Building Lifetime Homes in Unique Communities
SCC has been working on a number of attractive developments where clients can choose a plot for a custom home. “Edinburgh Meadows is one of our newer developments,” Luke notes. “There is a bit of a shortage in our area, but we are always looking for land to build on. That has been one component of adapting our company over the last few years.” Luke is proud to note that Crystal Lake South, Albermarle River Estates, Olde Town Terrace and Chapel Hill Estates are among the other communities where SCC is building dream homes.
As the market changes, so do aesthetics and technology. Therefore, the team offers a number of unique models for clients to choose from, all of which are fully customizable. The company’s homes range in price from $300,000 to $700,000.
Potential clients can peruse floor plans online or at the company’s office. SCC’s homes embody modern residential trends, drawing classic lines with contemporary features. These timeless designs offer a range of sizes and styles to fit any family in a number of safe and well-designed neighborhoods.
SCC has recently completed an in-house showroom, featuring design options. “It’s really neat,” Luke elaborates. “At first glance, it looks like you’re standing outside a house. The kitchen in the showroom is actually functional and sometimes we even cook dinner for clients there.”
While managing overhead is one of the largest challenges of the construction industry, Luke and the team prioritize reinvestment. “Overhead is our biggest expense, but it is also why we are able to operate a successful business,” he explains. “The showroom and everything that has gone into that is an investment. We can show people exactly what we can do for them and we have a space set up to be able to visualize that.”
Maintaining a Market Share
Another factor in the team’s continued success is running a lean operation. SCC subcontracts out most of the major trades, such as framing, roofing, plumbing and electric. Working with a set network of suppliers and contractors, the company is able to manage costs and control quality.
“We are always trying to improve and be more efficient,” Luke elaborates. “We utilize the best ways to build a house and cut the cost while continuing to improve the quality of our end product, our service and the business. SCC is a well-oiled machine. Right now we are focused on Virginia, but eventually we’d like to see ourselves working in the Carolinas.”
Luke remains positive about the future. “The economy looks like it is improving,” he continues. “I think we are in a bubble with the military presence in our area. Last year was a little busier, but I don’t think that is reflective of the entire country. I think that we pretty much embody that American spirit of doing what it takes to succeed and get through the rough times. We have cut our profits to keep the company alive and keep employees, and we are proud that we have been able to do that.”
In 2011 SCC celebrated 30 years in business and, as the economy improves, the business continues to operate efficiently. Strong internal management will allow Luke, Chellie, Robert and the rest of the SCC team to enjoy several decades of success to come. With a unique set of services and a longstanding reputation for quality construction, Summit Construction Corporation has set a precedent for healthy, controlled growth, even in a tough market.
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