Standard Pacific Homes entered Florida with a splash in 2002 by acquiring four builders there. Three years later it's still making waves in the Sunshine State, where the company projects its closings this year will increase 68 percent to 4,700 units, and where the homes its Florida divisions build should exceed Standard Pacific's construction activity in California, its headquarters state. The builder relies on local managers to set their divisions' expansion pace.

“We're leaving growth up to them,” says Bruce Dickson, the 51-year-old president of the company's Southeast region, which includes the Carolinas and Austin, Texas, where Dickson joined the company in 2002 as divisional president. “We have good local talent, and we've kept everyone in place,” meaning the owners of the acquired builders stay on to run their businesses.

Bruce Dickson, President, Southeast Region, Standard Pacific Corp.
Bruce Dickson, President, Southeast Region, Standard Pacific Corp.

A 14-year industry veteran who once ran D.R. Horton's South region, Dick-son sees his role as supporting his team of entrepreneurs. Last year, he and Kathy Wade, Standard Pacific's Southwest regional president, convened managers from the high-octane Tampa, Fla., and Phoenix divisions for three days of idea sharing. “It was fun watching the energy coming from 16 bright people,” he recalls.

On The Agenda Land again ranks as builders' top business concern for the next year, with nearly half (49) of the BUILDER 100 ranking it first. As in last year's survey, builders ranked increasing market share and improving customer service second and third. Fewer, though, are concerned about insurance issues: No one ranked it first, and just five counted it among their top three priorities.

  • Managing land supply
  • Increasing market share
  • Improving customer service
  • Improving construction quality
  • Streamlining the supply chain
  • Diversifying product offerings
  • Expanding into new geographic markets
  • Improving access to capital
  • Addressing insurance issues
  • Revising corporate governance policies
  • Digging Deeper Regardless of where they rank managing their land supply among their priorities, every builder needs a strategy for controlling land costs. In 2004, land represented slightly more of a home's sale price—21.7 percent versus 21.2 percent in 2003—for the BUILDER 100. The group also owned more of its land supply in 2004, just about 66 percent, compared with 62 percent a year earlier.

    Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.