Jack Rostetter, a 16-year industry veteran who has been this builder’s CFO since 2009, has been promoted to CEO, filling the spot vacated by Ralph Huff, who cofounded the company in 1991 and continues to serve as chairman. Huff’s wife Linda remains H&H’s president.
Other changes include the promotion of Ned Johnson, who had been the builder’s purchasing director since 2005, to vice president of internal operations and production support. Huff tells Builder that Johnson will focus on quality assurance issues “to eradicate costly mistakes” in the construction process. The company is bringing on what Huff calls “a seasoned purchasing and estimating professional” whose charge will be to reduce H&H’s building materials costs by at least one percentage point this year.
The company has also hired Jody Noland as its financial controller. She has more than 20 years of industry experience, including a decade as regional senior accounting manager for Picerne Military Housing. (The vast majority of H&H’s customers are employees of or military personnel assigned to bases in its markets.) And last year, the builder brought on an in-house designer who has been updating its house plans; Judy Spector as vice president of sales and agent development, whose primary role is to train the company's 30 salespeople techniques for selling in the field; and Kristie Meave as senior vice president of marketing for H&H and Coldwell Banker Advantage, the real estate brokerage that Huff owns, which commands a 24% market share.
In 2012, H&H Homes sold 444 homes (second best in the company’s history) and closed 432. Its net income rose by 22% on revenue that increased by around 7.5%. Its goal for 2013 is to sell at least 500 homes. The company expanded into Raleigh, N.C., last year, and has lots “teed up” in Wilmington, N.C., to start building homes there, too, says Huff.
The company has considered expansion into Columbia, S.C., and Mobile, Ala., but for the moment Huff and Rostetter think there are still growth opportunities within two hours of H&H’s headquarters, especially in smaller markets such as Goldsboro and Asheville, N.C., which aren’t as attractive to the bigger public builders.
The company has credit lines totaling $60 million from its two main bank lenders, and Rostetter is hoping those lenders will allow H&H to have at least 100 completed and vacant spec homes on the ground in the 48 communities it sells in. (Currently it has only 51 completed and unsold spec homes, and averaged 70 last year.)
John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.