WHEN THEIR ASSOCIATES describe Larry Webb and Joe Pusateri, they use words like “hero,” “risk taker,” and “optimist.” Without prompting, they explain that if not for the leadership and generosity of Webb, chairman and CEO of Newport Beach, Calif.—based John Laing Homes, and Pusateri, president of Elite Homes in Louisville, Ky., their organizations might cease to exist today.

In 1999, Hearthstone Advisers, a national firm that provides financing to home builders, and Builder established the Hearthstone Builder Awards to pay tribute to builders like Webb and Pusateri, who improve their communities through their dedication to charitable work.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Larry Webb, chairman and CEO of John Laing Homes, has brought his lifelong commitment to service to his employees and peers.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Larry Webb, chairman and CEO of John Laing Homes, has brought his lifelong commitment to service to his employees and peers.

Webb and Pusateri's efforts have provided shelters for orphans, battered women, as well as HIV and AIDS patients. They support a wide range of nonhousing causes, too, from the Boy Scouts of America and public schools to public television and the arts. What's more, they have leveraged their contacts within the building industry—employees and business associates alike—to build upon their own good deeds.

Those who work with them know that great things lay ahead. Joe Davis, president of Irvine Community Development Co., says that Webb's leadership style “causes people to want to be engaged in his cause and follow his lead.” Scott Provancher, executive director of the Louisville Orchestra, describes Pusateri as “one of those few people you'll meet who you have the ultimate confidence that if you're partnered with him, the project will be successful.”

More great ideas will take shape thanks to this year's 45 Hearthstone sponsors: Webb will receive $150,000 to donate to his charities, and Pusateri will receive $100,000.