In 2003, Richard Dugas Jr. was appointed CEO and president of Pulte Homes and became, at 38, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In 2005, Pulte ranked as the country's largest builder by revenue and posted a revenue increase of 28 percent over 2004. A native of Louisiana, Dugas worked in his father's small fishing and hunting store through college and earned a marketing degree at Louisiana State University. Today, he lives in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., with his wife and three daughters. Gene Randall spoke with him a few weeks ago.

BB: What kind of growth does Pulte see for this year?

RD: We see earnings growth in the 10 to 15 percent range from the prior year, which puts us in a range of $6 to $6.25 a share for 2006.

BB: In a housing downturn, would Pulte's marketing-to-segments approach buffer the effects?

RD: I don't think there is any question about it. When you look at the variety of consumer groups that we target, we are not beholden to any one group or any one geography, and that diversity really will protect us in any kind of an environment.

BB: ThisBig Builderis all about “branding.” How important is branding to your company's success?

RD: It's fundamental—not only today but, more important, for tomorrow. If you look at our projections for five years out, I believe the next-best reason for a homeowner to buy a home from one builder versus another, outside of location, is going to be reputation and quality, which fits right in with our branding effort around the country.

BB: Your supply chain vice president says Pulte is working on a long-term strategy for globalizing sources for building products. Is it ready for implementation, and how big a role could China play as a supplier?

RD: The strategy is still in the early innings, but we are diligently working on it. I don't know how big a role China would play. We suspect that, outside of eight to 10 critical “touch and feel” items in the home, the products that we select in each consumer group could be manufactured virtually anywhere. Our goal is to offer the most value—a combination of great quality and good price—to our homeowners, and there is no reason China or any other country couldn't play a role in terms of supplying us.