The latest episode of Zonda’s Inspirational Leadership with the Best in Home Building podcast, hosted by principal Mollie Carmichael, features an interview with Gene Myers, chairman and chief sustainability officer of Thrive Home Builders in Denver.

Thrive is among the nation’s leading builders of energy-efficient and healthy homes. The company has been the recipient of numerous awards since its inception, including an unprecedented 13 grand awards for housing innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy and numerous Environmental Protection Agency Indoor airPLUS Leader awards.

Here are some highlights from the episode:

On breaking into the market for green homes
“Our customers’ quality of life is being shaped by climate events. … And it’s our belief that there are enough buyers for a niche builder like us who would want to know that they’ve done all they can with the biggest purchase of their lives. A home is probably one of the most carbon-intensive products that a consumer buys, and the message we’re working on is if you buy a home from us, we can give you the peace of mind of knowing you’ve done all you can for the people you love. “

On the biggest influential leader in his life
“I lost my dad when I was 9. So, my mom was the most influential person in my life. And she taught me that we're here to make it better. I grew up in the panhandle of Texas, and we had some bigoted family friends, but my mom taught me that everyone's the same. She loved people. And I think she taught me that. In the end, it may look like it's about energy efficiency, but it's about people.”

On competing in the market as a niche builder
“I always tell fellow small builders that I think the riskiest thing you can do is to be just like everybody else. So, we get into a time like this. ... It’s competitive out there, and it's a race to the bottom. It's a race to how much can you discount or how much will you pay to buy down a mortgage. We've always felt that, as a small builder, we needed some other attribute on which to compete.”

On the qualities he looks for in future leaders
“You need people that have the emotional maturity to work with others and to be good teammates. And I think that's maybe the most important thing. We can teach people a lot, but it's really hard to teach good values. … It's those kinds of fundamental qualities of humanity that we look for, and I think there we have maybe a little bit of an advantage that our mission does really attract great people.”