2019 Builder of the Year: The New Home Company

Professional Builder’s 2019 Builder of the Year espouses a collaborative culture that fosters success across the board and provides a proven model for the industry

By Mike Beirne | Pro Builder

When Larry Webb left John Laing Homes in 2008, he had a year-long noncompete clause in which to contemplate his future, and his legacy, in home building. 

Under his leadership, Laing had grown from a two-market operation in 1995 to being the second-largest private builder in the country a decade later, but its story did not end well. In 2006, a Dubai-based real estate developer bought the company for $1.05 billion, promising to invest in even more aggressive growth; two years later, on the cusp of the Great Recession, the developer stopped funding its shiny new object. Laing foundered as the downturn worsened, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and eventual liquidation in 2009. Though Webb had left the company a year earlier, it was not how he wanted his home building story to end.

Webb knew—after 30-plus years in the housing industry working in and leading such companies as Kaufman & Broad (now KB Home) and Greystone Homes before landing at Laing—that home building operations are “silos stuffed with white guys” who work hard but not collaboratively. 

So he started a new company from scratch; no old-school legacy culture to remake, no overseas owners to placate, no nothing, really. When The New Home Company opened its doors in mid-2009, it was almost entirely in name only, with $60 million in the bank from equal investments by Webb and three other former Laing executives—Tom Redwitz, Wayne Stelmar, and Joseph Davis—and employees willing to work for almost (and sometimes literally) nothing while the startup found its footing. 


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December 2019