Each month, Majestic Kitchen & Bath Creations will feature a profile on an area leader in the residential building industry. This article highlights Heath Clark, Owner/Partner of Bill Clark Homes of Wilmington
Heath Clark describes his association with the homebuilding industry as a lifelong relationship.
It started early as a young kid helping his dad, Bill Clark, pour concrete on construction sites. As he watched his father grow his business, he always knew building homes would be his future.
Despite the challenges in the industry, the homebuilding business is something Heath very much enjoys. Learning the hard way, at times, always leads to finding a better way in the long run.
Like his father, Heath is looking forward to staying involved as long as he is able.
Where did you grow up?
Greenville, North Carolina. That’s the home of Bill Clark Homes.
When were you introduced to the building industry?
I was exposed to it as a young kid, and I worked whether or not you could “technically” work at that age [laughing]. I was involved in concrete work and framing in the early days and, as my father’s success continued, homebuilding became part of my day-to-day life.
I have not done anything else, other than play sports, than be part of a family-owned building business.
What about the industry made you want to pursue it as a career?
I really haven’t given it much thought, to tell you the truth. I graduated from East Carolina. I went there to play baseball, but I always knew this is what I’m going to be doing.
I’ve never imagined pursuing any other career. Whether it was a lack of thought on my part or I just knew that building homes is what I would end up doing, I’m not sure. However, I enjoy it very much.
It’s a great career. It’s a great business. It’s a very hard business, at times, and it can take a lot out on you. When it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad. So, it takes a lot of energy to do something like this.
My father is a great example. He has been in this business for a long, long time and he’s still going strong. I have been building homes since I finished school and I plan to continue doing so as long as I am able to.
What is one important lesson you learned along the way?
Keep it simple. I know it sounds simple, but it’s important. Stick to what you’re good at. That doesn’t mean never trying new things. But if you keep your game plan simple, you and your team always know what you are working towards.
Who has inspired and motivated you the most?
My parents. From playing baseball to building homes, my parents have always supported and encouraged me. Watching my father build his business inspired me to become a part of it, as well.
And everyone who knows my family can tell you that my mother was always the one cheering us all on. She made everyone around us feel like part of the family.
What is the biggest challenge you face today?
The current supply of sub-contractors and skilled labor. That is a very big problem for me. If I could get more people to work, I could build more houses. We have a very large workforce shortage.
One of the biggest upcoming challenges I think we’re all going to face is housing affordability. We know it’s coming, and it is something we all will have to deal with.
How many employees do you currently have?
We have 75 total, between our Wilmington office and our Legacy Homes office in Brunswick Forest.
How many homes did you build last year?
We closed on 235, and we will probably do another 20 to 30 percent more than that this year.
How do you define success?
You will learn more from your mistakes than you will from any of your successes, as far as I’m concerned. We may have had a very successful year, but I am always looking at how we could have done something even better.
What does being a leader mean to you?
We have a really solid foundation for leadership that is built on good values and integrity. So, I think that gives employees confidence to learn and grow. It also builds trust and loyalty, because they know I’m going to stand behind them, so long as they fulfill the company’s values.
What advice would you give those just starting out in the industry?
Be patient. People, now more than ever, want instant gratification.
I’m a graduate of a university – and a degree is nice to have – but what you learn in this industry doesn’t come from a book. You have to go out there, see it, do it and experience this business yourself to learn.
So, yes, you have to be patient. Whether you come out of a university, a community college or a high school, you’re still going to have to go into the field and see how we do things. And if you’re lucky, you can find a good mentor to learn from. Years of experience will outweigh a textbook any day.
For a quarter century, Majestic has offered a wide selection of products for homebuilders, from counter tops, shower enclosures, shelving, door hardware and accessories for kitchens and bathrooms, in North and South Carolina. Acquisitions just within the last year of many well-established companies – including Builders Glass & Hardware Inc. in Wilmington and similar businesses in Greensboro and Charlotte – allow Majestic to be the most professional trade partner. Visit www.gomajestic.com or call (910) 762-2252 for more information.