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Realty Builder
Jax Daily Record Monday, May 20, 200212:00 PM EST

Laurel winners...


Karen Sutherland, ICI Homes

Best Architectural Design

“I start by getting excellent photography produced which is what the judges are actually looking at. I prepare the marketing statements myself which I think gives me an edge over an agency or third party. Attention to details of your presentation and the marketing statements are of high importance. Having been a judge in the past gives me a better knowledge of what the process entails and I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to be a judge in another market to do so.”

Donna (Hoeltzel) Owens,

Centex Homes

Golden Service Award

“Customer satisfaction is our goal at Centex Homes; teamwork and excellent customer service is our culture. Our Laurel entry included a marketing statement that outlined our program of customer care for before, during, and after the sale of a Centex Home. We also submitted copies of our Homeownership Handbook and video tapes, which guide our customers through the buying, financing, construction, warranty, and maintenance aspects of becoming a new home owner.”

Eric Phillips, Centex Homes

Construction Manager of the Year

“I think I won because of the strong team of people who work with me. Without them, I would not have won. I also believe we won based on the way we involve our sales staff, construction staff and the customer in every stage of construction which makes the customer feel more involved with building their home. Some of the ways we do this are weekly calls to the customer, at least three planned meetings in the field with sales, construction and the homeowner, and to continue calling the homeowner after they close just to check in.”

Dawn Gochnour, First South Bank

Associate of the Year

“Since December 2000, I’ve been involved in a number of SMC projects, including the teddy bear drive, the toy drive for daniel, the school supply drive, the food drive, the blood drive and more. I was also chairperson of the Scrapbook Committee for 2001. Our chapter was named first in state and won silver award at nationals. Additionally, I make a pointed effort to be helpful to Portland Stuart, sales and marketing director, in any way that I can, specifically by helping out with the monthly breakfast meetings.

“My interview with the judges was an interesting experience. The judges asked a number of questions in a very short time including what I’d done with SMC over the past year, why I’d become involved in SMC, how my involvement with SMC benefited my career and finally whether or not I’d ever considered becoming a new home sales person.”

Linda Mathis,

North Florida Builders

Best Architectural Design

“Our company won two Laurels in Architectural Design and Glenda Wann Interiors won a Laurel for merchandising one of our models. Our designs are targeted to a higher-end buyer who has usually built or owned previous homes. The architectural features that we included reflect the needs and desires of that experienced home owner. Impressive exteriors, landscaping, unique floor plan layout and quality interior merchandising all played a part in our award. Most of our standard features are upgrades in other builders’ models. A clear and thorough marketing statement was very important in order for the judges to understand who our buyer was, what their level of expectations were and how we exceeded those expectations with the value given.”

Tim Hamby, Renaissance Creative Services

Best Color Ad under 1/2 page

Best Logo

Best Sales Office over 600 square feet

Best Radio Spot.

“There are several keys to success in the Laurel Awards and other similar marketing competitions. The basics are to follow the directions to ensure your entry qualifies, be neat in your presentation, including mounting and writing, and use only professional photography when photographs are called for.

“Then there are the more pivotal keys. You have to have great problem-solving creative design and be able to effectively communicate your design criteria and solutions to the judges via your marketing statement. Many agencies and designers feel a good-looking design can win on its aesthetic merits alone. This is not correct. The design has to be both visually superior and it must solve a problem.

“At Renaissance, every design task we are presented with is analyzed by a team of professionals with many years of experience, specifically within the real estate industry.”

Jim Doyle, LandMar Group LLC

Grand Laurel

“LandMar has lead the Laurel awards by winning the coveted Grand Laurel the last two years. In a competitive new housing environment such as Jacksonville it takes quality planning and premier execution of those plans to excel. LandMar has accomplished this at both South Hampton in 2000 and North Hampton in 2001. In both cases, LandMar has delivered exceptional communities with dramatic entry features, expansive amenities and quality street scenes. The physical features of the community have been supported by very creative marketing including award winning information centers, advertising, brochures and signage. It is this attention to every detail that makes for award winning communities. More importantly, it is also responsible for the tremendous sale success we have enjoyed. Market acceptance is truest measure of a success and both communities are selling above original projections both in terms of volume and sales prices.”

Scott Murray, ICI

Superintendent/Field Manager of the Year

“I believe that the judges saw the genuine love and respect that I feel for the home building industry and the reward I get for being a part of it. I tried to be myself and answer their questions with honesty and integrity. They responded to my goal of aspiring to be the best builder in the Jacksonville market and give back to the community whenever possible through building endeavors such as HabiJax. I didn’t have much time to get my message across, but I guess I did OK.”

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