LIVE with the Locals: Interview with Brie Stephens of Keller Williams

Today, the owner of Lighthouse Contracting Group, Jeremy Doucet, had the honor of interviewing with Brie Stephens. She created LIVE with the Locals, where she interviews a local business owner each week day at noon.

INTERVIEW BY BRIE STEPHENS OF LAKE LIFE REALTY

Brie Stephens is the founder of The Lake Life Realty and is an agent with Keller Williams. Check out her website to learn all about her favorite past times, involvement with the Moultonborough community, her love of video marketing and her Client Choice Charity Program.
Brie asked Jeremy some great questions and we’d like to share them with you. Below is a slightly revised transcript of the chat between Brie and Jeremy. Questions and answers are not verbatim and have been edited. To listen to the entire interview, watch it below!

LIVE WITH THE LOCALS INTERVIEW

LIVE WITH THE LOCALS INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

1. This is the first interview with someone from the construction industry. Tell us a little bit about your company?

Answer: We provide design build and general contracting services in the greater Gilford area. Our focus is on residential renovations. Specifically, project management and carpentry while utilizing our trade partners for the rest of the work. We utilize the Lead Carpentry System, which is a Working Foreman. Two of our team members are lead carpenters. We are fortunate to have an awesome team and culture. Worked with the guys for a full day yesterday and would like to do that one to two days a week. I enjoy working with our clients, but I also enjoy working with my hands too!

2. Yesterday was National Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. You posted you and your daughter have been working on a tree house?

Answer: Yes. Phase one of the tree fort. She is only two, so we need to keep it low. We will bring it higher as she gets older. I was thinking about tree forts five years ago before I had a child. Now the project is justified.

3. We met through the Lakes Region Home Builders Association. Specifically, through the Parade of Homes. The past two years you had two homes in the Parade, one of which was your own home. Last years was a remodel on Governor’s Island and you won a bunch of awards for that home. Congrats!

Answer: Thanks! It was a great project. Great clients. The opportunity to work with some great people: Shawn Dudek of No Limits Metal Works. He built a beautiful custom railing. Kevin Buttermore did the boat restoration in the basement. I worked with a lot of people I had not worked with before.

4. The boat in the house. Could you explain that?

custom antique wood boat bar and bar stools with lake view
Answer:
The boat was a 1935 Christ Craft 16 foot wooden boat made into a custom bar. There was glass around the back and sides with custom bar stools. The lights work, the horn works. You can sit in it. It looks outside through a ten-foot picture window with Lake Winnipesaukee fifty feet away. It is quite a feature and it was an extensive remodel. Most people that toured the house asked if it was a new build. However, it was an existing home we gutted to the studs and reconfigured and rebuilt. That’s about as extensive as it gets for a remodel.

5. It showed beautifully. Everyone was talking about it. You’ve also been rebranding. If you go to Instagram or Facebook you can check that out.

Answer: Thank you for your guidance with that. You are the queen of branding and marketing!

 

 

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6. The results were awesome. I like the logo a lot. Be sure to check that out. What I love most is that you are sharing what you are working on whether it’s the logo or out in the field. You are bringing people behind the scenes on what you are doing. Your latest project is a waterfront on Winnisquam?

Answer: That is an extensive remodel as well. We have been planning it since September. Fortunately, it’s a great project for the current situation. It’s a perfect project for us to work safely.

7. Could you elaborate, since COVID-19, what are you doing in your business to work safe?

Answer: I’m a firm believer in there is no reason to reinvent the system. The National Association of Home builders (NAHB) put together a prevention and preparedness system that we follow. We clean tools twice and surfaces daily. We have additional workstations and make sure to stay masked and gloved. Working together with local vendors and supply houses to continue business while staying safe and healthy. *Read more about Building During COVID-19 here.

COVID-19 Cleaning Tools Twice Daily
Jason, our apprentice, cleaning the tools each day.

8. Are timelines with suppliers affected?

Answer: Many vendors are working from home. In totality, they are doing a great job. I just ordered railings and it has taken two weeks of correspondence. I’ve noticed longer lead times. Production is slower. Transit is taking a bit longer. Fasteners, for instance, are the biggest challenge. They are made overseas and the warehouses in the United States are running dry due to the demand. Overall, no huge hiccups.

A big shout out to Middleton Lumber. They are doing an incredible job. While most items are out of stock, they always make things happen. They keep the showroom open with tape lines keeping people a safe distance from one another.

We are doing our part to try to keep the economy going. We are grateful to be working and servicing the needs of our clients. I have peers outside of New Hampshire that can’t even hold Zoom meetings with clients. For instance, I am doing a video walk through of a property, without the owners’ present. They had a pipe burst in January. You don’t want to leave a house sitting like that. It’s nice that we can use technology to move projects like this along. For the months ahead, we are working on several decks and porches with a small crew which allows us to keep working in a safe manner.

9. The home is so important now that everyone is spending so much time there. Everyone is thinking about home and how long they will be working from home. People are thinking of the projects that need to be done.

One thing we work on with the Home Builders Association is the lack of people in the workforce. You do a lot with the Huot Technical Center. Could you touch on how that’s changed? I know you have a student helping you a lot of the times and now they aren’t in school.

Answer: Our apprentice is a senior this year. He has been working full time for us. He gets his schoolwork done in the morning before heading to work. He does wish to be in school as remote learning is challenging. Jason, our apprentice, has been able to stay on the team and get a jump start on his career.

Work with the Vocational School has come to a halt as we need to wait until school opens again. The biggest part of that is working with the students to give them real world experience and collaborating with local builders in the community. The reason I started with the Lakes Region Home Builders Association was I want to be an advocate to the local community to get students into the workforce.

Jason has been with us for 1.5 years. He started with us when he was barely 16. We took him to Vegas this winter to the International Builder’s Show (IBS). I forget sometimes that he is a high school student as he is such a great worker. We scored!

10. I appreciate you joining me today. Thank you, Jeremy.

Answer: Thank you for all you do in the community!