Home builder David Smith relishes creativity in process
Since the time he was old enough to wield a hammer, David Smith has been transforming scraps of wood and metal into wondrous creations.
“I’ve always had a passion for building, and relish the craftsmanship and creativity that so importantly brings out the best in one’s work,” said Smith, founder and president of David Smith Builder Inc. of Ridgeland. “When I was a teenager, I was inspired by family antiques … to rebuild and refinish and bring back once again the natural beauty in the wood. My grandmother would sit for hours with pleasure in her eyes, watching me refinish unrecognizable antique heirlooms.”
Entrepreneurial by nature from a young age, Smith sold his handcrafted goods — jewelry boxes, furniture, bird houses and rocking chairs — at local flea markets. After studying at Hinds Community College and earning a business management degree from Belhaven College, Smith joined IBM and rose to project manager status before taking a leap of faith and going into the home-building industry.
The move was an exceptionally good one. The Home Builders Association of Jackson (HBAJ) and Home Builders Association of Mississippi (HBAM) named him Builder Member of the Year in 2008. He was a Spring Parade of Homes winner, and Gov. Haley Barbour appointed him to the State Board of Contractors.
Last year, Smith was a repeat winner for the Spring Parade of Homes for his “Miracle Home” built for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, and garnered a Best in Mississippi award for Best Single Family New Construction Custom Home (2,501 to 4,999 square feet) for the Wyatt Residence in Ridgeland’s Bridgewater.
In addition to building commercial projects and custom and spec homes, Smith, a Mississippi certified professional builder, built the first National Green Building Certification (NGBC)-certified green home in Mississippi and represents the first national certified green professional in the state.
“The training and experience required for this educational designation assures homebuilders that their home is built as green and as cost-effectively as possible,” said Smith, inaugural chairman of the HBAJ Building Green Works Program. “I’ve always been a thrifty person, I’ve always wanted to do something better for the environment. I personally believe that building a green home means building a house better. There are stricter standards to go by.”
Surrounding himself with talented people and listening to the needs of others have been Smith’s secrets to success. He’s prioritized being active in trade associations because “unlimited networking opportunities allow you to stay informed of our industry,” said Smith, past president of HBAJ, vice president for Region 3 of HBAM and former member of the National Code Committee — and current board member — for the National Association of Home Builders.
“A quality builder does more than just construct a house; he builds a home,” said Smith. “A quality builder listens and reacts to client needs to build a home tailored to their own lifestyle and tastes. A quality builder spends hour after hour on each home site, checking and double checking each phase of construction. A quality builder personally monitors each detail of the home construction process to ensure that quality standards are met all the way down to the site plan and foundation work.”
Smith has long been involved in local community projects, such as Habitat International. He also travels routinely to impoverished areas of the world as a mission trip volunteer for construction-related projects, and will head to Costa Rica later this summer to help build a church.
Smith and his wife, Robin, have three children. Two are college students at Mississippi State University — Robert, 22, a psychology major, and Kayla, 19, an art student. Darbi Grace, 16, is a sophomore at Madison-Ridgeland Academy. Smith enjoys hunting, fishing and playing golf.
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