EP Award Promo

Destined to build homes


.floatimg-left-hort { float:left; } .floatimg-left-caption-hort { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:300px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatimg-left-vert { float:left; margin-top:10px; margin-right:15px; width:200px;} .floatimg-left-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; font-size: 12px; width:200px;} .floatimg-right-hort { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px;} .floatimg-right-caption-hort { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimg-right-vert { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px;} .floatimg-right-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimgright-sidebar { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; border-top-style: double; border-top-color: black; border-bottom-style: double; border-bottom-color: black;} .floatimgright-sidebar p { line-height: 115%; text-indent: 10px; } .floatimgright-sidebar h4 { font-variant:small-caps; } .pullquote { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 150px; background: url(http://www.dmbusinessdaily.com/DAILY/editorial/extras/closequote.gif) no-repeat bottom right !important ; line-height: 150%; font-size: 125%; border-top: 1px solid; border-bottom: 1px solid;} .floatvidleft { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatvidright { float:right; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;}
Alan Sprinkle’s stride falls somewhere between brisk and a flat-out sprint as he points out features of a new home his construction company is completing in Grimes. The pace of his conversation follows the beat of his feet.

Maybe the pace is a result of 21 years in the military. Those years may account for the fact that he is military-erect, whether sitting or standing, and, unless he is pointing out the customized mud room that a client requested, always looking you in the eye.

He conveys the conviction and purpose of a man on a mission. He is always in a hurry, off to a construction bid conference, pointing out custom touches to a new home, talking about the present, the past and the future.

Sprinkle has entered the home building business during a recession caused in part by a collapse in real estate markets that was tied to overgenerous homes and overzealous builders who erected more houses than could be sold.

Sprinkle found himself in the public eye in April 2008 after Regency Homes announced it was closing. At the time, he was senior vice president for operations. He was thrust in front of reporters, attempting to give direct and honest answers about a situation that defied simple explanation.

He was one of the last to leave Regency, and the fact that he lingered nearly made him a target of one of the many lawsuits that followed in the wake of unfinished developments, unpaid loans and uncompensated subcontractors.

But he also was one of the first to emerge, publicly, with a new company that he was determined would follow a business plan that was the exact opposite of what might be described as the slash-and-burn approach taken by Regency leaders James and Robert Myers.

Sprinkle teamed up last fall with old friend Scott Wolfswinkel to form Destiny Homes LLC and, earlier this year, with Wolfswinkel’s brother, Brent, to form Covenant Construction Services LLC.

The Wolfswinkels have run Wolf Construction in West Des Moines, focusing on framing commercial and residential structures. They have expanded into other ventures. Scott Wolfswinkel put his broader development ambitions on display last year with a short-lived proposal for a sprawling project in Dallas County called Dream Lake.

Sprinkle and Scott Wolfswinkel run Destiny Homes, but they are relying on Dick Moffitt, who launched Regency in 1986 with the late Michael Myers, to oversee construction. (Dick Moffitt is busy these days. See story on Page 32.)

“Mike and I complemented each other,” Moffitt said recently. While Myers struck development deals that eventually would take the Regency brand to the forefront of Iowa home building and scatter its numerous commercial properties across Greater Des Moines, Moffitt built the homes.

“He’s an expert and what a great thing,” Sprinkle said. “He loves the process of building a home. He can pick out problems early on and he builds at the highest level of quality.”

The collapse of Regency has not deflated Moffitt’s enthusiasm for building houses.

Moffitt said Regency Homes remained profitable at the time of the company’s collapse, but it was also being used to pay the bills incurred by other divisions of the company.

After Michael Myers died in 2006, “I became the old fogy,” Moffitt said, attempting to slow the Myers brothers’ efforts to buy land long before it could be developed.

Still, Regency Homes was “very good” at home building and he wants to carry that skill into Destiny Homes.

“We’re very good at what we do and we have a lot of experience,” Moffitt said.

Sprinkle started the business with a portion of $10,000 he won in a program sponsored by Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping, a 10-week fitness program that involves kickboxing, resistance training and nutrition.

Sprinkle said he is both a committed chef and a “big eater,” so the program to get himself in shape required the same kind of focus he brings to helping Destiny Homes prosper.

But he does not want to get ahead of himself on the road to success.

Two lessons he learned from his experience with Regency Homes are not to get overextended and to avoid trying to push a market beyond its ability to grow.

Sprinkle’s customers pay for work as it is completed. That allows him to pay his vendors when they submit bills. Vendors sign lien waivers after they are paid.

“I know what I have and what I’m allowed to spend,” he said. “That protects the builder, the customer, the vendor and the banks.”

Because Regency Homes was the state’s largest home builder when it closed, it tried to push development beyond what markets could bear.

“When you’re big, you think you can change the market,” Sprinkle said. “Regency wasn’t the only builder to make that play. … I’m doing houses for several different builders that the bank has taken back.”

Destiny Homes obtained its first building permit in January to build a home on an empty lot in a former Regency development in Altoona. Sprinkle promises to finish a house in 78 days by coordinating suppliers and contractors. He came in ahead of schedule on the Altoona home.

In addition, the house in Grimes where Sprinkle was quick-stepping last month was built over a foundation that had been poured for Regency. Several other projects have involved finishing work that was left undone after Regency closed.

“But we’re ready to stick-build a house from scratch,” he said.

Destiny Homes is under contract for 11 more houses that start at a selling price of $150,000. A home the company is building in Dubuque will sell for $750,000. Among other features, it will have garages on two levels.

Sprinkle serves as his own marketing company, contacting banks, Character Counts! Iowa and real estate agents to let them know he is looking for work.

It’s all part of a one-step-at-a-time business plan, he said.

Sprinkle said he also does not play favorites when taking bids from contractors; he can’t afford to.

Though he has a built-in connection to Wolf Construction, the company does not get special treatment.

“If they submit the low bid, they get the job,” Sprinkle said.

He does admit to having a soft spot for former Regency vendors, but that, too, can only be taken so far. If he can’t afford them, he can’t hire them, he said.

After recognizing that he might not have chosen a prime time to enter the home building business, Sprinkle launched Covenant Construction Services to manage small projects, especially jobs for government agencies.

Sprinkle left the military with a back problem that was related to his service. As a result, he gets some preferred treatment on bids for public projects.

Those jobs can include building or repairing campgrounds, remodeling rooms in public buildings, patching concrete, even cleaning up mines for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“There isn’t as much house building as we would like,” Sprinkle said. “Covenant keeps us busy until we get a true company up and running.”

He has no doubt that Destiny Homes will become a “true company.” The name comes from his belief that “God has a destiny for all of us.”

nyemaster web 080123 300x250