- change ups
HOLLAND — Brian Troxel sees himself as having the best of both sides of the home-construction business.
The size of his small company allows him to visit construction sites each day to check each project’s progress, as well as working directly with his customers on the planning and design of their dream home — a mix that he prefers and enjoys.
“To me, I’ve got the best of both worlds,” said Troxel, president and co-owner of The Troxel Co., a Holland-based custom home-construction and design company.
A third-generation home builder who’s been in the business for 30 years, the 53-year-old Troxel recently began serving a one-year term as president of the board for the Home Builders Association of the Holland Area, a position he felt obliged to accept when recruited because he wanted to “give back to the industry some of what it’s given to us.”
Troxel has been involved with the association as a director for years. He also has been involved with both the Michigan Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Home Builders.
As head of the Holland HBA board, Troxel hopes to help make it a better organization that provides more value to its membership. He has altered the association’s committee structure, including reactivating the land use committee.
In an area such as Holland that is growing and development rapidly, Troxel says the association needs to keep land use as a top priority. Most developers, he said, are concerned about good land use and land preservation “and being smart about the way we develop.”
One new initiative the association has undertaken is holding regular meetings between the HBA and building officers from various townships and municipalities in the area. The goal is to improve communication and understanding between the two on land use and development issues that Troxel says are never going to go away.
“It’s going to always be there, so we need to always be communicating about it,” he said.
Troxel started his company six years ago with his wife, Kris, after he spent several years working for others.
A native of Kalamazoo, Troxel followed his father and grandfather into the business, starting out as a job superintendent overseeing construction sites. After several years working with the family business, Troxel moved to Florida, where he worked in administration and project management for two large home developers.
While he enjoyed the work and calls the time a “great learning process,” Troxel says he missed the personal touch of home building that came with working for a small company.
“It was less personalized and more of a job,” he said. “They produced a product.”
Missing the quality of life in their native Michigan, he and Kris, a Grandville native, decided to move back from Florida in the early 1990s. They settled in Holland.
After working for another developer for a few years, Troxel launched his own company in 1996. The Troxel Co. builds homes in all prices ranges, usually taking on a half-dozen projects a year and focusing primarily on the Holland-Zeeland market.
While successful and located in a market that offers plenty of growth opportunities, Troxel prefers to maintain the firm as a small company that enables he and Kris to keep their arms around it. That philosophy goes back to his desire to keep an arm in both the construction and design sides of the business.
“It’s being able to sit here, across the desk from my customer, and do a lifestyle interview with them and understand what they want,” said Troxel, who started out working toward a career in architecture but changed because he didn’t want to limit himself to one field.
“I have to be more involved than just doing that. I have to be involved in the actual creation of the home, not just the conceptual,” he said.