From David Weekley, Chairman of the Board, and John Johnson, Chief Executive Officer
We are pleased to present a look into the guiding principles of David Weekley Homes. This initial review allows us to celebrate and proudly exhibit the "why" behind our business decisions and the people who demonstrate Our Purpose every day. While our industry requires that building processes, technologies and homes change to meet consumer demands, we believe it is our Team’s deep commitment to delivering an exceptional experience for our Customers that will allow us to continue to evolve and grow, positioning the company to endure and remain evergreen. This report brings to life the actions we take to demonstrate how we care about our People, our Customers and our Community.
As leaders of a purpose-driven company, we believe everything starts with our Team and are proud of our award-winning workplace culture, which has endured and flourished over the decades through the many changes and challenges common in the homebuilding industry. Placing a priority on the happiness and security of our Team and their families, we provide an environment in which all Team Members can learn and thrive in their careers.
We design and build our homes with our Customers in mind. With a variety of product lines made for traditional, first-time, age-qualified 55+ and high-density buyers, as well as those looking to build on their own land, we offer a style of home to fit all lifestyles and families.
Over the years, we’ve made great strides to use building techniques that provide our Customers with energy-efficient homes. More than two decades ago we implemented building science principles, and our EnergySaver™ homes feature the latest energy-efficiency techniques to help our Homeowners save on energy use.
We are dedicated to making a difference in the communities in which we live and work. Our CARE program gathers our Team Members, Homeowners, Real Estate Agent partners, and trade and vendor partners together to donate their time and talents to benefit the local communities.
Since our 1976 inception, we have been committed to living out Our Purpose of Building Dreams, Enhancing Lives for our Team, our Customers and our Communities. Whether that’s offering exceptional benefits to our Team, providing dream homes and extraordinary service to more than 115,000 Homeowners or giving back to our communities, we strive to make a difference in others’ lives.
Through the years, we have overcome unprecedented challenges, celebrated memorable milestones and pushed our boundaries. We added new offerings, grew our divisions and outreach, and became a highly respected, national brand within our industry. And, we achieved this while preserving our core culture and remaining true to Our Purpose. We are so proud of how David Weekley Homes has evolved and look forward to what the future holds for our Evergreen company.
David Weekley Homes was founded more than 45 years ago with a purpose of making a difference in the lives of others. Our commitment to making a positive impact through Our Purpose of Building Dreams, Enhancing Lives for our Team, our Customers and our Community continues to set us apart as a company, employer and neighbor.
We believe our Team is at the center of all we do.
We are committed to creating and sustaining a unique culture that allows Team Members to learn, grow and have long, rewarding careers. This award-winning culture has been highly recognized, as evidenced by being named to Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 17 times, most recently placing #22. Other notable top-workplace honors include People magazine’s PEOPLE® Companies that Care, Best Workplaces for Millennials, Women and Parents.
We invest in new Team Members’ development to equip them with tools and skills needed to succeed. Every new Team Member participates in Weekley 101 where they learn about the history of David Weekley Homes, our Commitment to Excellence program, benefits and our culture. Our Commitment to Excellence program focuses on Product Leadership, Customer Intimacy and Operation Excellence, with the center being the Winning Weekley Team.
Ongoing development and growth of existing Team Members is an important focus. Training addresses areas related to specific job roles, safety (online and physical), technical tools and company culture. We invest in our Team Members’ career growth with:
- Weekly one-on-one meetings with Team Member’s manager
- Quarterly Growth Reviews with Team Member’s manager to review accomplishments, discuss obstacles, assess performance and develop action plans
- Quarterly and annual company wide and division celebrations where best practices are shared and outstanding contributions are recognized
- Dedicated Sales and Construction Coaches to help ensure knowledge is gained, skills are developed, and proper habits are maintained
- Leadership training through David Weekley University, a year-long experience focused on communication, culture, strategy, motivation, Customer Delight, Team development and more
- Reimbursement for continuing education through the Educational Assistance Program
- Ongoing refresher training
We are an inclusive employer that seeks a Team diverse not only in race and culture, but also in experience, history and perspective. Career paths are not dictated by anyone’s background, education or experience, but by ambition, hard work and dedication.
We believe a workforce from a variety of backgrounds and experiences will help us better serve the diverse population of Homebuyers across the country. Our priorities include expanding our recruiting efforts to reach a broader candidate base by:
- Expanding college recruitment to focus on majors other than construction management
- Visiting universities with larger populations of minority students to widen the pool from which we select talent
- Working with colleges to expand construction curriculum into more residential avenues, allowing more recruitment at those schools
David Weekley Homes is a privately-owned company, and nearly one-third of ownership is shared between Team Members, through our ESOP program, and senior management. Equity ownership allows our Team Members to benefit from the long-term growth of the company.
Team Members who have been with the company for at least two years become fully vested Owners of David Weekley Homes at no cost to them, giving each person on the Team an Owner’s mindset and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to achieving goals. Thinking like an Owner means actively finding opportunities to increase efficiency, lower overhead costs, improve partnerships with vendors and trades, and seek excellence in all areas. We reinforce this approach by rewarding short-term performance through our quarterly profit sharing program and long-term growth through the equity ownership of our ESOP program.
In an industry known for high turnover, ours is lower. We invest in our people up front and throughout their career by providing comprehensive training along with a workplace where they can thrive. We believe Our Purpose starts with our Team and that open communication and candor lead to a strong culture and Team Member satisfaction.
A diverse Team of people across the country help build each of our homes from beginning to end. Our trade partners, many of which are small, minority-owned businesses, are an integral part of this Team and a critical component to our success.
Because we strongly value the role our partners have in living Our Purpose, we have proactively invested in efforts to create a sustainable, well-trained and deep talent pool for the residential construction industry. Through Leading Builders of America, David Weekley Homes was instrumental in helping create and support the Building Talent Foundation. This program brings builders, contractors, vendors and manufacturers together to help improve college trade programs, connect job seekers with employers and develop a career path for new workers.
Whether through scholarships, parties or awards, we believe it is important to recognize the contributions of our trade partners. We also help them build their businesses in a variety of ways, such as assisting with the purchase of tools or acquisition of insurance. We also recently implemented a scholarship program offered to select trade partners. This scholarship allows the children of Preferred Partners who meet eligibility requirements to apply for a scholarship. They are also given the option to participate in a paid internship.
We are also highly committed to the safety of our Team Members and Preferred Partners. We have preventive measures intended to reduce injuries and illness in our work environments.
Our goal is to establish a culture of safety and understanding and provide a healthy and safe work environment, which is highlighted by our “Work Safe, Home Safe” program. We also maintain a robust risk management process to ensure our partners are properly insured and our construction products and processes are safe.
We believe having an organized, clean and efficient operation maintains safety and occupational health. This is accomplished through Builders and Managers being trained to recognize safety hazards, as well as encouraging Team Members to use common sense and good judgement to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses. We also implement environmental risk management through our Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) third-party management who performs onsite weekly inspections, and we closely follow protection guidelines for trees and natural vegetation during the construction process. For any major crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, our response is generally coordinated through a task force comprised of senior management.
Safety training is also provided for all Team Members.
- OSHA 10-hour hazard recognition certification in first 90 days of Builders and Warranty
- Job-specific required training
- Safety briefing
- Weekly jobsite safety inspections
- Monthly safety refreshers and toolbox talks
- Quarterly scored risk assessments for safety and construction
- Required online training
David Weekley Homes has a long-standing reputation for Customer delight underpinned by our Brand Promise to offer the best in Design, Choice and Service. We have had the privilege of making more than 115,000 Homeowners’ dreams come true and believe buying a home means more than simply giving a family a place to live. It’s about providing an exceptional experience while delivering a high-quality home that will work for the family as it grows and changes.
We believe our relationship starts with the Customer’s first visit before signing the contract and continues long past closing. Each Homebuyer has a dedicated Home Team, consisting of a Sales Consultant, Personal Builder℠, Design Consultant and Warranty Service Representative. These Team Members serve as guides, partnering to help educate our Homebuyers about our building practices and construction progress by providing them with tools and resources to help them prepare for homeownership. We regularly receive feedback on the impact this Team makes during the Homebuyer’s home building journey through letters and online Ratings and Reviews.
We remain connected to our Homebuyers after they move into their new homes, supporting them in ways such as:
- conducting home dedications
- standing behind our construction quality with our robust warranty program
- sharing care and maintenance resources
- hosting community events
We have a long-standing reputation for quality and Customer delight and invite feedback from our Homebuyers throughout their experience, including after they move into their home. Additionally, we were one of the first home builders to implement an independently certified, public Ratings and Reviews program. Since launching in 2016, we have received over 3,000 Online Ratings & Reviews, maintaining an average 4.8 out of 5-star rating.
David Weekley Homes believes that our communities are strongest when they are guided by the values of free enterprise, consistent job growth and broad housing affordability. We do our part to advocate for those values by supporting education and public policy initiatives through the Leading Builders of America, numerous other State Home Builders Associations, and through other non-builder advocacy groups and charitable activities.
We are dedicated to making a difference in the communities in which we work and live. We created our CARE program as an avenue for our Team Members, Homeowners, Real Estate Agent partners, and trade and vendor partners to collaborate and donate their time and talents to benefit our local communities. We frequently work with organizations, such as:
- Boy Scouts of America
- National MS Society
- American Heart Association
- The Salvation Army
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Habitat for Humanity
- Sleep in Heavenly Peace
We provide energy-efficient homes that use state-of-the-art materials and make a conscious effort to reduce the impact on the surrounding environments and natural habitats in which we build.
We self-develop 20-25% of our communities. When we do strategically select land to develop, we are committed to ensuring our developments have a low impact on the environment and the natural habitats surrounding them. To ensure this, we carefully consider accessibility to utilities, threatened or endangered wildlife, significant or unusual noise levels, and proper drainage infrastructure. Our communities are designed and built to better manage stormwater runoff, which helps keep waste materials from leaving our construction sites.
We also look at the proximity to employment centers, transportation corridors, economic centers, schools, parks and other community amenities. Studies are conducted at potential sites to assess the acquisition against regulatory, market, environmental, social and any additional risks or requirements.
We recognize land is finite, so a key element in our approach to land acquisition is also to find opportunities to build on redeveloped land and infill sites. These developments, which account for 45% of our self-developed land, preserve and recycle land, transforming previously vacant lots and commercial parcels into housing opportunities. This adds economic value to under-utilized areas and offers our homeowners access to existing infrastructure and services.
All our homes are not only constructed above code requirements, but they also follow building science standards and principles. Building science is a field of knowledge that uses scientific principles to understand the physical behavior of the building as a system and how this impacts energy efficiency, durability, comfort and indoor air quality. While these characteristics are not typically addressed in depth through building codes, they are the basis for the ENERGY STAR® program, and we believe they are critical in building a Superior Product for our Customers.
All Sales Consultants, Builders and Warranty Service Representatives go through both online and field-based construction courses outlining building science and how it impacts our homes. Our Construction Coaches – a unique role in our industry – are heavily involved with training. They also inspect homes to confirm compliance with building science practices. Additionally, our model homes showcase interactive displays to guide our Customer education in the “why and how” we invest in their home through building science.
Many solutions for building a better home were pioneered through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Build America Test Programs. Some of the published results on the Building America Solutions Center site were established based on our participation in testing many homes with the Building Science Corporation and Build America.
David Weekley EnergySaver™ homes feature the latest energy-efficient building science techniques to save on energy usage. Our construction practices include:
- Advanced wall framing
- State-of-the-art windows and insulation materials
- Right-sized air conditioning along with fresh air systems and advanced filtration
These techniques, combined with a reduced carbon footprint that conserves natural resources, lessen the energy impact of our homes through lower heating and cooling costs for Homeowners and provide better indoor air quality. The EnergySaver™ Program also entails that we use resilient materials and our advanced knowledge of building science to build durable homes customized to withstand the various climates in which we build.
Building an Energy-efficient Home
Building a Healthy Home
“Healthy Homes” is a century-old concept that promotes safe, decent and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There are many components to a healthy home. Below are a few topics we have focused on.
Energy Efficiency Programs
We use third-party energy raters for all our homes. They provide two important tests on every home that help validate we have built an energy-efficient home:
1. The duct blaster test measures the air that leaks out of the duct system.
2. The blower door test measures the air leakage through walls and ceilings.
These two tests allow us to guarantee annual minimum energy usage for heating and air conditioning, while allowing only a maximum of three degrees variance between rooms.
Multiple communities across our markets have ENERGY STAR® certified homes, meaning they are at least 10% more energy efficient than those built to code and provide Homeowners with better quality, performance and comfort. In the last 5 years, we have closed 8,650 ENERGY STAR® homes with a RESNET calculated carbon savings of 40,828 tons.
We also use HERS scores to evaluate the efficiency by climate zone. As the commonly accepted way to evaluate the energy efficiency of a home, the lower a HERS score, the more energy efficient a home is.
Doing It The Right Way
David Weekley Homes has a foundation of four guiding principles that apply to each of our Team Members, and we strive to make decisions consistent with these principles.
We have designed our governance policies and practices to ensure our corporate decision making aligns with our purpose-led performance.
- Provide a challenging work environment
- Provide a career that allows for continuous learning and financial security
- Delighting Customers by delivering the unequaled home owning experience
- Be an organization that positively impacts our society through what we do, how we act and what we give back
Board of Directors
We are guided by a public-style board of directors comprised of three independent members, two Weekley family members and two senior management directors. To provide separate corporate oversight, our CEO and CFO are not board members but do actively participate in meetings.
The board holds quarterly meetings with robust agendas that include operational and financial results along with strategic discussions with respect to all operational disciplines, growth, culture, risk mitigation and succession planning.
Executive Management Team
Our senior management Team is highly tenured with decades of experience in the homebuilding industry. All of our senior managers are owners with a focus on taking care of our Team, Customers and community. Thanks to our long-tenured, equity-owning management Team, we have successfully navigated David Weekley Homes through multiple housing cycles.
Our Executive Management Team meets several times a year to discuss Customer feedback, review results and refine strategies.
In addition to having a tenured group of leaders, we firmly believe it is a leader’s responsibility to fully embrace a mindset that puts the present and future success of the company at the forefront. This includes developing new leaders. Our Next Generation Leadership program is a succession planning process intended to ensure we actively identify and cultivate talent. With a vision to be “Evergreen, a Lasting Company,” shaping our future leaders today is critical for the growth and longevity of our company.
We utilize an asset-lite approach to homebuilding, meaning land development is not a significant part of our homebuilding business. Instead, we generally acquire finished building lots at negotiated prices from various land developers, typically through option contracts. Our asset-lite strategy has been fundamental to the financial and operating success of our company. This strategy lowers capital requirements, limits market risks associated with land development and speculation and reduces the volatility of our operating income, while allowing us to devote time and resources to improving operational efficiency and enhancing our product excellence. While this strategy may not always maximize the upside in positive housing cycles, it greatly limits the downside, and we believe it allows for more consistently positive cash flow and income generation.
Our lot acquisition decision process includes detailed quantitative analysis as well as a formal land committee review process that allows oversight by our leadership team and ensures we minimize risks associated with expansion within existing and new communities. In accordance with this process and given the nature of our private ownership structure, we are unwilling to risk the long-term health of the company for the sake of rapid growth. Generally, we have maintained a limit on land and options exposure to less than half of our equity base. In addition, each market is given a capital allocation based on its past performance as well as our near-term economic and homebuilding outlook for that geographic area. By further limiting the maximum concentration of land assets in any given market, we are able to diversify our capital at risk in the event of a downturn.
Behind the scenes, we maintain a multi-layered cybersecurity defense and partner with companies such as Cisco, Cylance and Barracuda. Our approach consists of multiple layers of security with primary focuses on email, internet, server access, desktop security and people. Within these main categories, our method incorporates a variety of testing, education and monitoring. Our Security Operations Center also performs a comprehensive, monthly third-party audit to identify possible vulnerabilities.