Fidelity Homes: The "From The Ground Up" Project, Ten Years After

Theirs was the dream of winning a National Housing Quality award. The genesis of the idea and the enthusiasm of best-friends David Hunihan and Todd Menke to form start-up Fidelity Homes occurred in 1999, during that year’s Benchmark management conference, but the chronicling of that effort occurred later, between March 2001 and April 2002.

The basic proposition that emerged from Benchmark was that Bill Lurz, then a senior editor at Professional Builder would make available to Fidelity the expertise of a collection of the homebuilding industry’s best-known consultants on a pro bono basis, in exchange for a window into the goings-on of building a homebuilding company.

The resulting, high-profile, thirteen-installment series of feature articles in PB was called “From The Ground Up”.

The contributors included Diane Rivera, Don Evans, Rick Heaston, Scott Sedam, Chuck Shinn, Chris Spiro, Noelle Tarabulski, Ed Caldera, Kay Green, Martin Freedland, and myself. It also included the unselfish mentorship of David Weekley. It was my responsibility to help Fidelity design a set of workflows and outcomes for key business processes, and the coincidence of my onsite segment with the attacks of 9/11 have always made my work with David, Todd, and with Bill, particularly meaningful.

At the ten-year anniversary of the series mid-point, I thought a retrospective would be useful.

True, meaningful reflection demands more than the garden-variety set of feedback questions. I did ask David and Todd pointed questions about the history of Fidelity and the “From The Ground Up” project itself, but I also asked questions aimed at the values that are in-play and the lessons that have been learned.

One of the intentions of reflecting on the experience of Fidelity is to leave a legacy – for David and Todd to think, as they recount their own journey, in terms of other young, future, entrepreneurial homebuilders, who might one day choose to set out on their own journeys, and who would benefit from the insights their experience can provide.

Part I: The History of Fidelity
Part II: Factors and Circumstances
Part III: Resolve
Part IV: Lessons Learned
Part V: Friends
Part VI: Providence