Building Your Dream Team: Lessons from an Award-Winning Remodeler and Designer

Elliott Pike

Elliott Pike

Founder, ELM Construction, LLC
2023 Remodeler of the Year

In 2008, Elliott Pike founded ELM Construction LLC, a residential design and remodeling company based in Vestavia Hills, Ala. Since then, ELM has seen steady profitable growth in large part because of the careful way Pike has built his team. Curating a positive and collaborative work environment is a top priority for him.

At this year’s International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Pike was named NAHB’s 2023 Remodeler of the Year.

Pike reflects on winning the award, the keys to building an exceptional team, trends he’s watching in the remodeling industry and more below.

Why did you apply for NAHB’s Remodeler of the Year award? 

There are a few reasons why I applied. Probably first and foremost is this is a very prestigious award and helps us show our commitment to excellence in our industry as well as to our employees, trade partners and customers. It can also serve as a benchmark comparing ELM Construction to the best!

In your application, you emphasized your dedication to cultivating a strong team. How do you think this has impacted your company’s success?

Realizing the value that great people add is crucial for any company. At ELM, our team members must be at least qualified, but more importantly, they must embrace our collaborative and client-focused culture. 

Imagine bringing in a superstar carpenter with incredible skills who clashes with the team. It wouldn’t work. Luckily, the search for the perfect cultural fit – although incredibly challenging – can be incredibly rewarding. Finding someone who thrives in our environment and complements the team's strengths is what truly fuels our success.

What advice can you give fellow remodelers about recruiting and retaining a stellar team?

  • Don't be afraid to communicate your company's values and work environment when interviewing candidates or even in the job postings.
  • Leverage your industry and community connections to get the word out about the opportunities you may have at your company.
  • Look beyond just technical skills for the job and find someone who is passionate about what they do, passionate about the remodeling industry and passionate about your company.
  • Be willing to invest in your people, and let them know it. Consider third-party certifications, or be willing to train someone so they can advance within your company. It will foster a sense of loyalty and support growth within your company.
  • Fire fast and hire slow. We've all waited too long to fire someone who was not working out, especially those who may be able to produce for your company but are not a fit culturally. Trust your gut, and just do it. Then make sure you have a methodical, disciplined approach to finding their replacement.  
  • Never stop looking for good people. Even if you don't have a spot you need to fill today, if you meet someone who you think may be a good fit, talk to them and stay in touch.

When you learned that you won NAHB’s Remodeler of the Year award, what was the first thing that came to mind?

The first thing that I thought about was all the others who have won this award and how amazing it is to be in the same category as them. 

I also thought about the road that led us to this point. Fifteen years of hard work, grinding, always trying to get better — and how impossible it would have been to get here without the support of family and our dedicated team.

Any tips for those considering applying?

Go for it! The application process will expose you to some things that you may not have considered about yourself and your company, and may push you to get better.

Aside from your award, what were some of your favorite moments from this year's International Builders’ Show?

I always enjoy the networking and fellowship opportunities that attending provides. I love hanging out in the Centrals and catching up with old friends, listening to presentations and learning. I also love walking the floor to see all the incredible new things out there to help our customers and our businesses.

Any trends that your fellow remodelers should keep an eye on in the months ahead?

Customers are going to continue to raise their expectations regarding the quality of construction and the quality of our business practices – and I think we owe them that. 

We are always trying to get better, and part of that is having the discipline to do the things you know you need to do! We want to provide a consistent, positive experience for all our customers and are committed to doing whatever it takes (we want to be the Chik-fil-A or Disney of remodeling!).

For novice professionals just starting out in the remodeling industry, what are some best practices for achieving success?

The No. 1 thing I tell anyone starting a new business is do what you say you are going to do. I know that sounds simple, but so few actually do it. If you can do this, the rest will come along with it. 

I also encourage others to be nice and have grace. You never know what someone else is going through. That does not mean that you should allow yourself to be taken advantage of, but think about your words and actions and be mindful.

Subscribe to NAHBNow

Log in or create account to subscribe to notifications of new posts.

Log in to subscribe