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Oct232009

Our Story:

Solid Ground Homes & Remodeling is the result of input from many people.  The roots of Solid Ground go back as far as my first days of tending for block layers when I was 11 years old.  My father trained and taught me and my three brothers how to do things right and work efficiently at a very young age.  He retired in 2008 after 40+ years of dedication to the construction industry.  

The story behind what you are reading certainly goes back to my early childhood.  I remember watching my dad crawl out the door one morning to get in his truck and go to work.  I didn’t know or understand how bad his back was hurting him.  I also remember watching him come home that night, taking us outside, and helping him work on the wood pile that needed to be split and organized for the winter.  What really was imprinted on me is that what he did that morning, all day, and even after supper really wasn’t about him.  He always found ways to make things happen and get them done.  Work ethic has never been in short supply in our family. 

The other piece to this story contributes just as much, if not even more, to what I am about and how we approach our work at Solid Ground.  It’s really about everyday problem solving.

I went to school to teach Chemistry & Biology.  I love nature, being outdoors, solving problems, and dealing with complexities.  I was doing well in my classes, but I found myself wandering off in the middle of the lectures.  I just didn’t have the passion I had when there were tools in my hands.  I talked with my advisor and he pinned down what made me tick very quickly.  Problem Solving.  Sure, there are plenty of problems to solve in Chemistry and Biology.  But for me, memorizing the “knowns”, and then reteaching the “knowns” just really was not problem solving.  My advisor, who was an extreme introvert, encouraged me to go study people and learn about communication.

While I was in college studying science, communication, and theology, I was working in construction; both in the commercial union environment and in the residential doing my own concrete work as a sole proprietor.

Shortly after college, I moved to Texas and learned a lot about production framing.  I was then given the opportunity to frame high-end custom homes.  I was still learning a lot about framing and my math skills gave me the chance to work on complicated projects and details.  We hand framed freestanding custom spiral stairs, built an actual replicated castle, and it seemed like we put some type of special ceiling in every room on every house.  I was in problem solving heaven! 

I eventually felt led to go to a young men’s ministry in East Texas and develop a trades program for the boys and men that were dedicating their time there.  From that experience I ended up with some lifelong friends who still contribute to my chosen profession and who I am today. 

In 1998, I moved back to Minnesota and was offered a very nice project management job with a remodeling company.  When the company was dissolved due to a terminal illness, I felt it was time to start my own company.  I put in my first Insulated Concrete Foundation (ICF) foundation in 1998 and really enjoyed working with the product.  Cornerstone Custom Construction, Inc. was then founded in 2000. 

I didn’t know then what ICF was going to turn into.  ICFs, in combination with SIPs, are two of the most efficient building systems and envelopes that you can choose from.  Remodels and additions were the main focus, and concrete was a natural part of the company.  Over the years, I began making some decisions to take Cornerstone and make it a company that only does concrete work.  This involved switching from a contractor to a sub-contractor.  The blessing in this move was that I really do know what contractors deal with on a daily basis.  I really do understand the nature of all the decisions and tracking that needs to take place on a job.  Making this switch, involved about a 3 year process. Cornerstone is now a stand-alone sub-contractor based company, and is still a strong and cutting edge concrete company today leading the area in ICF Construction.  Cornerstone is now the primary concrete contractor for Solid Ground Homes & Remodeling.   

With the knowledge gained in growing Cornerstone, a couple of things became clear to me.  The first thing is that the construction industry is filled to the brim with good builders and technicians that have never stopped to think about business.  Unfortunately, most contractors are not strong in the areas of communication or putting systems together.  The second thing is that the way we have generally been thinking about building our own homes is pretty flawed.  We have come to acknowledge insufficient homes as acceptable just because codes allow us to build that way.  The problem to solve here is that construction business and construction application just need to improve. 

These two things, construction business and construction application, are the two things that Solid Ground has set out to do different.  We strive to provide a solid work ethic and educational approach. We believe in strong communication and processes and openness.  And in the end, we work on maintaining or building on the relationships that are gained in the process.

So, at the end of this story, you can hopefully see a little deeper into the heart of Solid Ground Homes and Remodeling.  We are a solid group of hard working and genuine people.  We have been built by the daily contributions of many people.  We are optimistic and realistic.  We are confident we are growing in the right direction and hope that we have the opportunity to work with you and earn your business. 

One last thing . . . if you ever feel like we are not listening to you or hearing you right, just let us know.  Our processes are built on Solid Ground, but they are not written in stone!

Thank you so much for taking a little time to learn about my background and the history behind our company.

 

Sincerely,

Kelly Hemp

Owner & President

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