Burkentine Builders grows its building company with a culture of Living Different.
By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
When Burkentine Builders meets with its clients, the company’s associates like to keep things relaxed and casual. For example, when customers go to its model homes, they can enjoy a beverage from the house’s refrigerator. “If you want to have a beer or wine while discussing your house at the end of a work day, feel free,” Mike Burkentine says, noting that the company’s easygoing pace helps it build authentic relationships with its clients.
“We are focused on building a culture of happiness with quality people and products.” Burkentine is a co-owner and the vice president of sales and business development for the Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland – based company. His father, Paul Burkentine, started the company in 1989.
Since then, Mike Burkentine says, the firm has grown from residential construction to commercial real estate, multifamily residential construction and the rental industry. His brothers, Bryan and Bryce, have joined him in the business, which employs a staff of 50. The company focuses a lot of attention on “Why” it exists.
Last year, the company went through a rebranding, which saw it implement the new redesigned Burkentine Builders logo, along with its new “Live Different” slogan. The motto reflects how the firm works with its customers. “When you choose to build a custom home with us, you can build your own plan,” he says. “We are designing and constructing you a property that really fits you and your family.”
Many of its projects, he notes, features exterior home colors that make them stand out. “We are successful by not having everything the same,” Burkentine says. “Thirty years from now, we want people to feel it was a Burkentine community.” Burkentine Builders also sets itself apart by offering its clients “full cycle” service, he adds.
If clients decide to build a house with the company, “We can accommodate you in one of our various rental communities,” he says. The firm also has storage units throughout the area where its clients can store their belongings. Customers use this option “about 75 percent of the time, which eases the moving process,” he notes.
Now is a good time for Burkentine Builders to be in the business. “The buyer confidence level has risen to an all-time high,” Mike Burkentine says, explaining that many homebuyers feel confident in their current careers. “The job market is doing very well,” he says. “The interest rates have also remained low during such an uptick in the economy.”
The company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, also is preparing for growth. “We’re growing the company in multiple ways,” Burkentine says, adding that it also is building a new, state-of-the-art office in south Hanover, Pa. “That is our celebratory move for the graduation of the company and the multiple entities we have created,” he says, noting that the new location has taken inspiration from places such as Google’s headquarters. “It has a lot of smart and energy efficient components to it.” The company intends to have the project completed by early 2019.
Burkentine Builders works hard to consistently improve clear communication with clients which is a task it is focused on, Mike Burkentine says. “We have increased our attention to service that is needed during the one-year home warranty period,” he says. “As the company grows, we are aware that we must continue to improve and fine-tune our communication process.”
After all these years, Burkentine credits the success of his family’s company to the work of his parents, Paul and Rajean Burkentine. “When the economy was tough, they worked tirelessly and made it through,” he recalls. He also mentions that some key employees, such as Diane Beaver, accounting and office manager, played a major role in the company’s successes today. “Our employees are one of the major reasons for the company’s success,” Burkentine says.
Mike Burkentine and his brothers joined the company after graduating college not long ago. The brothers, as well as their father, attended Penn State with degrees in Engineering. Since then, “We have proudly scaled the company’s growth in a short time and continue to grow,” he says. “Our teams have put forth a big effort.”
Burkentine Builders plans to continue working hard as it goes forward, building communities that stand out and make “people feel good about them when they drive through,” he says. “[We’ll be] maintaining that and building on that.”
Burkentine Builders contributes to its local community. “We enjoy and strive to give back to our community,” Mike Burkentine says, noting that the company supports organizations such as local YMCAs, libraries and high schools. The company also utilizes local sources of materials for its projects. “When we build barn doors or put on custom tin walls, they’re actually from Pennsylvania barns,” he says.
In light of its 30th anniversary, Burkentine has rolled a new “Farmhouse series” that Burkentine says will push the company’s housing to a level not seen in the local markets. The idea can be found on the company’s webpage at burkentine.com on the floorplans page. With a crafty facade and functional floorplans, it intends to deliver a product that challenges normal local designs. “With the use of local woods, black windows, board and batten siding and stained front doors these homes are sure to inspire people to rethink their next home,” Burkentine says.