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Meet the Build Experts

Breakthrough Academy

Breakthrough Academy (BTA) are operational system experts who help builders inject the infrastructure their businesses need for growth. Purpose-built by former contractors Igor, Danny, and James, BTA is an education platform that helps builders and general contractors to get out of the day-to-day, scale up, make more money, and work less.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, BTA works with over 500 contracting companies across North America, guiding owners to build the vision they have for their business and life faster. The average member sees 23% revenue growth, 46% net profit growth, and significant time saved within the first year.

Tune in and you’ll hear from BTA industry experts Benji, Paul, Igor, and more on their channel and will get access to free downloadable system templates along the way.

Brent Hull

Brent Hull is the owner and founder of Hull Millwork and is passionate about beautiful architecture and the art of timeless building. Brent enjoys working with his hands and has always loved building. In 1991, he moved to Boston to study historic preservation at the North Bennet Street School, one of the oldest trade schools in the United States. It was here that he learned the art of traditional building.

Brent then settled in Fort Worth with his wife and opened his business in his brother’s garage, a 1911 bungalow. Over the next 23 years Brent combined his passion for restoring buildings along with his love of craftsmanship to build a business that focuses on preservation as well as historically inspired houses and millwork.

Bryan Uhler

Bryan Uhler is the Vice President of Pioneer Builders, Inc., and he’s the second generation to run the company.  His father founded it in 1978.  While Bryan runs the company, he works closely with his brother Tim who has been framing, siding, and building foundations for the company for decades.  Bryan is privileged that his dad is a source of irreplaceable experience who Bryan consults with as a trusted advisor.

The company builds custom spec homes exclusively although it has built plenty of custom homes and presales.  Bryan has many responsibilities that would normally be departments in larger firms.  On the build side land acquisition, project development and permitting, superintending, quality controls, and sales are some things he cares for.  His college curriculum was heavily focused on business and accounting, and he still does the firm's accounting (eg job costing, payroll, accounts payable).  The company has tried to take a rational approach to building – not allowing emotion to govern the macro or micro decisions.  For this reason, Pioneer Builders, Inc. is The Rational Builder.

Matt Risinger

Matt started learning about construction by working summers at an inner-city ministry that fixed up row houses for elderly people who owned their homes but couldn’t afford to maintain them. He got a BS in Industrial Management from Grove City College and wanted to work for Toyota as he was fascinated with all things from Japan. He ended up working for one of the National Production Builders (NVR Ryan Homes) after college where he met his Texan wife in Washington DC.

His 7 years with that mega builder was really fun, but it didn’t satisfy his desire for “Craftsmanship” as he was building houses insanely fast. He moved to Portland, OR in 2002 and it was the national mold crisis that lead him to the path of Building Science. He wanted to learn why these houses were failing and learning everything about the science behind construction has been a passion ever since.

Stephanie Dailey

Stephanie Dailey is a licensed GC with Steven Dailey Construction in Salt Lake City, Utah. Stephanie's passion for building high performance custom homes began as a youth working side by side with her dad. Her journey to becoming a GC included gaining experience in architecture and real estate.

Stephanie is a devoted advocate for women in the construction industry including serving as the Chair of the Utah Professional Women in Building (PWB) working alongside a powerful group of extremely talented and driven women. This group together took the Utah PWB worldwide with “The House That She Built” together and accomplished what few thought they could putting the homebuilding industry on notice that women not only belonged in the industry but that they were here to stay and the industry would be better with them in it!

Stephanie is a highly accomplished leader and volunteer in her community. She is Salt Lake Home Builders association (SLHBA) member devoting her time to serve on the Parade of Homes committee, Chair of the Community Service committee as well as serving on the SLHBA Board of Directors in 2021. The SLHBA awarded Stephanie the "Presidents Award" and "Golden Hammer Award" for "above and beyond" service to the industry. She is also honored to be the first female Utah Valley Home Builders Association's President for 2024. In addition, Stephanie was awarded the first “Emily Roebling Award” by CAT Footwear for representing The Strength and Tenacity of Women in the Trades. That same year, Stephanie was appointed “Honorary Commander” serving for the term 2020 to 2022 for the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base.

CJ Nielson

CJ Nielsen is the founder of CNC Electric, based out of Northern California, in the heart of wine country. From a young age, it was obvious CJ had a passion for building and mechanics and followed his Dad around - always eager to work on anything from home projects to cars or anything that involved tools! High-School consisted of obsessing over building hot rods, and CJ spent every summer working at a body shop learning anything he could to be a craftsman. At the age of 17, CJ was offered an electrician apprenticeship by a friend's Dad who owns a successful electrical contracting business. That's when it clicked that CJ found his passion, and he never looked back. CJ enrolled in Independent Study during his senior year of high school, providing a jump start in his career a year before graduating. CJ spent the next 12 years working for several local electrical contractors performing a diverse array of work involving residential, commercial, and industrial. Honing skills and knowledge was important, and in 2016 CJ founded CNC Electric.

Minnesotan Eric Aune is a licensed Master Plumber and mechanical contractor with over twenty years of experience working with the tools, teaching trade school technical classes and running his small plumbing & heating business. Eric has found an extra 24 hours in the day to co-own and operate mechanical-hub.com, a digital media company focussed on the plumbing, hvac and mechanical trades.

Eric’s passionate about working in the trades and advocates the career opportunities the skilled trades can offer. He works to spread the word thru his enthusiasm and love for the applied sciences and math required to do the kind of work it takes to makes our homes livable. He is a husband, dad and servant to his beagle Ringo.

Jake Bruton

Jake Bruton is a custom home builder in Kansas City and Columbia Missouri. As the owner of Aarow Building for more than 15 years, Jake brings his education in art and architecture to energy-efficient, durable, and architecturally significant homes. Growing up in construction also positioned him for success in building having renovated or repaired nearly every mistake made in the industry. Jake is a contributor to the Build Show, co-host of the UnBuild It Podcast, contributing editor for the Journal of Light Construction, as well as a contributor to Fine Homebuilding. As a speaker he has presented at IBS, JLC Live, the Fine Homebuilding Summit, and the Midwest Building Science Symposium. Jake is currently raising a family with his wife in Columbia, Mo.

Lydia Crowder

Lydia Crowder is a second generation drywall finisher. She started helping out her dad with the family business as a kid and quickly grew to love it. Her dad instilled a love for quality, craftsmanship, and sharing knowledge. She has over 18 years of experience in the field and runs Trinity Drywall with her husband Ryan. Together they finish over 500,000 sq ft of drywall board a year finishing an average of a house a week.

Lydia started sharing drywall tips and tricks on Instagram under the name DrywallShorty and the response was explosive. There is a huge lack of basic knowledge in the industry and Lydia has become a go-to for professionals and diyers.

Steve Baczek

Steve Baczek is a registered architect with over 30 years of construction industry experience. As a sole practitioner, he typically works with clients on select custom residential projects. Utilizing his strong Building Science background, he strives to integrate sound design practices with good construction practices to provide exceptional design solutions to their design problems. His residential work includes over 50 Leed Platinum Homes, and numerous Zero Energy Homes, and Certified Passive Homes. Steve also does extensive work giving older, existing homes a second chance at success. Many of these renovation projects are also designed to be Zero Energy, Deep Energy Rerofits, as well as the first Certified Passive House Renovation in the U.S. under the “Enerphit” program.

Steve volunteers his time for the betterment of the building community as an Architecture Critic at a School of Architecture and on guest panels at building industry events.

Travis Brungardt

Travis Brungardt is co-owner of Catalyst Construction in Prairie Village, Kansas specializing in building durable, high-performance homes throughout the Kansas City area. A licensed Master Electrician and Mechanical Contractor, Travis compliments his business partner Joe Cook - a licensed General Contractor and Master Plumber - so that Catalyst can self-perform the majority of the work on their homes. Driven by a commitment to create a healthy, sustainably built environment for his children to raise their families, he believes the mindset of the craftsman matters as much as any tool or material and that every builder should have a generations-long view of the work they do and the choices they make. Travis is passionate about teaching the next generation of tradespeople and believes introducing young people to Building Science is crucial to keeping the craft alive. He's written for Fine Homebuilding magazine and the Journal of Light Construction as well as having presented at the International Builders Show. He’s also a founder of the BS* and Beer building science discussion group in Kansas City and a host of the BS* and Beer Show on Green Building Advisor where he hopes to educate others, just as others in the building community have so generously taught him.

Wade Paquin

Wade has a passion for fine homebuilding and woodworking. He grew up in the construction industry in a historic town in Massachusetts. His father is a successful custom home builder and master carpenter which is perhaps why Wade was practically born with a hammer in hand and sawdust in his blood. By the time he was 16 years old, he was leading a framing crew working on multi-million dollar custom homes.

Wade holds a degree in Construction Management, Business and Architecture from Roger Williams University. His approach to his business is very hands-on as he actively oversees all operations. He can be found on the job site ensuring all workers and tradesmen are meeting the high quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that WKP strives for.

Will King was born and raised in Leighton, AL, a rural town in the northwest corner of the state. Growing up surrounded by farming, Will learned an early appreciation for hard work and craftsmanship. In 2007, Will moved to Birmingham, AL, to attend college. Shortly after marrying his wife, Brooke, he began volunteering at the local fire department. This fostered a passion in Will that led him to a professional career as a firefighter/paramedic at Decatur Fire and Rescue. It was during this time as a firefighter that Will completely renovated several homes and gained an understanding of the “what not to do” in homes. After moving back to the Shoals in 2013, he focused on his firefighting career; Will achieved the Smoke Diver certification and became an instructor at the Alabama State Fire College which opened doors to teaching even abroad. In 2016, Will observed the need for current building science in northwest Alabama, so he became a licensed home builder and formed High Cotton Homes. In 2018, Will made the difficult decision to leave Decatur Fire and focus on home building, but the unique insight into structural integrity from his fire career continues to fuel Will's passion for High Cotton Homes to provide quality construction to his clients.

Will’s goal as a home builder has always been to pursue better. In order to build more efficiently, as the company grew, Will began putting together a team in 2019. Then after several mishaps with blueprints, High Cotton Homes expanded to integrate a home designer. This quickly evolved into bringing onboard an interior designer, and the full-service “design-build” company was born. The company is now comprised of project managers, an accountant, a designer, and carpenters, and that team has made High Cotton a leader in delivering high-performance homes to Florence. Catering to the local market, one goal of High Cotton Homes is to deliver “low cost, high impact” upgrades to clients. Quality, craftsmanship, timeless design, and efficiency are the core themes that form the foundation for Will and High Cotton Homes.

Zack Dettmore

Zachary had an interest in construction starting at age 8. He was homeschooled, which allowed him to pursue his passion from a young age. Zachary started working for a local contractor (Anything Construction) at age 13. He was tasked first with sweeping floors and quickly worked his way up to sweeping ceilings.

After doing everything from drop ceilings in Manhattan skyscrapers, to exterior painting on historic homes in New Jersey, Zachary purchased his first house. It was a horrible old house that showed him just how bad a renovation can go when it's done poorly. Zachary started Dettmore Home Improvements with the hope of making an uncompromising company that puts craftsmanship first and tools second and writing bios third.

Allyson Case Anderson

Allyson’s seed of passion for the built environment started in 2013 when she became a builder under duress, having hired a bad contractor and forced to take over her own project. Over the years, this seed has manifested itself into a fervent conviction to appreciate, invigorate, and inspire residential buildings. She now owns offices in Chicago and Western Michigan, executing major renovations and new construction custom homes with premier architects across the Midwest.

Allyson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and is a Certified Passive House Builder. She participates in an advisory role as a Council Member for the Urban Land Institute and is President for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry of Greaterland Chicago. She most recently contributed to a multi-year steering committee formed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Commissioner Judy Frydland which successfully created a pathway for legalizing and capitalizing on the opportunities of accessory dwelling units—an effort the Mayor hopes will develop a prototype for nationwide use.

In addition to participating as a guest lecturer for industry organizations, Allyson has been featured on HGTV, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, top-rated international podcasts, and other national publications. She was recognized among America’s Top 50 Remodelers by Remodeling Magazine and Pro Remodeler Magazine’s Forty under 40. She was also a Guest Co-Host for Mighty House radio, a nationally syndicated 3-hour home improvement program, and continues to speak as an industry thought leader at professional conferences across the nation.

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