Meet Kevin and Lori McNulty, husband-and-wife co-owners and Epcon Franchise Builders in Richmond, Virginia.
Kevin and Lori came across Epcon through personal references, and involved their team in the decision of whether or not to become Epcon Franchise Builders.
Kevin McNulty: My name’s Kevin McNulty. I serve our company as our CEO and Chief Stewardship Officer. The name of our company is LifeStyle Home Builders, and we’re in the Richmond, Virginia metro market. Based out of Chesterfield County on the south side of the city, but build all over the Richmond market.
Lori McNulty: I’m Lori McNulty. I am the co‑owner of LifeStyle Home Builders, and I’m the Vice President of Culture.
Host: How did you both, either separately or together, get into home building?
Kevin: I started and drug her into it. It started for me all the way back in high school, when I got my first real summer job. It was on a construction site. I just fell in love with building and being around construction.
Did summer jobs like that all the way through college, and then was minted with a fresh engineering degree, coming out of Virginia Tech. Thought I was supposed to go off and do something different. I tried that for a while and realized that I was miserable. It just wasn’t what I was cut out for.
I had a friend, from college, that was working for a home builder and he talked me into applying. I restarted my career a few years out of school and got back into the industry in 1996, full time. That was where my career took a deep‑dive into home building.
Host: What about you, Lori?
Lori: It’s Kevin’s fault. My educational career, and what I did for 25 years, was nursing. I was an oncology nurse for 25 years, and never thought I’d ever do anything else. Then five years ago, an opportunity came up that was a good fit, and I came over and started working in our design studio.
We’re still getting that to a place where I’m completely in the VP of Culture role. That’s a new transition for us, but we’re getting there. We’re excited about it.
Host: When did Epcon come into the story, and how did you find Epcon?
Kevin: I got some marketing emails from the team about, “Hey, wouldn’t you like to talk to us?” This has never been confirmed, but I think what happened was my friend Pat McKee had you start calling on me.
I ended up talking to Pat and to Mark and Taylor Marquess, who are friends of mine out of Arkansas, and they were getting involved with Epcon, so I had some personal references and did a bunch of due diligence and…every question I had, there was a solid answer behind it.
The more I dug in, the more comfortable I got that this was something that made a lot of sense for us to pursue in terms of finding a way to expand our offerings and hit a different target market of buyer profile that we haven’t focused on.
Lori: When the opportunity came up and we, like Kevin said, did our due diligence, some of the places we visited, for me, came across as a good culture fit and an opportunity to serve a piece of the community that we’re soon entering.
Also, just to see the one‑floor living and the community, and just the opportunity that brings to that buyer that may be the empty‑nesters or have grandkids that they’re involved with, so they have common likeness, similarities and just a real opportunity for us in that aspect, the whole culture fit, as far as an organization goes.
We even said last night that seems to be, “Yeah, OK, we’re on the same track with Epcon.” Not just the opportunity to serve that buyer, but also to serve our team and to help our team grow and love what they’re doing.
Host: What are some of the challenges that either you faced along this journey thus far or that you anticipate you might face, and how might you lean on Epcon during those times?
Kevin: The biggest thing that I see in our future is going to be the difference in the way the selling process happens. The pacing of it with this buyer, what this buyer cares about, is going to be different than the buyer profile that we have sold to in the past.
Bringing the collective experience of Epcon, in terms of what you all know about the buyer, how we market to them, how we set up the sales process to facilitate an easier, more enjoyable sale for the buyer, because you’ve already been there, done that.
Host: What advice would you give to a brand‑new Epcon builder that’s just coming into the network today? What sort of wisdom would you share with them?
Lori: For me, make sure it’s a good fit for your team, make sure it’s a good opportunity, not just for the owners of the business but for the team. You don’t get where you are anywhere in life without a team behind you. We have a great team ‑‑ I get a little emotional with that ‑‑ we have a really good team, so making sure it works for them.
Host: What about you, Kevin? What advice would you give to a brand‑new builder?
Kevin: Just to build on what Lori said, we involved other people on our team in the evaluation and due diligence and decision process. We didn’t just say, “Well, we’re the owners. We think this is a good idea.” We very much engaged with other people on our team in the journey of trying to figure out, “Is this something we should do?”
They came with us to Columbus and helped us vet that, and were voices of wisdom around the table as we had the conversation. Having buy‑in from your team is critical. If you don’t have that, you’re just bringing in one more idea.
Host: If someone came to you today and asked if you should do business with Epcon, what would your answer be?
Kevin: I would say yes, but only if you’re all in on it, because the sense that we have is that Epcon and the team that’s at Epcon is all in. You believe in what you’re doing and you want people that will share that passion. If they don’t, they don’t belong in the network. If you’re all in, you’re going to find a great fit, but if you’re not, it’s not going to work for either side of the situation.
My answer is, it depends.
Host: Love that answer. Thank you both so much for your time today.
To hear more about Kevin and Lori’s story, watch A Good Culture Fit.