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Oklahoma City Builder Keeps Focus with Family

March 5, 2009

Note: Jeff Click is a 1998 OBU graduate. This story was run in The Oklahoman on Feb. 15, 2009.

Executive Q&A with Jeff Click: Oklahoma City builder keeps focus with family

By Richard Mize

Real Estate Editor, The Oklahoman

Jeff Click is daddy, husband, home builder and tech geek, all at once, and wears it all on his sleeve.

He'll tell you that his wife, Deziray, is his better half, and he's fast to tell you that their daughter, Alessondra, 3, is the apple of his eye - not that he gets all mushy about it.

Oh, yes he does. Daddy does like to brag on his bright-eyed little girl.

Click, owner of Jeff Click Homes, is 2009 president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. Here's some of what's on his mind:

Q: Enough about you. Alessondra is a doll. Tell us an Alessondra story.

A: She's only 3, but already has her mother's charm and wit, as well as what my wife calls my "cut-to-the-bone candor."

Recently we were all watching "American Idol" together and when one of the contestants had just learned he was cut, Alessondra shrugged and said very matter-of-factly, "Why's he crying? That's just the way it goes."

Q: You made your early reputation in home building as a high-tech guy. What's the latest gizmo or system for the home?

A: A trend is definitely developing in systems that provide convenience and energy management options. For example, while one can take basic steps in using more energy-efficient light bulbs, a light left on unnecessarily is still wasteful. I would submit that smart energy management systems that know when a light should and shouldn't be on is as effective, if not more, in conserving energy. I think we'll see systems like this become more prevalent in new homes over time.

Q: How do you stay ahead of the curve, techwise, with innovation continuing to proceed at warp speed?

A: I don't know if it's possible to be ahead of the curve in this era, but I keep up through reading as much as I can make time for, and experimenting with new things that I believe will be viable for the modern homeowner in the near future.

Q: Which social network services do you use for work; for pleasure? How important do you think such online communities are for business?

A: I believe social networking is proving itself as a viable way to reach and interact with people in new ways, and it was one of the hottest seminar topics at the International Builders Show last month.

I've never been a fan or user of MySpace, but I've been able to create meaningful connections with both friends and prospective clients through Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with colleagues, though I'm not as active on that.

Q: How is it to lead the Central Oklahoma Home Builders at a time such as this?

A: That's probably the question I've been asked most since I was installed as president in December. It's certainly the most interesting time I've ever seen in the building industry, and at a time like this, it's less about wanting to rock the boat and more about trying to keep the boat from rocking. While we aren't without our own challenges in the Oklahoma market, I wouldn't want to be in any other place in the country right now in this line of work.

Q: Bring us up to date on plans for a new association headquarters: where, who is building it, when?

A: It'll be located on the south side of Britton Road east of Broadway Extension. We're working with architect Michael McCoy, and our general contractor is Wynn Construction.

We're eager to submit our plans for permit in the next few weeks, which means breaking ground early this spring. The association is very excited about the campus concept, which consists of two buildings joined by a covered walkway and courtyard.

Q: Nobody likes to see homes destroyed or damaged by a tornado, but does seeing it hit you in any particular way as a home builder?

A: Naturally, making sure the family is safe is top priority. Once that's the case, I can never help but be itching to get out and go check job sites the moment it's reasonably clear to do so.

We were in and out of our storm shelter three times on Tuesday, and fortunately we didn't suffer any direct damage, but I was definitely concerned given the several waves of storms that passed through.

Q: Some people might not know you have some commercial development. Where is it, what is it - and how is developing commercial property different from home building?

A: It's called the "Main Street Business District," and is a seven-building office development located at NW 158 and Pennsylvania. It's designed from the ground up to look like a classic, Oklahoma downtown that's been renovated into a modern look and feel.

We didn't want to do the typical, residential-style office complex, but rather a more creative, edgy environment that we believe there's strong demand for.

Commercial construction offers some tradeoffs in that while there are fewer details to monitor in some respects, there are other factors at play that you never have to consider in typical home construction.

Copyright 2009, The Oklahoma Publishing Company. Used with permission.