Early in my life it was clear that my preference in life was to be outside, to explore and to experience all that was around me. The early stories always include me getting into my father’s tools and using them (however inappropriately) in new and crazy ways. It was my good fortune that I lived in the very first house of a brand new neighborhood. It seemed that with each new day came another new house and another new friend. By the time I could pull a wagon I had noticed that often wood was culled out and thrown aside, usually full of bent nails and oddly long diagonal cuts. To me I could see the good wood just being wasted, so I used my Dad’s few remaining tools and pulled those bent nails out, straightened out the nails, drew lines to make straight cuts and hand sawed myself some good boards. Those boards became dog houses, bike ramps, tree houses, ax targets and garage shelving (finally my Dad’s garage was now organized). And that’s when I began to get rewarded for working hard and building. I got in trouble for lots of other things, but when I built, I received accolades.
Being in the neighborhood and seeing how things went, it didn’t take long before I noticed the guy in the big Cadillac would come by and people would stop and talk to him. Everyone knew him. Everyone respected him. He was handsome and dressed nicely. He was smart and had all the answers. People were drawn to this man. I was drawn to him. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be him. As time went on I found that he was “the builder”. I too, would someday be a builder.
But first, as many people like myself found out, experiential learning is often hard knock learning. It’s often slow learning and it often comes with various forms of consequences. Sometimes it’s consequences for doing it wrong, but mostly it’s consequences for not doing what you were assigned to do because of getting distracted and wandering into something you feel is more interesting. I remember one time as a kid wondering how an old run down barn had been built? I wondered how I could through the protective fencing that was built around it because it wasn’t safe. One day, I figured it out and I got into the barn. It was such a great adventure but, even more, it was an awakening for me. I was immediately drawn to the structure of the building. As a young kid, I was asking myself, “How does this roof not leak”? Climbing up into the rafters, I saw that it was because of these tapered boards nailed closely together. I had dragged my younger brother with me and apparently safety for him was more of a thing so he didn’t get up in the rafters with me. Well, it wasn’t long before the owner of the barn caught us and sent us home and he told my parents what we were doing. This is where those consequences come into play. I got a strong paddling that day for my distracted adventure. There was one paddling for disobeying the rules, and another for dragging my kid brother along with me. But what my parents didn’t realize at the time was that I had learned a lot about how wood goes together.
When we left that neighborhood, we left a lot of treehouses and every dog had a nice house. I took with me a love for putting things together, gathering work crews (my kid brother) and formulating the next building plan. I had become a builder! No one really noticed me, but it was now in my blood and in my heart.
Over the years, as I began to get small jobs to pay for nice clothes like that builder wore, I took on jobs that were always construction related. We dug holes and set big posts in the ground and then hand mixed concrete with buckets of water we hauled in with us. We nailed up these brand new boards with fresh, straight nails, then we painted these huge configurations into signs. This was just my thing – “building stuff; Climbing high without fear and never doubting my abilities.”
I worked as a linesman, a lumber stocker, insulator installer, roofer, gutter hanger, siding installer, and forklift driver and as I got older I wanted to be the main guy, calling the shots.
Fast forward through the difficult part – learning how to build a strong marriage, raising a couple of kids, and taking on expanded responsibilities. These early days were filled with a lot of trials and failures.
So, I went to work in the area that I really enjoyed – The Church. I got involved with the youth group. I had the job of playing with the kids and trying to teach them a thing or two about being good people.
Now in my mid-thirties I met a beautiful young woman. We hit it off big. She saw stuff in me that I had forgotten about. I thought, “This could work!” And it did work! One night, my new wife asked me, “If you could do anything in the world, if money was no object, what would you do?” At that moment I remembered the dream and I said, “I would build houses!” She replied, “If that’s your dream, then you should go do it!” She handed me back my dream and this time I was ready.
So in 1987 I walked onto a new building site (with penny loafers and preppy shirt) and applied for the job of carpenter. Somehow they didn’t believe me, but I got the job of “carpenter’s helper”. I was in! It was more than a job, it was a path to my dream and I worked that path hard. I learned everything about how to build a house. Over time, one of the builder’s noticed me and offered me a job to run his jobs and that ended up turning into a junior partnership. I learned the internal workings of making it all happen. (Apparently, you gotta have a banker behind you and a salesman to sell you and someone to keep track of all the money coming in and money out.) It was an amazing time, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Brian D. Wiggs Homes, Inc. was founded by a young man who dreamed of being a builder. Those kids from the early days all joined in the dream and have all cut their teeth on homebuilding. My son works with me side by side everyday along with my son in law. My daughters have both worked for the company and are both now having great success in building related fields.
We founded our company on the principles of Knowledge, Experience and Integrity. These are values I have maintained and I am very proud to have fostered these values in my children. Integrity is the one that is most rare and that often gets in the way of the easier path, but it is the one most true. I can tell you about plenty of mistakes along the way, but it’s never been a mistake to say what I mean and do what I say. People know they can count on my words, every time in every way.
Click HERE to see what our customers are saying about the Brian D Wiggs Homes experience.