Grand Forks Native Army Veteran Builds Satisfying Custom Home Construction Business After Military Service

“I kind of noticed that I was driving around town and looking at the houses, and I started to like it even more,” he said. “And then HGTV and all that” pushed him into the homebuilding industry again.

Temple, born and raised in Grand Forks, graduated from Red River High School in 2002. He entered the military at age 17 and received basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. During his service he was stationed in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

In 2008, after completing his military service in the US Army, he returned home to earn an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice at UND in 2012, then worked as a banker and director of e-commerce at Fargo for four years. Returning to Grand Forks, he received his MBA in 2018 from the University of Mary program offered at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

While still in college, Temple bought and flipped his first two homes, he said. On his very first flip, he made a profit of $ 28,000, which made me “think this is something I could really look into.”

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In the local market, “I saw a gap for very high quality homes,” he said. He also remarked that “there are a lot of big houses which are not very well built”.

He immersed himself in studying the design of the house and the science behind the products used in the construction of houses, he said, noting that he had discovered that he had a keen sense of the design.

“It turned out that I was able to do it and put things together that looked good,” he said. “If you’re a builder who doesn’t know the design, (the potential buyer) can tell right away. ”

It took him several years to save enough money to start his own business, he said. “The banks just don’t want to take the risk” on a new home construction business.

Six years ago, at the age of 32, Temple started Otter Creek Homes, a custom home building company, he said. “My business model was: high quality but a good size. ”

Temple works in partnership with Jordan Hansen of Craft Masters Construction. Since 2016, they have built 18 houses, with a crew of five and various contractors. The size of most homes ranges from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet.

Otter Creek Homes is one of some 2.52 million majority veteran-owned businesses in the United States, according to the latest US Census Bureau survey of small business owners.

A few years ago, Temple started another business, Otter Creek Development, through which he buys farmland and turns it into residential areas. The job is to install “the road, the electricity, the water, the septic tank, the backfill,” he said, and “everything we need for these country houses”.

Temple and its partner, Craft Masters Construction, are determined to use products with proven performance, even if they are more expensive than commonly used materials.

Otter Creek Homes is the only “scientific construction builder” in Grand Forks, Temple said. The term is a “self-designation” which denotes a certain level of education in product science and the use of superior materials in terms of performance and functional life.

His adherence to the use of high quality products in house building is an example of the values ​​his father, Jon Temple, taught him as a child.

“Dad was an artist; he was a painter, a sculptor, ”said Temple. “He believed that something had to be done the right way or not done at all.”

It is also a reflection of his commitment to integrity, a principle that is applied to veterans during military service, he said. “Especially in the military, it’s all about integrity – or get the hell out of it.”

Employers, he found, appreciate the commitment to these kinds of high standards and other attributes honed by military experience.

Many of his former military comrades are doing well after leaving the service, Temple said.

“(Veterans) are motivated and used to a schedule,” he said. “They have that ‘veteran status’, which means that at some level people trust them, and employers respect and admire him.”

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