Building an IDEAL Company
April 9, 2021
CEO and co-founder, Vernon McKown, is a dedicated lifelong learner who believes that great leadership starts with building personal connections and respect. It’s this mentality that has led the company through 30 years of growth and more than 12,000 homes built by Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods.
Vernon still remembers the names of the first people he sold homes to when he started the company because making an impact in people’s lives is why he is still passionate about building homes today. He was told once by a previous homeowner that even though they had moved to other homes throughout their lives, their first home with Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods was still their favorite. It held so many first memories, including when they brought their babies home from the hospital.
“It’s all about making dreams come true for our homeowners,” said Vernon. Since the beginning of the company, first-time homebuyers have been a significant portion of the Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods customer base.
“It’s the little details that make our homes and neighborhoods beautiful, comfortable places to live,” Vernon explains. “In fact, because so many of our employees live in an Ideal home, we get a front-row seat to adjustments and changes we can make to our plans to make them better.”
Having such a dedication to quality and leading-edge innovation takes strong leadership to create continued long-term success. This is where Vernon really shines. Building leadership skills has been a lifelong pursuit for him. He served as the 4-H state president in high school (and still has his 4-H training binder from 1986 in his office today) that earned him trips to state, regional, and national 4-H conferences. It’s also where he met Ronda, his wife (more on that later). A continuous learner, he strives to read a book a month to help himself grow personally and professionally.
Vernon believes that leadership starts with trust and respect. Once that foundation is established, he concentrates on inspiring team members to rise to new levels. By creating stretch goals and guardrails, he opens the opportunities for others to create new and innovative ways to succeed. He also believes you get the best out of people by loving and caring for them.
He and his wife, Ronda, were high school sweethearts who met in 4-H and have been married for more than 25 years. Vernon credits her in large part with helping him to experience what he calls “a fairytale life.” She was there when he co-founded Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods and currently leads the company’s outreach efforts to support neighbors and the communities that Ideal serves. Their children have grown up around the homebuilding industry their entire lives and even though Vernon strives to keep work at work, he uses a lot of the lessons he’s learned as a leader to help him be a better parent as well.