New hire helps nudge first-time builder to dream big
Michael Harn never thought his company Anlon Custom Homes would be building a house on the Street of Dreams.
Yet here he is, overseeing not one but two houses under construction.
"There's no greater stage to get your name out there," Harn said of the Street of Dreams. "And it means a culmination of creating industry relationships to showcase what we can do."
Harn, who is president and owner of Anlon Custom Homes, has spent his entire life in the construction trade. The son of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor, he grew up in Portland tagging along after his dad on job sites. As a young man he joined the Army, after which he started working various construction jobs. Before long he was managing the development of a subdivision, a job that cemented his team approach to getting a job done. Harn, 42, recognized that not every worker appreciated having such a young boss but everyone seemed to rally around reaching a common goal. It's a lesson he's never forgotten.
In 2009, after developing hundreds of lots, building hundreds of houses and remodeling many homes, he started Anlon Custom Homes. His mission: to do the best possible job for every client, regardless of how big or small the job is.
With the business growing, Harn realized he needed to hire a senior-level manager to establish processes, ensure seamless transitions for clients and allow the company to handle any issue that arises in house. He envisioned a middle-aged man but instead hired a woman with a tremendous amount of construction knowledge.
Nancy Haskin joined the company about a year and a half ago as Operations and Custom Home Manager.
During the 1990s, Haskin co-owned Elegant Homes, a company under which she built seven Street of Dreams homes. She also worked as vice president of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, which produces the Street of Dreams, before becoming director of custom homes for Pahlisch Homes. Pahlisch Homes is the developer of Vendage at the Reserve, which is home to this year's Street of Dreams.
Haskin really enjoyed her time with Pahlisch Homes and in 2015 she helped build the company's Street of Dreams home.
But she also has liked moving to Anlon. "I liked getting back to a smaller company where I could really make a difference," she said.
With her experience designing and planning homes, and Harn's expertise in construction, the team is a bit like Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV's hit show Fixer Upper. "It is helpful," Haskin said of her female perspective on how a house lives. An architect may design a kitchen with an island sink but Haskin can listen to clients and determine whether that's really the best placement. "You don't typically find what we can bring to the table," she added.
Harn agreed. "Because we have both the male and female perspective, we have separate points of view to make sure that the homeowner gets exactly what they want," he said.
Shortly after starting with Anlon, Haskin was talking to Harn about the company's goals to increase visibility and improve branding. Harn envisioned the company moving more toward the custom home market, so Haskin suggested building on the Street of Dreams. She was familiar with the 2018 development in Hillsboro from her time with Pahlisch Homes, and she had a vision for the type of house Anlon could build. Harn agreed.
"I knew Nancy would be a huge hammer in helping us do it." Harn said.
As she was designing Anlon's Hearth & Home — a modern take on a farmhouse complete with a golf cart garage and coffee bar in the master bathroom — Haskin discovered Suteki America needed someone to construct its Street of Dreams home.
Harn weighed the timing.
He'd just been rediagnosed with colon cancer.
Did he really want to embark on two builds for his introduction to the Street of Dreams? "I'm going to be fine," he told himself. "And this is what's right for the company."
Harn is now a two-time colon cancer survivor.
And the collaboration between Suzuki Group and Anlon Construction resulted in Suteki Harmony, a Zen-like home with a Northwest aesthetic and clean modern lines.
"I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now without Nancy being a catalyst for the idea," Harn said. "There's no doubt there was a comfort that came from the fact that she has been through this process before. And I wanted to do something that benefited Anlon and the entire team."