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2016 Texas Housing Hall of Honor Inductees

The Texas Association of Builders inducted a pair of pioneer members into the 2016 Texas Housing Hall of Honor. The event was held inside the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin on November 18.  Well respected Ray Tonjes and nationally known David Weekley became the 20th and 21st members to appear on the esteemed Hall of Honor wall.

Weekley and Tonjes are true pioneers in the Texas residential home building industry. Tonjes spearheaded green building practices. His decades of work have led the green building movement into mainstream building practices. Weekley made a commitment 40-years ago to “do the right thing” with his customers, community and team members by putting customer service and loyalty first.

Ray Tonjes Builder, Inc., | Austin, Texas | Home Builders Association of Greater Austin 

Tonjes has brought sustainable construction to the forefront of the home building industry. He has led the green building movement into mainstream building practices as he advocated at the local, state and national levels. He chaired committees, developed standards, wrote educational curriculums, taught classes, and presented seminars.

In 1985, Tonjes became one of the first “Energy Star” builders in Austin. This was an aggressive conservation program that evolved into the nation’s first green building program that became a valuable part of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). He continues to advocate at all levels for the improvement of energy efficiency and participation in green building programs.

For over a decade, Tonjes worked diligently on the Green Building Sub-Committee which established the “NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines”. These guidelines served as the go to resource for associations looking to develop green building programs. Also, as chairman he championed the American National Standards Institute process which led to the development of International Code Council’s 700 National Green Building Standard. This ground breaking document has proven to be an invaluable tool for home builders and has effectively changed the way homes are built.

Tonjes was a founding director and the first chairman of the Board for the Green Building Initiative (GBI) in 2004. The vision was to create a program that would bring conventional builders and developers into green building practices. He was integral in conceiving and launching a platform that would accelerate these building techniques while being credible and having a real-world application. GBI was able to support NAHB’s efforts to bring green building to the forefront of residential construction and certify thousands of commercial buildings.

Tonjes has testified before numerous United States congressional committees, appeared before Texas Legislative committees, published professional articles for national magazines, and spoken at dozens of conferences.

A 29-year veteran of the home building industry, Tonjes served as the 2005 President of the Texas Association of Builders, the 2003 Chairman of the NAHB Custom Home Builder Committee and the 1998 President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin. In 2009, Ray was honored as a finalist for the inaugural Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Ray made Austin his home following his service as a pilot with the United States Air Force (1971-1977). He and his wife, Rosemary, have two grown children.

David Weekley Homes | Houston, Texas | Greater Houston Builders Association

A native of Houston, Weekley embarked on his home building career in 1976. At the age of 23, he started his own company and nearly 40 years later, he has sold more than 80,000 homes and expanded to 18 cities across the nation.

The company had great success in the Houston market, allowing him to expand his home building business to the other cities in the state by the mid 1980’s. This also allowed him to shift the focus to the people: the customers, the community and the company’s team members. David Weekley Homes started differentiating itself from its competitors with innovative homes, best in class customer service and by providing a work place that now ranks as one of the best in the country.

He was the first production builder to provide upscale features as the standard builder grade and the first to allow large scale personal customization to its floor plans with its unique FlexSpace options. The open-concept floor plans incorporate what Weekley calls “LifeDesign”: a concept that blends the fundamentals of design, architecture, engineering, physics, psychology and sociology to create homes that look and live better than other mass produced housing.

David Weekley Homes also embraced the “Build on Your Own Lot” concept, a concept that has matured into a mainstay of its business plan. He also was the first to incorporate energy efficient mechanical systems, building techniques and energy ratings into his homes.

His philosophy of “doing the right thing,” increasing interactions with the home buyer and training team members to speak with one voice was his greatest asset. Because of such efforts J.D. Power and Associates has ranked David Weekley Homes as Highest in Overall Customer Satisfaction among New-Home Builders and New-Home Quality. This best-in-class customer service produces an extraordinary 30 percent customer referral rate.

His company has been named as one of Fortune magazines “100 Best Companies to Work For” a remarkable 10 times. Weekley credits his company’s purpose of “Building Dreams, Enhancing Lives” for creating the company’s success and award-winning culture.

Weekley is a current member of the Board of Directors for St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital; Past President of the Houston Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization; and Past President of the Greater Houston Builder's Association.  Weekley has been named National Builder of the Year twice, received Builder magazine’s “Hearthstone Builder Lifetime Public Service Award” and won the National Housing Quality Awards, to name a few of his many accolades.

Weekley regularly donates 50 percent of his income and time to philanthropic endeavors. He is a pioneer in product design, customer service, business practices and philanthropic giving.

He and his wife, Bonnie, have three children and three grandchildren.

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