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The Tuxhorn Company



Many years ago, in the days when he wore a suit and tie and was getting a little tired of it, Tux Tuxhorn jumped into a muddy ditch on his job site to help with a plumbing connection. Jim Kempers, who was on site for LeDuc & Dexter saw Tux, knee deep in mud, smiling. Kempers shouted down to him, "What are you smiling about?" "I'm having fun!" shot back Tux. "You must be really tired of your real job," returned Kempers.

LeDuc & Dexter is currently working at The Tuxhorn Company's Blue Oak project, 8 homes priced in the mid-$500,000 range, located in Windsor, off Starr Road.

LeDuc & Dexter is currently working at The Tuxhorn Company's Blue Oak project, 8 homes priced in
the mid-$500,000 range, located in Windsor,
off Starr Road.

It was true. After many years of developing housing in Sonoma County, much of it in the very successful partnership of Benjamin-Tuxhorn, the constant cutting through of administrative red tape had worn down the enthusiasm for Tux. "I really enjoy the whole building process, from the land acquisition and the building partnerships to the finished homes, but it took 9 years to break ground at Bellevue Ranch. I've got 14 years of scars from that one." Tuxhorn is still working on the Bellevue Ranch project of 500 homes in southwest Santa Rosa with 50 homes yet to build.

In 1997, a year that Tuxhorn recalls as "not that great for building" he decided to scale down. One partner, Bill Benjamin went on to form Rivendale Homes, Rick Waite, his other partner, went into consulting and building spec homes, Tux and his wife, Beth, started the Tuxhorn Company. "Building gets in your blood… it's always been fun and now after 25 years of it I'm building small subdivisions," reflects Tux. The Tuxhorn Company is thriving on smaller projects. "We went back to the dependable subs I had worked with before and LeDuc & Dexter is working with us. Jim Kempers takes very good care of us."

LeDuc & Dexter is working with The Tuxhorn Company on the Blue Oak project, an eight-home cul de sac setting off Starr Road in Windsor. The Blue Oak homes are priced in the mid-$500,000 range.

The Tuxhorn Company built a bigger project in Petaluma, a joint venture with Ryder Homes, totaling 32 lots, 10 units per acre, and last year built 6 units in the Brush Creek area.

Tux Tuxhorn also has a new passion, aside from the golf outings and trips he enjoys with his wife, he is pursuing a Master's Degree from Sonoma State University to become an educator in the new Entrepreneurial Studies Program at S.S.U. Tux is on the advisory committee and has enjoyed the eye-opening academic experience, "Sonoma State is modeling their program after the Price-Babson Entrepreneurial School at Berkeley and the Haas Business School has assembled a team of educators from around the world, specializing in this field of study. We are all working together and it looks like we will be able to put together a great program here at Sonoma State."

Historic Crush at Brown Estate Winery



Cary & Associates Builders, Inc. assembled the Brown Estate Winery crush pad in time to crush 20 tons of Cabernet at the end of September 2002. The historic Brown Estate building is in the background.

Cary & Associates Builders, Inc. assembled the Brown Estate Winery crush pad in time to crush 20 tons of Cabernet at the end of September 2002. The historic Brown Estate building is in the background.

The crush is the biggest deadline a winery faces and they face it every year. Construction projects at wineries always seem to deadline at the crush. In the case of Brown Estate Winery, a historic building, circa 1859, the restoration and conversion to a winemaking facility had a deadline, crush 20 plus tons of Cabernet at the end of September 2002. "We always have deadlines in construction," states Corey Cleland, Project Manager for Cary & Associates Builders, Inc., the general contractor on the Brown Estate Winery project. "This deadline was a little tight, but we made it. It's the first crush at the winery and we had to put together a temporary crush facility because the building restoration is not complete."

When it is complete, about two months from now, 9 of the 10 fermentation tanks that are now positioned outside will be moved upstairs in the two-story building. "LeDuc and Dexter have installed the drains and drainage piping for the upstairs, we'll put in a light weight concrete floor for the tank room up there," explains Cleland. Downstairs, which has cobblestone walls and will be used as a barrel room for now, will eventually become a tasting area. The walls upstairs are redwood in this old and tiny building, "The footprint for this building is only 1312 square feet, 2624 square feet for the whole structure. That's another thing that made this a challenge, the small working space."

For the last month Cleland and his crews have been putting in 60-hour weeks to meet the crush deadline, "It's a real challenge, maybe that's why I like it. Also the owners have been great to work with and that helps. The sub contractors we work with on a regular basis, like Bill Zeeb at LeDuc & Dexter, are friends of ours – we've built a relationship with them over time and I think that makes a difference in getting these things done on time."

LeDuc & Dexter installed the piping, hose stations, drains and process waste system for the crush pad, which is permanently situated behind the building. They've made provisions for the forthcoming boiler and the air compressor, along with pressure boosting the water system. LeDuc & Dexter has also installed all of the copper piping for hot and cold water lines and compressed air. "LeDuc & Dexter have been on schedule or ahead", reports Cleland. Speaking of schedules, the crush isn't over for Brown Estate Winery. Next up, last but not least, Zinfandel.

PHCC Hosts Industry Summit in Chicago



Contractors listen intently to LeDuc & Dexter's Tom LeDuc, top left, at a roundtable discussion at the Industry Summit in Chicago.

Contractors listen intently to LeDuc & Dexter's Tom LeDuc, top left, at a roundtable discussion at the Industry Summit in Chicago.

At the conclusion of the PHCC sponsored Industry Summit, it may have been apparent to the attendees that what they had explored was indeed a "summit" of expectations and lofty goals that will require a focused approach in the climb that faces them. That's not to say it's an uphill battle, "It was really meaningful to have representation from manufactures, suppliers and contractors at this meeting. The bottom line is that we all have to work together to succeed as an industry," said Tom LeDuc, who attended the Summit in Chicago in September with 40 participants.

Some of the familiar supply brands such as Delta Faucet, In-Sink-Erator and Moen attended along with representatives from the City of New York Association of Contracting Plumbers, The American Supply Association and the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute. Twelve contractors attended and participated in roundtable discussions. The entire Summit group identified education, industry partnerships and technology as their key concerns and after a day of meetings and group interaction, the group agreed to form task forces to support four initiatives: 1) Develop a "Site of Sites" industry website with educational and informational content as an all-inclusive resource for the entire plumbing industry. 2) Address the product warranties and recall process. 3) Develop educational programs for new and inexperienced contractors. 4) Develop a concise educational and licensing guide for each state to enable manufacturers in providing educational offerings to contractors.

"The real key to the success of these programs will be participation. We need more contractors to become members of our trade associations. The majority of plumbing contractors in this country are the small shops and most of them are not members," explains LeDuc. "We need to educate the small shops and new contractors to be business people."

In the Education Task Force Draft it's pointed out that "With less than 10% of all contractors belonging to any type of trade association and less than 25% of those who do belong, participating in Contractor educational focus groups, like QSC, CCA, UAC, C2000, etc., there exists a huge gap in our industry! Therein lies the greatest challenge that will affect all of the programs. The contractors must see the value in the educational programs that are forthcoming and then participate."

Tom LeDuc summed up one example of the education process, "We have to convince the manufacturers and wholesalers to further educate the contractors about their products, it will help the contractors be more efficient and successful and that's just good for business cycle."



Featured Stories

The Tuxhorn Company

Historic Crush at Brown Estate Winery

PHCC Hosts Industry Summit in Chicago

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Editorial Credits

The Tuxhorn
Tux Tuxhorn
Beth Tuxhorn
LeDuc & Dexter
Jim Kempers, Residential Mgr.

Cary & Associates
   Builders, Inc.
Bob Cary, President
Corey Cleland, Project
Jane Bryant, Administrator
LeDuc & Dexter
Bill Zeeb, Commercial Mgr.

Charlotte Perham,
LeDuc & Dexter
Tom LeDuc, President

Mark Dommer
Dommer & Associates

Tom LeDuc
LeDuc & Dexter

Contact Us

LeDuc & Dexter Inc.
2833A Dowd Drive
P.O. Box 11157
Santa Rosa, CA  95406
TEL (707) 575-1500
FAX (707) 575-1276
CL 548129

Tom LeDuc



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