Dinnes speaks highly of the influence of his family, including his mother, far left.
As new OSHBA president, Kurt Dinnes decided to “borrow a page out of a book from a friend of mine…. and not stand up here and talk about all the great things we are going to accomplish this year. Quite frankly, that’s expected.”
Rather, he wanted to share a little about himself, and we feel that’s much more compelling as to what brought him to the OSHBA leadership.
Dinnes spoke of his roots. We thought you would enjoy getting an inside look at your new leader, and what shaped him. Here are excerpts from his speech.
“My story: As a young boy, I remember walking by new homes, and I was fascinated. I dreamed of becoming a custom homebuilder.
“I was raised by a loving family that believed in a strong work ethic and that the only thing that was free was advice, and there was plenty of that!
“Some early advice: When I asked about getting a car at 16, the answer was simple -- "get a job!" So, I turned to a restaurant I loved to eat at during lunch at school – the Taco Inn, where you could get four bean burritos for 99 cents. I applied, got hired on the spot and worked my way up to night manager, working until 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning.
“Yes, I saved and bought my own car. It was a ‘68 Mustang Fastback. I was so proud of it.
“Nearing graduation, I got a job offer to become a part of the founding management team to open the first Taco Mayo in Oklahoma. I was paid $800 per month as an assistant manager in 1978, which brought me to Norman, Oklahoma. My parents were shocked, and yes there were tears shed. They weren’t happy about the decision. But supported me non-the-less.
“The day after graduation I loaded my ‘68 Mustang with everything I owned.
“I had a hard time of it. I was 18 and leading people much older. I learned not everybody will work as hard as I will. A business mentor recommended a book. I read that book and it literally changed my life: Zig Ziglar’s “See You At the TOP!” The over riding principle was no person, no condition, no lack of entitlement is responsible or can keep you from a successful future; that responsibility is squarely up to you and the person you look at in the mirror. I learned to invest heavily in yourself, and to set goals big enough to include God.
“After about one-and-a-half years, I was asked by Taco Mayo to be a part and help build a franchising component. The new company was Taco Mayo Franchise Systems Inc. I was offered 12 percent of the company, and it cost me $1,200. It was 1980. I worked my way up from supervision to franchise licensing manager and eventually to president of the company. Over the years, we opened more than 140 restaurants in seven states.
“In 1999, I and other senior management bought out the original founder.
“My building career began in the early ‘80s designing and building Taco Mayos. In 2000, I decided if I was ever going to be a custom home builder now is the time. I jumped out and tried to buy lots, but developers did not want to sell to me.
“Eventually, I was able to get a lot and build that first home. It was a year after the tornado and I built it in Del City. My first custom home was for the Lee family.
“As a new builder I wanted to further add credibility to our custom building business, I learned about the Certified Professional Builder designation and worked to earn that.
“Today, Sun Custom Homes in Oklahoma City has six employees and builds 18-24 custom homes annually.
“I joined the local HBA and became South West Home Builders Association president, thanks to encouragement by Jim Schuff.
“A year later, Schuff calls me again and said Mark Dale wanted to have lunch with me. This time, he asked me to serve on the leadership ladder of COHBA, which led to me becoming president. Then I got a call from Jeff Click, on behalf of OSHBA, who asked me to serve on leadership ladder of OSHBA, which brought me here to stand before you tonight.
“Today, because of my involvement with Home Builders Associations and with the help of our Sun Team, I am blessed and able to continue to operate a successful small custom home building company.
“Since I was a young boy, this has been my dream!
“For this and many other reasons, as an Association, we must continue to work diligently to preserve this right, to ensure that future generations are able to do the same. So, together we can continue to make the dream, of home ownership, a reality for all.”