As owner of Eagle CDI, Inc., a longtime contractor and developer, Dan Mitchell’s expertise is sought out by attorneys, other builders and contractors and media reporting on the home building market.
As chairman of the Systems Builders Council, Dan Mitchell presents educational seminars for other builders at the International Builders Show, which is organized by the National Association of Home Builders. If you are a contractor, attorney, reporter or TV producer in search of an expert source on home building, use the contact form on this site and please inform us if you are on deadline.
Dan Mitchell & Eagle CDI Recent Featured in Building Systems Magazine! Reprinted here with permission.
Eagle CDI Soaring High
This Tennessee Home Builder Discovers His Passion for Rustic Palaces
Like many of those drawn to home building, Mitchell has boundless energy, a talent for problem solving and a keen mind that is always searching for the next challenge. His life experience is varied as his interests, including announcing NASCAR races and hockey games, as well as volunteering his time as a wrestling coach and helping charitable foundations.
When he and his family relocated to Seymour, TN, he wanted a new home. “But I couldn’t find a contractor to build the home. So I built it myself. Then my neighbor wanted me to build him one. So I got my contractor’s license in 1994 and started building residential.”
Then a client asked him to build a log home. Mitchell discovered he had a passion for building with wood. He built a variety of log structures, including from a home from scratch—from trees felled on the jobsite. He also built milled log homes from a variety of producers, even teaching construction course for builders and home buyers for a half dozen years. He also ran several dry-in crews, tackling log shell projects as far away as Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Mississippi. “It was good money. But all the travel got old really fast,” recalls Mitchell.
Finding His Niche
But the amount of local business had increased to the point where Mitchell didn’t have to travel anymore. His company, Eagle CDI (short for Contracting, Developing, with Integrity), was finding its niche. He took all his hard won knowledge in quality control in log construction and applied to the upscale market. He successfully targeted the multi-million rustic home buyer, with an emphasis on quality.
“Eagle CDI’s company motto is ‘quality without compromise.’ It’s a level of integrity that we stress with everyone who comes on our job sites. The attitude of ‘good enough,’ just doesn’t work with our projects. Of course, because we’re human, things are never perfect. But we keep going back until they are. That mind set is passed down through my own staff, to our subcontractors, all the way down to the laborer. We expect a higher standard on every single job. It’s that funny thing about human nature when you hold people accountable they rise to the occasion.”
For the last six years, Mitchell and his crews have been averaging anywhere from six to 12 projects annually, within 75 mile radius of his home in Seymour. Mitchell’s company earned three awards in the Excellence in Marketing and Home Design Awards by the National Association of Home Builders Building Systems Councils. In the nationwide contest, Mitchell garnered prizes in the log home builder category and best designed homes under 2,300 sq.ft.
Mitchell also created a consulting business teaching other contractors how to efficiently build high end rustic homes. “That kind of knowledge can save a contractor anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 in mistakes they would otherwise make on their first couple of homes,” Mitchell says. “It’s a variety of tips and tactics, from showing them how a floor or roof system goes together, to how to efficiently set up scaffolding and what kind of tools and equipment they need and how to efficiently stage the job site. It saves them time and money. There are little tricks to this trade. For instance, when you’re stick framing your crew is usually two to three guys. Well, to start you need five to six guys on a log home to frame efficiently.”
Sharing His Knowledge & Passion
Mitchell is sharing his knowledge of log home construction as the main speaker for the Log Homes Construction School and other organizations around the country. Attendees discover how to bid log home projects profitability, schedule a project efficiently and stay organized, and stack and fasten log walls, as well as construct subfloors and roof systems.
“Don’t become a log home builder strictly for the monetary rewards. You have to have a passion for this. The wood you build with, each timber and beam has a character all its own. That makes each log home is different—even if they are the same exact floor plan built right next to each other. That’s part of the joy though. You get to put your little artistic touches on each home that you construct. And you are not just creating a structure; you’re creating a lifestyle for your client—many of whom have become my good friends. If you get into this business with a passion for it, the money will come.”