30 Jan 2020
30 Jan 2020
Sean Junker also hopes organization’s other programs benefit as a result of a growth in membership.
Now that the Northeast Florida Builders Association is in its new headquarters, the organization’s 2019 president wants to thank those who made its construction possible by giving back to the community.
Sean Junker, 47, said he would like to help more people by expanding NEFBA’s charitable projects like Builders Care, which provides free housing repair services for needy residents in the region.
Several weeks ago, for example, the group and a few dozen volunteers built a wheelchair ramp and painted the house of a Korean War veteran who suffered a stroke.
“I want us to be able to do more things like that,” Junker said from his Providence Homes office in Southpoint, where he has worked since 2001 and served as president since 2006.
Junker also would like to expand the organization’s membership and see more people enroll in the Apprenticeship Program to combat the regional labor shortage.
As the leader of a local homebuilding company, Junker has witnessed firsthand the toll of a lack of qualified trades workers, which he said often results in project delays.
Many years before he moved to Jacksonville, a college professor convinced Junker that he should study building construction.
Before that, his initial desire was to become an architect, even though no one in Junker’s family was remotely tied to the industry. In fact, both his grandfather and father were church pastors.
However, Junker said he was intrigued with the construction business when his father took the family to help build Habitat for Humanity homes. Soon, Junker worked during the summer while in high school as a roofer, framer and truss builder.
He and his family moved several times, living in Minnesota, Maine and several parts of Florida.
After high school, Junker earned an associate degree at Indian River State College and then transferred to the University of Florida, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree.
Junker said most of his classmates went into commercial construction but that he was interested in the residential side. His first job at the age of 24 was with K. Hovnanian in Port St. Lucie.
In 1998, he moved from Port St. Lucie to Jacksonville after being hired by Taylor Woodrow, which later merged with Morrison Homes and was renamed Taylor Morrison.
In 2001, the owner of Providence Homes, Bill Cellar, hired Junker as vice president of operations.
He was promoted to president five years later, right before the housing market crashed. Junker said he learned more during that “tough” experience than he could in any classroom.
“The most difficult times is when you grow as a person the most,” he said.
Junker, who has been on NEFBA’s board of directors since 2007, said he is honored to take on the role of president.
He said the “heavy lifting” already has been done. The group’s new building was recently completed and he said the “amazing” staff and leadership at NEFBA are doing a great job.