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Originally published Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Washington's top builder followed dad's path

Kyle LaPierre recently was installed as the 2009 president of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and received the 2008 Builder of the Year award from the organization — about a decade after his father, Duane LaPierre, held the titles.

Tri-City Herald

KENNEWICK — When Kyle LaPierre was a kid, he had no plans to work with his dad building houses.

"I had no appreciation for it," said Kyle, 38.

But after transitioning from real estate to home construction 15 years ago, Kyle recently was installed as the 2009 president of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and received the 2008 Builder of the Year award from the organization — about a decade after his father, Duane LaPierre, held the titles.

"When he won the award, I thought 'Wow, that's the pinnacle,' " Kyle said, adding that he felt proud, honored and a little jealous.

But when Kyle won the award himself, the experience was "humbling," he said.

The two have worked well together over the years, they said.

"He likes to do all the things I don't like," Kyle said.

"And he's very good at doing the things I don't like to do," said Duane, 70, smiling.

Kyle is the only kid of six who opted to stay with the family business, which got started about 50 years ago when Duane was newly married and looking for a way to make a living.

Kyle and his brother, Dennis, built their first house on a piece of land where their father owned a cherry orchard. They built their second house for another brother, and their business took off.

Now LaPierre Enterprises, which Kyle and Duane co-own, builds 12 to 15 homes per year.

"I think it's neat to drive down the street and see the houses you've built ... and know that families live there," Duane said.

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Kyle said he's enjoyed knowing contractors for years and interacting with clients.

"The relationship side of things is most appealing," he said.

The two home-building brothers say they want people to understand that the home-building association is fighting for affordable housing for the general population. More regulation means higher costs that get passed on to homebuyers, they said.

"All we're doing is trying to keep the price of housing down," Kyle said.

The Builder of the Year award is one of the most prestigious given by the BIAW, said its spokeswoman, Erin Shannon.

She complimented the pair for the time and energy they've given to the organization and the industry. So while Kyle's away in Olympia, Duane will hold down the fort in the Tri-Cities.

"Now the roles are reversed" from when Duane was president in 1999, Kyle said.

The pictures and plaques that cover the walls and shelves of the LaPierres' office behind Duane's home speak to the hard work the pair have put in together.

And Kyle predicts Duane's got another 10 years or so before he retires.

"I've always liked working for myself," Duane said.

"I've always liked working for him, too," Kyle responded with a laugh.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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