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Russ Stephens

Russ Stephens is a Co-founder of the Association of Professional Builders, a business coaching company dedicated to improving the residential construction industry for both builders and consumers. Russ is a data analysis expert who has introduced data-driven decision-making to the residential construction industry. Russ is also a proud member of the Forbes Business Development Council.


The Association of Professional Builders (APB) provides business coaching for professional builders. It helps residential home builders grow their building companies with systems that generate more leads, more contracts, and higher margins while improving the client experience. 

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  • Mick Hawes: Is Your Instinct Leading Your Business in the Right Way?

    Join Mick Hawes, the dynamic host of "The Tool Shed" podcast and founder of Builders Business Black Belt, as he delves into the intricacies of business coaching for builders. Mick’s journey from electrician to business coach is marked by diverse experiences, including roles as a musician, photocopier technician, and life insurance salesperson. These roles led him to personal development and time management, ultimately steering him toward business coaching.Mick's coaching philosophy emphasizes the distinction between technical skills and successful business management. He helps builders enhance communication, relationship-building, and business acumen using the six working geniuses' model by Patrick Lencioni. This model highlights the importance of leveraging all six types of genius: wonder, invention, discernment, galvanizing, enablement, and tenacity, to ensure project success.Mick shares insights on identifying weak links in business operations, utilizing tools like the "Black Belt Compass" for direction, and the value of community and support. Tune in to learn how to refine your instincts, make informed decisions, and continuously improve your business through education and self-improvement.
  • Design Dialogues: Revitalizing Urban Spaces with Andrew Barnes

    Andrew always knew he wanted to be an architect. He was drawing floor plans as far back as the first grade. The obsession never subsided, so he continued his journey at Kansas State University, completing his Master of Architecture degree in 2010. He arrived in Dallas just as the architecture industry was emerging from the lean years of the Great Recession. Time spent at a large international retail design firm as well as a local boutique firm has formed the foundation of Andrew’s professional experience. Andrew launched Agent Architecture in May of 2017.Since then, the practice has grown, with his wife and co-owner joining in 2019, and the addition of 2 team members in the following years. Now a small studio of 4, Agent has maintained a diverse range of project types, with an emphasis on adaptive re-use, workplace, and early childhood education. A seamlessly integrated architecture and interiors practice, Agent delivers whole-building design solutions for nearly any project type. Beyond Architecture, Andrew is a father to a nearly 2-year-old, life-long science-fiction fan, and self-proclaimed sandwich connoisseur. 
  • Marie Kargiotis: Dream Homes, Bold Designs

    Marie Kargiotis an interior stylist and home renovator, whose refined style and unwavering passion have made waves in the lifestyle landscape. Marie is authentic and passionate, and her enthusiasm for visualizing the potential of a project is infectious. Recognised as one of Adelaide’s top 10 interior stylists by The Advertiser, she has had the privilege of collaborating with numerous high-profile clients. Marie possesses the unique gift of seamlessly intertwining style with authenticity and beauty with purpose. Marie transitioned from a successful hairstyling career to interior design. Her meticulous attention to aesthetics began in childhood. Her hairstyling career, marked by high-profile work and education in Vidal Sassoon techniques, cultivated her appreciation for design, eventually sparking her interest in interiors.Marie's interior design business developed naturally through compliments and requests from friends. Initially offering services informally, her business grew as her reputation spread. She learned to value her skills, gradually increasing her rates as she gained confidence, despite lacking formal interior design training.Marie emphasizes creating personalized, emotionally resonant interiors. She excels in understanding and fulfilling clients' desires through incorporating meaningful items into home decor, making a home unique and reflective of the individual's experiences. She advocates for fun, expressive design choices that reflect individual personalities, ensuring each project represents the client's style. The conversation emphasizes mixing styles, such as modern elements with vintage pieces, showcasing creativity and respecting the original architecture, resulting in a balanced, pleasing space.Tune in for a great conversation!
  • Phil Darwen: Inside a Designers Mind

    Phil Darwen, the mastermind behind the Instagram sensation "A Designer's Mind" with 1.4 million followers, delves into his unique journey as a building designer. Specializing in home design and renovation, Phil brings an exceptional flair for interior styling that has made him a significant figure in the design world.Phil's career blossomed under the mentorship of renowned designer Paul Clout, where he transitioned from hand-drawn sketches to AutoCAD, showcasing his adaptability and commitment. His design philosophy centres on the critical importance of light, ventilation, and storage, addressing modern challenges of smaller plot sizes. Ensuring proper breathability, light penetration, and ample storage in homes enhances comfort and well-being.Highlighting environmental influences, Phil discusses designing homes that breathe naturally, minimizing the need for air conditioning, especially in subtropical climates. Emphasizing human-centered architecture, he stresses the emotional impact of engaging with spaces at ground level, advocating for designs that elevate societal vibrancy.Phil's Instagram journey, from a personal profile to a design-focused platform, reflects his dedication to sharing innovative ideas and fostering a community seeking inspiration. By integrating unexpected and historically rich images, Phil reminds us to view design from different perspectives, enriching the engagement and thoughtfulness of his content. His personal legacy project encapsulates his professional growth, underscoring functionality, materiality, and emotional connection in architecture.
  • Brad Sugars: Blueprint to Business Brilliance

    In this podcast, Brad Sugars, founder of Action Coach, shares valuable insights into business design, marketing, and creating a sustainable, saleable business. He emphasizes the importance of acquiring and retaining customers and staff, regardless of business size or industry. Brad discusses modern marketing strategies, stressing comprehensive online content and tools like Neuron Writer for SEO. He explains the significance of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), aiming for genuine engagement over superficial social media metrics.Brad underscores the need for businesses to design shareable moments, enhancing organic promotion through customer-generated content. He highlights the importance of consistency and systemization in business, advocating for standardized procedures to ensure reliable customer experiences. Effective delegation is crucial, as trying to handle everything yourself can hinder growth. Success involves collaboration, leadership, and staying in your lane of genius.
  • Sarah Idrissi Yazami: Fusing Design, Emotion, and Experience.

    Sarah, born in Belgium with a Spanish background, brings a rich multicultural sensibility to her work as an interior designer. Her studio, Sarah Interiors Design Studio, located on the Gold Coast, QLD, is on a mission to transform and diversify the local interior design landscape.With a custom approach, Sarah challenges conventional norms and mainstream trends, striving to achieve timeless and authentic designs. Her passion for exploration and curiosity infuses a unique touch into each project, emphasizing quality work that stands the test of time.Sarah's strong interest in architectural history and the arts adds depth to her designs, drawing inspiration from historical art and architecture. This fascination with the past, combined with her love for the unconventional, allows her to create spaces that honor tradition while embracing the new. Through her work, Sarah aims to not only beautify spaces but also to tell stories and evoke emotions, making each project a journey of discovery.In Sarah's philosophy, timeless beauty is found in simplicity and subtlety. She believes that carefully curated details and understated elements can create the most striking and memorable spaces. This approach ensures that her designs are not only visually stunning but also possess a timeless quality that resonates with her clients for years to come.Description of Wildash project:Introducing the Wildash project, where every room tells a unique story yet shares a common thread of balance between existing architecture and carefully integrated new elements. The Wildash office is a testament to this approach, with the timber stud panel serving as both a functional "blind" and a striking design element. The deliberate decision to work around the fixed window, allowing it to slide open for natural light, showcases the studio's dedication to preserving what was existing while enhancing it with thoughtful design. In the bathroom, the use of Patagonia stone is not only an aesthetic choice but also a nod to practicality, as natural stone helps regulate humidity levels. This serene haven is a result of working with the natural finishes and soothing vibes, creating a space that encourages relaxation and tranquility. Moving to the formal lounge, the inspiration drawn from an underground jazz bar is evident in the rich hues of dark green and warm orange. This room is designed for intimate gatherings, balancing comfort with upscale sophistication.Throughout the Wildash project, the team's dedication to integrating new elements seamlessly with the existing architecture shines through. Each room showcases a unique mood and purpose, yet all contribute to the cohesive magic of the entire space. Stay tuned for more insights into the creative process behind this remarkable project!"
  • David Bruce Lee + Marina Bourderonnet - FAME Architects

    David Bruce Lee and Marina Bourderonnet are the founding partners of FAME Architecture & Design, each boasting 12 years of professional experience in architecture and design. David is a Registered Architect in California, Nevada, Florida, and New York, and holds a Master of Urban Design from City College of New York, along with a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he also studied sustainable environments and music and architecture at Les Ecoles d'Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, France.Marina, also a Registered Architect in New York, graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris Val-de-Seine. She has additional training in sculpture, life drawing, art history, and film photography, contributing to her expertise in interior design and LEED projects.Together, they host The Second Studio Design and Architecture Show™, a leading podcast featuring interviews and discussions on architectural topics. Their portfolio spans dream homes and luxury high-rises across five continents, with accolades including display at the Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of the City of New York, and multiple national and international competition awards.Their notable projects include a first place-winning housing tower in Mexico City and a Brooklyn Community Center that received an honourable mention. Both David and Marina are active in academia and professional circles, teaching and speaking widely on architecture and design.
  • Crafting Homes with Heart and Style - Danielle Scandrett

    Danielle is a seasoned professional with over two decades of national experience in curating exquisite residential designs. Originally hailing from Melbourne, she recently made the Sunshine Coast her home, where she now leads her boutique Interior Design Studio nestled in the serene setting of Coolum Beach. Throughout her illustrious career, Danielle has lent her expertise to a diverse array of high-end residential and commercial projects. Her forte lies in providing clients with a bespoke service, seamlessly integrating their visions into tangible realities that exceed expectations. Specializing in crafting homes that epitomize intentionality, wellbeing, and balance, Danielle's design philosophy perfectly resonates with individuals seeking a harmonious living environment. Her interiors are renowned for their impeccable quality, a testament to her extensive knowledge and fruitful collaborations with artisans and suppliers cultivated over the years. Danielle's commitment to the design community extends beyond her studio walls. As a former Council Member representing Interior Decoration & Design for the Vic/Tas Branch of the Design Institute of Australia, she played a pivotal role in fostering talent and innovation within the industry. Her dedication was further exemplified through her tenure as Convenor and Judge for the prestigious Graduate of Year Awards in 2015 and 2016. Recognized as a luminary in her field, Danielle's work has graced the pages of esteemed publications such as Luxury Home Design and Design & Decoration. Her insights into the world of design were also showcased in a "Meet the Designers" feature for Grand Designs Magazine. Additionally, Danielle's talent garnered international recognition when she was invited to submit her work to the esteemed Andrew Martin Interior Design Review. With a passion for creating spaces that transcend mere functionality and evolve into cherished sanctuaries, Danielle continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of interior design, one impeccably curated space at a time
  • Retro Revolution: Cafe Racer Innovators Revive '60s Charm - Ben Taylor + Steve Payne

    Beachman: From Dream to RealityOn this TALKdesign Episode, Ben Taylor and Steve Payne from Beachman share their inspiring entrepreneurial journey. Founded in 2016, Beachman Life began with Ben's vision for retro-inspired products. In 2019, he joined forces with Steve, a motorcycle mechanic, to create electric mopeds that combine accessibility with modern appeal. The idea was inspired by vintage designs and a passion for stylish, high-quality bikes. Ben's marketing and design expertise, coupled with Steve's technical skills, led to the creation of Beachman's first production bikes.They quickly moved from concept to prototype, showcasing their shared willingness to take risks. Steve built the initial prototype from a Kawasaki frame, and they collaborated with a factory in China to refine the design. Despite challenges like design theft, they focused on innovation and rapid production. Their initial risk, funded by Steve’s home mortgage line of credit, paid off when they quickly sold their first 30 bikes, leading to a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.Beachman faced significant challenges, such as supply chain disruptions, but persevered, expanding into a larger warehouse. Their commitment to authenticity and brand values remains steadfast, ensuring each new product aligns with their vision of a life well lived. Future plans include expanding into North America and Europe, and developing unique lifestyle accessories and electric car conversions, all while maintaining their core ethos.Tune in for a fascinating episode with Ben Taylor & Steve Payne.