BrightLeaf’s Origin Story
BrightLeaf was founded in 2008 by Scott Sanders whose lifelong dream was to be a home builder. After graduating college with a degree in construction management, he embarked upon a career in production homebuilding and worked his way up as one of the top Project Managers for one of the Nation’s largest homebuilders.
As the years passed, Scott became disheartened with the negative impact this approach to homebuilding was having not only on the environment, but on the people that were going to be living in the homes he built. These negative impacts included a poor building experience for the client with very little connection to the builder, poor quality houses with poor design, and a focus on profit instead of the actual product being put out. On top of these factors, the homes were predominantly being built far from transit corridors and metropolitan areas and contributed to the adverse environmental impact of urban sprawl.
As a lifelong sustainability enthusiast, Scott made the decision that if he really wanted to make the impact on housing he dreamed of, he would have to do it his way. He left his project management position, moved back to Chicago, and started up his own company that would do it better than home builders had before – thus BrightLeaf was born.
BrightLeaf was built on the foundation of designing and constructing better homes that would last longer, use less energy, and nourish those who live in them through the diligent application of building science. On top of providing a better product, Scott knew it was critical to also provide a memorable experience where clients could actually enjoy the journey of getting into their dream home, while also cultivating a strong relationship with their home builder that they could trust would really deliver for them and would take care of them long beyond the key handoff.
A few years after BrightLeaf’s inception, after being featured together on an episode of DIY’s ‘Kitchen Crashers’ and collaborating on a few projects, Scott brought on brothers Rick and Alex Thompson who had been successfully running their own green construction firm to fortify his one-man army with their combined construction, building science, and real estate skills.
From there, the number of BrightLeaf homes being built and remodeled steadily grew throughout the Chicagoland area, as did the staff of high-performance professionals that were brought in to continue carrying out the organization’s mission of ‘Changing the way people live through innovation’ and upholding BrightLeaf’s Core Values. Ranked #711 on Inc. 5000, the BrightLeaf team now includes expert real estate agents, project managers, interior designers, an in-house architect, and more to truly provide a fully integrated solution to help families get into the perfect home.