Kurt Dinnes, Not Your Ordinary Contractor

Kurt Dinnes is not just another Builder, he creates places that you are proud to call home. The last home that he built was a high-tech Showcase Home in Oklahoma City. It sold for just under $500,000 and all the proceeds went to charity.

Kurt is one of the Managing Partners of Sun Contracting, a construction company that began in the early 90’s. Kurt is also the President of Taco Mayo, which is a chain of contemporary Tex-Mex restaurants spread out across the south central region of the US. He and Randy Earhart, the other Managing Partner, began Sun Construction to accommodate the needs of their burgeoning restaurant business. With 88+ restaurants spread across the south central US since 1978, in-house construction and remodeling of many of these became a necessity. They found that they could manage the construction more economically and efficiently if they acted as the general contractors. With a successful business model implemented, other people were soon requesting their services.

A member of the Oklahoma City Homebuilders Association, Kurt takes his contribution to the community to heart. Part of the Taco Mayo mission statement reflects this: “Recognizing that success does not come easily, especially for individuals in less fortunate circumstances, we take very seriously our responsibilities to the communities that have been so good to us.” Sun Contracting was honored to participate in the SW HomeBuilders Association Showcase Home charity program. They donated all their fees in addition to helping to solicit vendors to donate furnishings, materials and high-tech appliances for the Showcase Home.

The 2007 Showcase home set a fundraising record. Over 70 vendors, manufacturers, craftspeople and artisans donated or heavily discounted their materials that went into the three bedroom, one outdoor living room house. “Normally, it would take at least a year to build this kind of home, instead of a little more than four months,” Dinnes said. “The subcontractors went way beyond the call of duty,” he said. All this in order to meet the Showcase of Homes deadline. The 3,500-Square-foot house includes a 700 square-foot game-theater room. “This is the room of rooms,” Dinnes said. The house also has many smaller elements that make a house a home, including a pot-filler faucet by the stove and six showerheads in the master shower. Dinnes said “the more sophisticated buyer will inquire about updated options for the bathroom, but he also likes educating other buyers about their shower selections. I love building people’s dream homes,” he said.

The profits from the house after the sale went to The Southwest Homes charity. This charity donates money to the local schools, YMCA, and houses for disabled children that they support. The Showcase Home was featured in Central OK Homes Magazine and drew over 2500 visitors. People from the area came to not only see the home but also to view the latest technology in the home building industry. The Showcase Home featured chiseled stone, rough cedar beams, scribed wood floors, high-tech appliances, low VOC lighting, house-wide surround sound, a built-in theater system, and an outdoor living room complete with fireplace. Steve Spitz, from “Better living with Steve Spitz”, a west coast design show, assisted with color choices and interior design for house.

Kurt is a people guy. It is apparent when you meet him. He is outgoing and friendly and at first introduction, makes you feel like you’ve known him since grade school. He loves to work with his clients, helping to solve their marketing and financing problems in the restaurant business as well as with home building solutions. His typical day consists of meetings with clients, employees and the members of his Taco Mayo team, listening to problems and coming up with solutions.

The most difficult challenges he comes across in the contracting business are managing expectations with subcontractors. Kurt has high standards. Like a superhero, he likes to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. With regards to deadlines and quality products, sometimes subcontractors do not see things the same way. Rather than see the glass as half-full though, Kurt always manages to see the cup as overflowing.

Kurt’s Four Favorite Tools

1. DeWalt Cordless impact drill

2. Paslode cartridge nailer

3. Makita 7-1/2″ Miter Saw

4. DeWalt Laser Leveler