Real Estate

A Woman Becoming One Of The Few Presidents Of A Major Construction Company

Christina Lindal formerly the executive vice president of Lindal Cedar Homes took over the role of President, September 1, 2022, from her father Bob Lindal, a second generation leader of the company.

Christina Lindal has a long history with Lindal. She joined the company shortly after graduating from Scripps College in Claremont, CA, with a degree in molecular biology. She spent the next 15 years working in various positions at the company to become familiar with all aspects of the business. “When I first started, I spent a few weeks in every department, including marketing, accounting, sales, and manufacturing,” she said. After several years in customer service and inside sales, she was promoted to sales manager, then vice president, and has served as executive vice president since 2018.

Her father, Bob Lindal, a second generation leader at Lindal, says “I have full confidence in Christina’s experience and ability to lead Lindal successfully into the future.” And according to Sig Benson, a former vice president of marketing at the company who now sits on the board of directors, “I’m pleased that Christina is stepping into the role of president. The Lindal family of dealers, clients and employees will benefit from her hard work and this well-deserved promotion.”

Christina represents the third generation – and the first woman – to assume leadership of the family-owned company. The construction and manufacturing industry has one of the lowest percentages of women in top positions, with fewer than 3% of female CEOs globally. Lindal emphasized that she hasn’t allowed her gender to hold her back in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Because of my writing and research about prefab construction, I have had the opportunity to see the wonderful growth of this kit house company over the years. I had the opportunity to interview Christina about her past, current and future plans for this company.

SK – What prepared you to take on this new role at Lindal?

CL – Numerous experiences, responsibilities, and immersion in the company throughout my entire life. However, I believe one of the most important and transformative experiences was the one-on-one work with clients and dealers as national sales manager. Going on the road to work alongside our dealers and meet face-to-face with the clients was highly educational and rewarding.

Also, working alongside my grandfather (Lindal Cedar Homes founder Sir Walter Lindal) and father for nearly my entire Lindal tenure was an incredible lesson that I could not have learned anywhere else, nor could be duplicated.

SK – Looking back to your early days (even childhood), is there an event/moment you remember that first sparked your interest in joining the company business?

CL – Very honestly, I was not pressured by my family to join the family business, although from a very early age I was involved in various aspects, from working the mailroom and filing to social events with our dealers throughout the year. Many of our dealers remember me from when I was very young. They are a part of the Lindal family.

I have one solid memory from when I started at Lindal “officially”. I worked at the Burlington manufacturing plant in customer service for our window department. I constantly talked with dealers, clients, and staff, and I enjoyed it. I had just graduated with a molecular biology degree, where I spent most of my time in the research lab by myself doing similar things repeatedly. Every day in customer service, there was something new. A new problem to solve. A new thing to learn. A new person to meet. I found I enjoyed that, and it is something I still do every day in my current job. I am always problem-solving, learning new things, and meeting new people.

SK – What do you see as the place for prefab/system-built homes in the U.S.? How do you think the role of prefab is changing/has changed over time?

CL – Because of the spectrum that is prefab housing, I can’t think of a place in the US where prefab or systems-built homes would not be beneficial. Prefab housing started in the US to quickly build homes after the war and accomplished that goal very well. It can still accomplish that goal in areas where housing is in high demand. However, prefab can also be an answer to many other roadblocks in custom home building, like labor, building material supply and quality, location access, and more. I think this is why there are so many prefab options now. With this explosion in options, it feels good to be leading a company that has been doing it and perfecting it for over 75 years.

We have accommodated and adjusted to clients’ changing style trends and lifestyles many times. But also, and not as obvious, are the adaptations we’ve made due to vastly different and constantly changing building codes. Although not all of our clients are building in areas with complex and difficult building codes and requirements, we do strive to ensure all our homes are designed to exceed the local codes, especially when it comes to energy efficiency. I believe this is why NAHB (the National Association of Home Builders) chose Lindal to be the systems built green building standard.

SK – What do you think is the secret to Lindal’s longevity in the business?

CL – A brand name does not keep a company going for over 77 years. There are many examples of that in the world. I believe a big part of our longevity has been the desire and actions that many in the building industry find hard to replicate. We offer a lifetime structural warranty that no one else in the industry offers. We guarantee quality and quantity. And we support all of this with industry-leading customer service. Especially right now, with some extreme challenges in building a home due to supply chain and other issues, we are going above and beyond to get our clients their homes while still meeting our rigorous quality standards.

SK – What are your future plans for moving the company forward and keeping it competitive?

CL – Staying on top of design trends and client lifestyle changes – especially post-pandemic – along with changing building codes will continue to be a massive priority for us. Many clients are looking to maximize living in smaller spaces. Lindal is well suited for this challenge as our building system lends itself to open floor plans and multi-use spaces.

We also plan to expand and streamline our quick ship program – which consists of homes already drawn to the final permit stage that can be modified to a degree, but ship much faster than more custom homes. There is a lot of demand for quick design and shipping, and we are in a unique position to capture this opportunity as we have thousands of home plans already available to our clients. This puts us ahead of many local builders and prefab companies with limited plans and previous projects to choose from.

Lindal was founded in 1945 by Sir Walter Lindal, as a manufacturer of premium quality custom post-and-beam home packages, delivered to clients’ build sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in Seattle, WA and operates in the U.S., Canada, and internationally through a network of local independent distributors.