Pace Builder Edwin Henry Elected to Florida Housing Hall of Fame

Posted on November 4, 2021 by Staff reports

Edwin Henry is inducted into the Florida Housing Hall of Fame by Hall of Fame Chairman Tom Thornberry. Photo courtesy Home Builders Association of West Florida.

For a 38-year career devoted to providing affordable housing in Northwest Florida, Edwin Henry of Henry Company Homes in Pace has been elected to the prestigious Florida Housing Hall of Fame. With 77 members elected since 1990, the Hall of Fame salutes individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to the housing industry in Florida.

Henry was recently inducted at the Florida Home Builders Association’s Annual Fall Conference in Sarasota and became the second member of the Home Builders Association of West Florida (HBA) to be so honored, joining Jack McCombs of McCombs Electric in Pea Ridge, who was inducted 2011. Henry also joins people like former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham (whose work led to the creation of the Florida Housing Finance Agency), Orlando builder Bill Demetree (who conceived of the idea of Parades of Homes in the late 1950s), Tampa developer Matt Jetton (father of the master-planned community), and legendary home builders like Arthur Rutenberg, to name a few.
Henry has developed over 90 communities in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties, and built more than 12,000 homes with an emphasis on affordability, energy-efficiency, and construction quality. A winner of 49 Parade of Homes Awards, he was one of the area’s first builders to adopt sophisticated sales, marketing and customer service practices, which helped him remain successful even as national and regional builders entered Northwest Florida housing markets.

“When I first heard the news that Edwin Henry was elected to the Florida Housing Hall of Fame, it’s hard to describe the sense of pride I felt… both for Edwin and for our association. It’s truly heart-warming to see someone who has worked so hard for so long receive the recognition he so richly deserves,” said HBA Executive Director David Peaden. “On a personal note, Edwin is someone who I could call on anytime for anything. As an Executive Officer, selfless members like Edwin are worth their weight in gold. I know I speak for the Board of Directors, and all the members of the HBA in congratulating Edwin on this landmark achievement… and thanking him for his incredible legacy of service to our association and our industry.”

In addition to his legacy as one of the area’s most prolific home builders, Henry shined as an industry leader, serving as President of the HBA of West Florida in 1993 where he focused on working with local governments to streamline regulations that would drive up the cost of housing.

He served as President of the Florida Home Builders Association in 1999, where he was influential in the development and adoption of a statewide building code that protected people and property yet was generally free of excessive regulations that would have made it more difficult for builders to provide affordable housing.

“I’m truly humbled and honored to be a part of the Florida Housing Hall of Fame,” said Henry, who was surrounded by his family at the induction ceremony. “I give thanks to God, my wife, Susan, my family and the incredible team at Henry Company Homes for being a part of this incredible journey with me.”

Furthermore, with the homes built and the jobs he’s provided at Henry Company Homes, Edwin is proud to have mentored a number of successful local builders. “Some people look at that and question why I would be helping people who may someday compete against me,” says Edwin. “I never looked at it that way. You can’t keep someone with an entrepreneurial spirit from starting their own business. I am very proud to see people who worked for me go on do really well in our industry.”

“This is a great honor for Edwin, our association and our area of the state,” said HBA President Blaine Flynn of FlynnBuilt, Inc. “I had the privilege of working for Edwin early in my career and he taught me valuable lessons about running a building business. We are pleased that Edwin’s dedication to our industry has earned him this significant honor.”

Henry gave back to his community in a number of ways. He spearheaded numerous Habitat for Humanity projects – including a Blitz-Build home for a Tallahassee family that was built (after the foundation was pre-poured) on a single day by over 100 volunteers. His charitable support has benefitted youth baseball and soccer in Pace, Toys for Tots, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and the American Cancer Society.