Building the Lowcountry


The Lowcountry’s most talented builders and designers were recognized at the annual LightHouse Awards gala on Nov. 8 at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island. 

More than 300 area building professionals attended the ceremony, presented by the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association and supported by title sponsor BB&T Home Mortgage.

“The LightHouse Awards are truly like the Academy Awards for our local building industry,” said Dan Monroe, chairman of the LightHouse Awards program since its inception. “It gives builders and designers the opportunity to be recognized for the hard work, talent and vision.”

The awards, which previously focused on residential construction, included light commercial projects this year. 

An award for excellence in community service also was new. The Joseph C. Harden Community Excellence Award went to Fraser Construction for its long-time commitment to serving the Lowcountry.

Architects and interior designers also were recognized, as were sales and marketing professionals.

The LightHouse Awards have been presented annually for the past 20 years to qualified members of the association for projects throughout the Lowcountry.

This year's competition drew the most entries ever. Thirty-five companies— including remodelers, custom, and semi-custom builders— submitted 82 entries. In addition, eight firms submitted 28 interior and architectural design projects, for a total of 110 qualifying projects.

Entries are categorized based on the project’s cost and square footage. The costs of this year’s remodeling projects and new construction ranged from $50,000 to more than $5 million. 

Twelve judges representing builders, remodelers, architects and other industry professionals came to the Lowcountry from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida in mid-September to inspect each entry’s construction quality. The judges spent two and a half days visiting entries from Hilton Head Island to Fripp Island to Ridgeland.

Additional judges — all construction or real estate sales and marketing professionals — were enlisted to rank sales and marketing entries. In many instances, the separation between runner-up and winner was a fraction of a point.

Master of ceremonies Monty Jett announced the winners and presented the marble obelisk awards that resemble a lighthouse. 

“For many of these builders, after spending 12 to 15 months or longer working on a project, where even the smallest detail could impact the overall outcome, the LightHouse Awards symbolize one of the highest career honors,” Monroe said. 



Led by Monroe, the 2019 LightHouse Awards Committee included Chris Cleland, Courtney Jansen, Deborah Karambelas, Bryan Mudrak, Carol Rodkin, Brian Edwards, Victoria Basirico, Lisa Henry, Michal Anderson, Caitlin Reardon; Katy Carbajal, Jay Fraser, Dan Mitchell, Rob Kaufman, Will McKown, Kevin Paige and Majka Mochnac.

In addition to Title Sponsor BB&T Home Mortgage, other sponsors included Cleland Site Prep, Distinctive Granite and Marble, Ferguson Enterprises, More Space Place, Hilton Head Monthly, James Hardie Building Products, LowCountry Home Magazine, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, Kaufman Photography, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Inc. and The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette.