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Meet The Team

become part of

The Family

When it comes to your new home, the single most special place in your life, you don’t just need an excellent team that’s great at what they do; you need a team that loves what they do. At our core, we’re a diverse group of passionate people who work toward one mission: to make your dreams come true. But this isn’t just a job — it’s a calling, a passion, a purpose. Take a look at who we are and why we truly love what we do!

Meet Our Team

Chris Helmes


Chris began working in the construction industry in 1978 as a subcontractor. He became a licensed builder in 1988, and with his father founded New Tradition Homes in 1987. In the early years of the company he wore many hats. His areas of responsibility included job superintendent, finance, dealing with jurisdictional reviews, permits and plot maps. For the next ten years he was also responsible for selling new homes. This diversity of experience in all areas of operations and management led to his promotion to President of New Tradition Homes. Since that time, New Tradition Homes has grown to be the #1 homebuilder in Southwest Washington.

Kelly Helmes

Vice President

Kelly began work in the industry as a subcontractor, but was quickly drawn into the family business when it began in 1987. Kelly began working in the field, then moved up to supervisor, and eventually worked in the warranty, purchasing and marketing departments. In 1993 Alvar sold his share of ownership to his sons, and since that time Kelly has been instrumental in operations, marketing and design.

Wendy Lepisto

Chief Financial Officer

Wendy has over 25 years of financial experience, including the last 15 years working with residential home builders of various sizes. Her responsibilities have included day-to-day leadership of the accounting department, cash flow management, budgeting and human resource management. She has extensive experience in financial planning, reporting and analysis.

Mike Matson

Purchasing Manager

Mike brings over 30 years of ground-up residential construction experience to the team. Beginning as a general laborer and working up into management, there is not much of the building process Mike has not been directly involved in over the years, including 9 years on the supply side. His current responsibilities include managing the purchasing of supplies and labor, trade contracts, retail pricing, and estimating. Mike is a key advisor to the management team.

Naaman Hannu

Construction Manager

Naaman brings more than 25 years of experience to the NTH management team. His interest in the building industry began with his vocational building trades class in high school, which has never wavered. He worked in drywall and framing for a number of years, eventually being promoted to job superintendent. This background has provided NTH customers with the in-depth knowledge of a master builder, in addition to expertise in green building. He has received his 'Green Builder' certification, is a certified erosion and sediment control lead, and has taken Chuck Shinn training in 'Managing for Profit' and 'Front Line Manager.'

Gary Questad

Area Manager, Tri Cities Region

Gary brings over 30 years of construction to the team. In 2004 he came to New Tradition Homes as a Job Supervisor, and now manages operations for our Eastern Washington region. His responsibilities include working alongside the Sales, Construction, and Warranty teams. Gary is an active member of the Home Builders Association, has received his 'Green Builder' certification and has taken Chuck Shinn training in 'Managing for Profit' and 'Front Line Manager.'

Jarret Helmes

Pre-Construction and Design Manager

Like many of the Helmes' family members, Jarret began his career in the field. Jarret began working in the building industry during his high school years by working in the subcontractor trades. He then began working for New Tradition Homes during his senior year of high school, moving to a full-time position following high school graduation. He eventually moved into pre-construction and then was drawn into the design department. He has been with the company for the past 21 years, been promoted at least four times, and has attended numerous job-applicable training courses throughout the years.

Steve Tapio

Project Manager, Building Science Team Leader

Steve brings over 25 years experience in the building industry. He joined New Tradition Homes in 2003, managing the Warranty Dept. for 8 years. Today Steve is our Building Science Team Leader, acting as the Liaison for the ENERGY STAR® and Washington Built Green programs, to include the program providers, raters/verifiers, and outside building science consultants. Steve also manages quality control and purchasing related functions in our Eastern Washington area. He holds the Building Performance Institute (BPI) recognized ‘Building Science Master Certification' from Advanced Energy.

Gayle Pearrow

Designated Broker

Gayle has been involved in Clark County's real estate industry since 1983. She spent almost a decade working as a Limited Practice Officer/Escrow officer, until obtaining her real estate license and joining New Tradition Homes in 2004. When the company opened New Tradition Realty, she obtained her Designated Broker's license and was promoted, and continues to serve as an integral part of the New Tradition Homes management team.

Laura Hanson

Marketing Manager

Laura came to New Tradition Homes after beginning her marketing career at Nike. She has been with the company for 14 years, starting as a new home Sales Representative. Laura has been overseeing the Marketing Department for 12 years now with responsibilities including website management, branding, digital marketing, graphic design, promotions, events, TV and Radio. She also designs and merchandizes the Model Homes and Parade Homes in both regions.

Caleb Blanton

Warranty Manager

Caleb has over 17 years experience in the construction industry, and has been with New Tradition Homes for over 8 years now. He is responsible for all aspects and daily operations of the Warranty Department, including staffing, customer service requests, homeowner orientations, training and updating our outstanding warranty and policy procedures. Caleb is also a member of the Building Science Team at New Tradition Homes.

Jerai Laird

Design Studio Manager

Jerai has 15 years experience in the residential home building industry. She launched the first NT Design Studio as a Design Consultant 10 years ago, and today she manages and oversees all NT Design Studio operations. Her responsibilities include leading and managing a team of Design Coordinators, working with manufacturers, suppliers and trade partners to develop included features and design options, designs and coordinates all Designer and Model Homes. Jerai is passionate about delivering an exceptional design experience for our homeowners.

New Tradition Homes was such a pleasure to work with, it was an amazing experience building our first home with them. Every person we interacted with was knowledgeable and extremely friendly. We had a good balance between standard amenities and upgrades to fit our budget and make our home perfect for us. We highly recommend New Tradition Homes and would work with them again if we ever wanted to build again!

Rosa Grajczyk | Facebook