Paul Shoopman, president of Shoopman Homes, is celebrating his 50th year in the homebuilding business in 2021, making him the longest-serving and most prolific independent home builder in central Indiana.
With the help of his father as a loan co-signer, Shoopman purchased his first plot of land in Center Grove, Ind., in 1971, shortly after graduating from Manual High School in Indianapolis. Paul was working at the time pouring concrete for Ryan Homes, so he spent his evenings and weekends building his first house. He finished the modest single-story ranch home with a stone exterior later that year. The home sold soon after construction for $34,000. Paul took the proceeds and bought another lot and began building again — and his half-century journey in Hoosier homebuilding had begun.
“I feel like I have a lot of expertise that I still want to share after 50 years,” Shoopman says. “I’ve always loved construction, the smell of wood, the smell of paint and getting out into the field. Building houses is not easy. It is hard, tiring work. But I love it. Each project is a new challenge. But construction is in my blood. “
During Shoopman’s career, he has headed multiple companies, including Dura Builders, Inc., and Shoopman Homes, and a slew of sub-companies related to the industry. Shoopman successfully managed to thrive through a series of booms and busts by constantly innovating his homebuilding strategies. His companies were the first in the region to adopt energy-efficiency techniques, including the blower door test, exterior DOW Styrofoam insulation, and special sealing around pipes and outlets. Shoopman also perfected framing processes by opening up one of the first builder panel and truss manufacturing centers in the area. His commitment to efficiency and quality helped him earn a reputation as a builder who makes homes that last.
“Being at the forefront of innovative homebuilding definitely helped me become successful,” Shoopman says. “From the start, I was always looking for ways to do things better and to build homes in a better way. I’ve had plenty of time to perfect that. Also, even in hard times, I just never quit. Sometimes I think that was the most important thing.”
Shoopman’s companies have been ranked as the most prolific builder in the state in three separate years, beating out several national building companies. Shoopman also has been recognized as the top membership recruiter for the local and national homebuilding associations. A parade of industry and community accolades followed Shoopman’s success. His companies have earned the 2-10 Homeowners Warranty Corp’s Diamond Builder Award — the only Hoosier to have achieved this honor. Shoopman also has collected awards from the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis and the Indiana Builders Association, including Builder of the Year, Mike Boehke Award, and John C. Hart Award. His commitment to customer service and an array of philanthropic contributions in the community has been recognized with the Indiana Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award and the Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest civic honor.
Throughout his career, Shoopman, his wife, and his companies have been generous supporters of a range of charities and community organizations. Shoopman donated land and constructed the Lassie League softball park in Center Grove and provided financial and material support for local schools, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, area churches and Christian ministries, St. Mary’s Child Center, Ronald McDonald House, St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, and many more.
As Shoopman kicks off his half-century anniversary, he is still hard at work. His latest project is Waterfront of West Clay in Carmel, Ind., a new, exclusive gated community that features a huge lake and large stretches of green space. Shoopman purchased the land in 1990 and built his own home there. Now, he’s sharing the beauty of the place with others by developing more than 90 lots that will house single- and multi-story luxury homes.
Shoopman still personally inspects each home building site and personally signs off on the work before the keys are handed over to the new owners. He has logged more than 2 million construction site visits in his career.
Shoopman has faced plenty of tough times in the past, and he knows more are likely to come. Most recently, the Covid-19 crisis shut down a previously strong run for Indiana’s housing industry. But like other challenging times, Shoopman knows his company will endure. He has already sold 36 homes in the Waterfront development so far, and he feels confident the community will continue to thrive.
“When things get tough, some builders will just hand the keys to the bank and walk away. They will stop paying their contractors and tell their customers ‘Sorry’. But as my dad would tell me, you have to finish things you started. To just give it up like that — I’m just not built that way.”