America was built on strong families. The American Grade founders are a prime example. Dynamic brother-sister team Vince Kimbel and Kelly Kimbel Doyle founded American Grade with a vision and mission to improve the American economy, instill faith in American products and services, and create a groundswell of pride in being an American Grade Steward.
In 1998, Vince Kimbel started Kimbel Construction, a custom home building and remodeling business in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Vince wanted a niche to set himself and his business apart from the other homebuilders in the area and saw an early opportunity to partner with a new EPA-sponsored program called the ENERGYSTAR™ Homes Program.
In 1999, Vince built the first ENERGYSTAR custom-built home in Kentucky, and the decades that followed, produced many other energy efficient designs that earned Vince the title “Louisville's Original ENERGYSTAR Builder”.
In 2002, Vince's sister, Kelly Kimbel Doyle, joined Kimbel Construction to manage the office, while Vince focused on supervising the construction projects. Kelly learned quickly that her attention to detail and multi-tasking, paired with their close relationship, made this brother-sister team click with clients.
The story that changed everything
In 2011, Vince saw a news story that changed his trajectory. A feature by ABC-TV veteran journalist Diane Sawyer about another builder building a home out of 100% American-made materials fascinated Vince. After leading the charge to build energy-efficient homes for 12 years, Vince saw a new opportunity to not only create a niche in the homebuilding market by building American made homes, but to help the American economy at the same time. Building a "Made In America Home" was the natural thing to do, and in 2012, he found the right client who shared his same ideals. Together, they started construction on the first “Made in America Home” in Louisville, Kentucky.
If only Vince knew what he was getting himself and Kelly into! Building an American made home was tougher than you think, and with no roadmap on how to do it, Vince and Kelly spent months researching products to use in the home. They received a lot of support from both local contractors and national manufacturers, including Charmaine, with Bemis Church Manufacturing in Wisconsin who said, "I must say, I admire the fact that you are using all Made in America products."
Ben Robertson with Premier Outdoor Spaces in Louisville told them, "I have been thinking about your build with American initiative, and I really think it is excellent. There really needs to be more people like you, so thank you for stepping up and leading the industry."
Everyone they discussed the project with loved what Kimbel Construction was doing and helped find the products needed to build the home. It was a huge undertaking and learning experience. Vince and Kelly accomplished their goals - educating the industry about American Made building product options; educating consumers about Made in America homes; and most importantly, constructing a home that was over 90% American made!
What American Made means to the economy
Considering most new homes are between 40-60% American made, this one 90% American made home made an impact on the economy by adding somewhere between $280,000-$420,000 worth of American made building products into the home. Vince and Kelly wondered, “Just think what that could do for the economy if every builder in the country did this?”
They went to the extreme to get the American content percentage as high as possible, but according to the Boston Consulting Group (2011), if every builder bought just 5% more American Made building materials, it could create 220,000 new jobs - an amazing statistic! Vince and Kelly's client was wowed by their new American home, and said it was “the best home they have ever lived in” and added they could see the quality difference. Not every new home buyer can say that!
The birth of American Grade
When the Made in America home was finished in 2013, Vince and Kelly realized they had a new passion. Groundwork was laid for the genesis of American Grade, as a new business that could help builders across the country build American made homes. As the idea grew, their plans expanded to also help individuals and businesses in every industry buy, sell, and specify American products and services whenever possible. In 2015 American Grade was established and plans to create a useful and specialized Search Engine were started.
Their mission continues to evolve and they've never lost focus on exactly what they've needed to do to change the culture of America and strengthen the American economy! The seeds of their efforts are still being sewn and with the American people's support, their dreams and hopes for a better America will come to fruition.