Special/Signature Issues » 2015 Top 40 Under 40

Shane Burnette, 36: Co-Founder and Partner at Perkinson Homes


The home-building market has been dicey since the 2008 crash, but a few far-sighted contractors have managed to target their work so well that they’re prospering. One of them is Shane that cost from $400,000 to $700,000.

Burnette’s business savvy, along with conservative attitudes about debt, have gotten the attention of The Wall Street Journal, which outlined his philosophies in a column that pairs business people with a professional offering financial advice.

“He is virtually debt-free except for his mortgage,” the newspaper reported. Even the mortgage will soon be history thanks to Burnette’s financial strategy of paying down the principal so fast he’ll own the home in five years.

This is pretty heady stuff for the Roanoke native, who moved to Chesterfield County when he was 5. He went to L.C. Bird High School and Bridgewater College, where he played basketball.

He learned the home-building business at 13, working at James River Exteriors, founded by his mother and stepfather. He’s now vice president of that company, in addition to his position at Perkinson.

Burnette is a supporter of sports programs for youth, including Team Richmond AAU Basketball. But his biggest philanthropy project so far, naturally, involves building.

“We wanted to help the Massey Cancer Center,” he says, “and the idea came up to build a house and sell it at cost with the proceeds going to the center.” Perkinson built a four-bedroom house at Hallsley, a new luxury subdivision in Midlothian, as part of Massey’s Street of Hope designer-house event.

His company provided free labor. “The home is under contract for $630,000 and we expect that $100,000 will go to Massey, says Burnette, who hopes to do similar projects in the future. “At some point in your life,” he says, “cancer is going to touch you.”

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