Hive is a real estate development team located in Morden, MB. We are committed to designing and building beautiful and sustainable projects that will enhance our community while also providing ideal places to work, play and live. Hive is the parent company of Francis Family Homes, our custom home building business - for more info visit www.francisfamilyhomes.com.
JAMES FRANCIS, PRESIDENT
Hi I’m James Francis, Co-owner of Hive Development Group with my wife Heather. I have 4 awesome kids and 1 dog! We are a creative design build construction company and I’d like to tell you a bit about myself.
I grew up (for better or worse!) in Toronto, Ontario. In fact our house was right over the Bloor/Danforth subway line and after moving into the basement as a teen I was put to sleep every night by the sound of the subway cars rumbling underneath me. My parents wanted to move to the suburbs so many Sundays after church we would drive around the new subdivisions and tour model homes. I became infatuated with these tours and would keep the floor plans we collected so I could design my own houses. I’ve been doing this so long it feels like I could design a home in my sleep these days!
After leaving high school I decided to move to Manitoba to go to Providence College. That’s where I met the love of my life, Heather! I was able to get my Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and Psychology. I didn’t end up a psychologist but I feel I do get to use what I’ve learned in those classes every day as I deal with trades, employees and clients. Eventually my passion for design led me to go back to school. After finishing at Providence Heather and I decided to move to Winnipeg to pursue degrees from the University of Manitoba.
After 3 years I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design with an option in Architecture. In my classes we focused on interpreting a client’s needs in order to create unique and livable spaces. One of the issues I have with spec home building is that every house looks the same. My passion for designing unique homes and buildings for each client and site grew out of the seeds of this course.
After school I was hired at WBS Construction/Harval Homes as an estimator. My boss, Harv, figured if I could draw floor plans then I could read them and price them. I spent eight years with them learning how to price small to large construction jobs, from small homes to huge furniture stores and multifamily housing. During that time I noticed my clients needed quick designs for me to price so I began using my degree in Architecture in order to design projects for these customers. By the time I left WBS Construction I was a Project Manager of my own design build department, and was involved in the design, sales, estimating and managing of the projects. I got to design and build buildings like Winkler Home Furniture, Co-op@Home, the addition to Co-op food store in Winkler and the GVE John Deere dealership building on Highway 3; some of the largest projects in the area!
This got me to thinking. I am a one-stop-shop for design build in Southern Manitoba and I was doing it all for someone else’s company! Francis Family Homes and Hive Development Group were born.
At Francis Family homes and Hive Development Group, Heather and I get to lead the design and construction of many special and unique buildings in and around the City of Morden. We have been lucky to have some very cool customers who have helped grow our company from one or two homes a year to multiple residential and commercial jobs each year.
If you feel your family or business is looking for that special design you just can’t find in a plan book or from a lumber yard, then you need to contact us. I guarantee you will be happy you did.
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
Hi, I’m Heather Francis, co-owner of Hive Development Group. Let me tell you a little bit more about who I am, what I do and where I’m headed.
I am married to my husband James (over 22 years now!) and we have four amazing children who keep us young. I grew up in southern Manitoba (and I’m still here!) so I obviously have a love of prairie life. I decided that if winter lasts half the year then I had better learn to like it, so I took up cross-country skiing. It really does help get through winter when you have an activity to look forward to! In the summer I enjoy biking, kayaking and getting out for walks with our puppy.
Our family loves to travel. We will happily forego other luxuries in order to travel to different parts of the world. I really enjoy the way that travel can open your eyes to the diversity of planet earth. Our designs are often influenced by interesting designs and innovative construction techniques that we see in the places we visit.
I grew up as a pretty studious kid, and I took school very seriously (I graduated with the highest academic record in the province of Manitoba). Some may call me anal – I prefer to think of it as meticulous. My attention to detail serves me well in our company, as there are days when I juggle thousands of items and schedules over multiple checklists. I take pride in ensuring that construction progress on our clients’ homes are carefully scrutinized and tracked!
I have always had a passion for justice. It really gets me bothered when I see that something is not fair. That has led me to found and develop volunteer organizations - Many Hands (a community kitchen program) and the Morden chapter of Cycling Without Age (a program to help seniors better access the great outdoors). It is also what led me to run for election to the City of Morden Council, where I served as a Councillor for eight years. I thoroughly enjoyed representing my neighbours on Council and contributing to the future direction of our city, and in return that experience furthered my understanding of community planning best practices. This has allowed me to better navigate the building policies and bylaws in place, and ensure our clients’ projects will be favourably received.
The kids looking slightly exhausted...we had just reached the halfway point of an unexpectedly tough hike (3 hrs down, 3 hrs to go!)
As a mother, I am also a strong believer in doing things most efficiently and sustainably. James and I work side-by-side to design unique homes for our clients. My “mom-of-four” persona can detect a missing broom closet or an inefficient kitchen in the design a mile away! Our designs are stronger because we always envision how daily life will function in the footprint. I also strive to think about building ever more efficient buildings, with better use of natural resources and less waste. It is not only ourselves and our clients that we have to consider, but the condition of future generations as well.
In our company, I generally take care of the administrative tasks, accounting, marketing, and interior design (which is my favourite part)! I love working with clients to ensure that the plan is perfect for them, and that each product selection meets their budget and has the look that they want. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing happy clients moving into their perfect-for-them spaces. That is why I do what I do!
If you are looking for a company that can craft the unique, one-of-a-kind commercial building or home that you are dreaming of, give us a call. We would love to meet you, and show you how our family can help your family!