The Dragas Companies, 50 years
Founded: 1968 by George Dragas as the Dragas Mortgage Company. George was a first generation American and son of Greek immigrants who believed homeownership underpinned the American dream. Just three years later, he founded a homebuilding company and soon invited his brother, Mark, to join his efforts. Today, nearly 7,000 families in Hampton Roads live in a neighborhood designed and constructed by The Dragas Companies.
Headquarters: 4538 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach
Current owners: Helen Dragas and siblings
Milestones: Dragas became a woman-owned business in 1996 when Helen Dragas was named president and CEO. In 2007, Dragas donated $1.5 million to help regional cities address family homelessness. In 2009, Dragas was named America’s Best Builder for its strategic and operational excellence.
Obstacles overcome: The Dragas Companies thrived throughout the deep 2008 housing recession by eschewing debt and staying true to its core business model: building beautiful neighborhoods and quality homes at price points citizens could afford. In 2009, thousands of American homes were found to contain contaminated Chinese drywall. Dragas was one of few builders in the country to relocate homeowners while completely rebuilding 78 affected homes. Doing the right thing for homeowners is one reason Dragas has stood the test of time.
Keys to longevity: “We remain loyal to our core values of integrity, excellence and commitment to our community,” Helen Dragas said. “Founded on the idea that owning a quality home was part of the American dream, we elevate that dream by creating neighborhoods of enduring beauty. And while we build communities, first and foremost we consider ourselves as vested citizens responsible for giving back and uplifting our most vulnerable neighbors. We recognize our responsibility to the community that has welcomed us for 50 years. Our company endures because we stay true to this higher purpose.”
What’s next: The Dragas Companies is celebrating its 50th anniversary by giving back to Hampton Roads nonprofits throughout 2018 and looks forward to another half century of building larger, mixed-use communities that enhance Hampton Roads.
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