RODGER G. FORD
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Rodger appears in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs Magazine
Rodger G. Ford
In the world of business, there are those who make an impact, and then there are those who redefine industries. Rodger G. Ford, an octogenarian with an indomitable spirit, falls firmly into the latter category. As the CEO of FrameUpNow and co-founder and managing partner of Anthem Equity Group, Inc., Rodger's journey is a testament to the power of vision, resilience, and the importance of strong foundations—both in homes and in life.
Rodger's remarkable journey began with an education rooted in finance and accounting, with a BS from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from the University of Arizona. Little did he know that his passion for numbers would lay the groundwork for a career characterized by innovation, leadership, and the ability to ‘build from the ground up.’
In 1970, Rodger’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited when he founded AlphaGraphics, Printshops of The Future, a venture that grew from its humble beginnings into a global phenomenon with 400 locations across 20 countries by 1988. It was here that Rodger's knack for building strong business foundations first shone through, setting the stage for a string of future successes. Not one to rest on a single success, Rodger also co-founded PetsHotel, an upscale haven for dogs and cats that revolutionized the pet boarding industry. In 2000, PetSmart recognized the value of his creation and acquired PetsHotel, showcasing Rodger’s ability to turn innovative concepts into thriving businesses. Yet, some of Rodger's most significant contributions would be in the realm of medical technology.
Rodger’s medical device leadership began at SynCardia, where he served as CEO from 2005 to 2011. Under his guidance, SynCardia achieved groundbreaking milestones in artificial heart technology, including the development of two new driver systems for powering the Total Artificial Heart. Rodger's relentless pursuit of excellence also led him to secure the capital needed to develop and launch the Freedom portable driver, the world's first wearable power supply for the Total Artificial Heart. In addition, his leadership brought modern and effective business systems to SynCardia, such as the MasterControl quality management system software, later endorsed by the FDA. One key aspect of Rodger’s transformational leadership at SynCardia was assembling an experienced management team that metamorphosed the company from a "science project" into a celebrated bioscience pioneer. His ability to cultivate talent and build strong organizational frameworks once again emphasized the significance of a solid foundation, a principle that would continue to guide him in future endeavors.
In December 2022, Rodger co-founded FrameUpNow, a company that has become the very embodiment of his lifelong dedication to strong foundations. Located in Tucson, Arizona, FrameUpNow offers design services to engineer cold-formed steel frames, commonly referred to as "skeletons." Their catalog boasts hundreds of unique home designs, ranging from small workshops to expansive Barndominiums exceeding 8,000 square feet of living and barn space under one roof. Together with co-founder, Brad Cooper, Rodger's vision for FrameUpNow has redefined home building, making elegant and efficient designs accessible to DIY enthusiasts, residential builders, and production builders across America.
At the age of 80, Rodger G. Ford continues to inspire and lead. We spoke with him about his latest venture, FrameUpNow, and how it is redefining the building landscape, enabling almost anyone to build and own a home they can be proud of.
Rodger, what sets FrameUpNow apart and makes it stand out in a world filled with traditional wood frame homes?
Well, there's nothing quite like us out there. When it comes to the choice between metal skeletons and the conventional wood frames, we're bringing something entirely new to America's doorstep. It's a bit like introducing a touch of magic to home construction! What really makes us unique is our ability to blend cutting-edge design and engineering expertise. We can whip up a custom-engineered plan for our customers in a mere 48 hours from the moment they send in their request. It's like having your dream home blueprint delivered in the time it takes to binge-watch a season of your favorite TV show. Fast, efficient, and enduring– that's our secret sauce!
Can you share with us how your software, NAPKINCAD, aligns with FrameUpNow's design services, and how it's making DIY home building in America more accessible?
NAPKINCAD is a bit like capturing the excitement of making a big deal on the back of a napkin and turning it into reality for aspiring home builders. Folks can hop onto our website, grab the NAPKINCAD instructions, and embark on a journey to design their dream home. They get to play architect, creating everything from the elevation to the walls and floor plan. But here's where the fun truly begins – they can toss in some inspirational photos of things they love. Now, we take all of that creativity, wave our magic engineering wand, and voilà! In just a couple of days, they receive a fully engineered plan ready to bring their dream home to life. We're not just building homes; we're building excitement and empowering people to create their own cozy havens with ease. So, if you've ever dreamt of designing your perfect home with the simplicity of sketching on a napkin, NAPKINCAD is here to revolutionize your DIY home-building journey in the most fun and accessible way possible!
How is FrameUpNow revolutionizing the home building experience, making it easier and more accessible for a wide range of builders?
Picture this: you've decided to go the cold-formed steel and metal route for your dream home, and you've placed an order with FrameUpNow. What happens next is like the ultimate DIY dream come true. Your package arrives, complete with a truck loaded with all the essentials. It's like receiving a home-building treasure chest, ready to turn your vision into reality. You've got the skeleton of your home, and from there, the rest becomes a piece of cake. It's like having a recipe for lifelong happiness delivered to your doorstep. We've cracked the code and created a way for a diverse group of home builders to erect an elegant home in record time without breaking the bank or compromising on their dream. Imagine too, bypassing the hassle of dealing with overpriced contractors who might take ages to even start your project. That's not all; it's your vision, your timeline, and your budget, all under your control. And here's the kicker – nobody else in the U.S. is doing it quite like us. We're not just building homes; we're creating a revolution in home building that puts the power back in your hands.
What are Accessory Dwelling Units?
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Affordable Homes are synonymous terms. They are small, reasonably priced structures built on the same lot as a primary dwelling. Recognizing the housing crisis, jurisdictions throughout America have made provisions for ADUs to be legally added to private properties, which people are taking full advantage of. It is a practical and sustainable solution that continues to gain popularity, especially in urban areas where housing challenges are predominant. With rising interest rates and the mounting costs of essential building supplies and land, ADUs facilitate people’s housing goals while avoiding the most challenging and insurmountable obstacles associated with conventional methods. For young couples who are just starting to build a family, or even older couples who move in with their children, ADUs offer all of the benefits of homeownership without the inflated costs, construction delays, and funding rejections.
What role does FrameUpNow play in serving the ADU and affordable home market?
FrameUpNow provides Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. The engineered skeleton, or frame, is delivered ready to erect. A bill of materials (BOM) from Home Depot recommends the balance of what is needed. The skeleton can be erected in just a few days and from there, a DIYer can easily complete the project.
Is the DIY market large?
The DIY world is exploding! According to Statista Market Research, the DIY industry was valued at $457 billion in 2020. According to Yahoo, the market is expected to grow to $624 billion by the end of 2026. Thanks to Home Depot, YouTube, and other modern tools and solutions, people are DIYing more than ever before, and yet, industry leaders say we haven't even begun to scratch the surface.
What size are FrameUpNow ADUs and what do they cost?
FrameUpNow provides a perfectly engineered, cold formed steel skeleton/frame in sizes ranging from 384 square feet to 1200 square feet. The cost of our ADUs ranges from $6,800 to $32,000. In comparison, the Nevada-based Boxabl, which Elon Musk invested in, delivers a 600 square foot, turnkey ADU by crane for $220,000. Stack Homes of Salt Lake City offers their Ridgeline, a well-appointed 650 square foot modular one bedroom/one bath unit for $245,000. Essentially, a buyer can get a FrameUpNow ADU skeleton that is comparable in size to a Boxabl or Stack Homes model for about 85% less.
Can a DIYer erect the FrameUpNow skeleton easily?
Yes. FrameUpNow offers an array of ADU skeletons, each of which can be easily assembled in just a few days by an individual with the help of a few friends or family. Contractors can also build ADUs with ease because the panels and trusses are shipped ready-to-erect, so they don’t need to allocate a lot of labor resources to the project. Compared to the Boxabl or Stack Home alternatives, the FrameUpNow solution saves the buyer hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, our 1194 square foot Sandiego ADU sells for just over $29 thousand, saving the buyer well over $100 thousand, compared to the Boxabl or Stack Home models. And, never skimp on elegance. The homeowner can add their finishing touches and be in their new ADU within a few months. For those who have funds in excess of the FrameUpNow ADU cost, they can simply enjoy their savings, or use them on important things such as their children’s education. For those who just want an affordable option, the FrameUpNow ADU is a cost they can manage.
You have a unique perspective on achieving success. Could you please share it with us?
In my journey, I've observed that many talk about their goals, but only a few take the initial steps. Among those who start, only a handful persevere. And among those rare few who persist, only a fraction do so with the same enthusiasm and spirit that ignited their vision in the first place. You have to be constant. Keep your head down and plow through.
Rodger G. Ford