Ron Waldner Signature Homes has, through years of dedicated design and on-the-job follow-through, set benchmarks by which Northern Black Hills homebuilders compare themselves. Mr. Waldner’s passion for ‘a better mousetrap’ has spilled into the realm of home construction where it has manifested in undulating walls, “floating” staircases, scribed joinery, and completely unique welded components. Signature Homes is recognized not only for its ‘outside the box’ approach to design, but for its team of top-notch craftsman whose low tolerance for error continues to create tight, cleanly built homes.
Ron Waldner’s childhood was spent on the rural prairies near Carpenter, South Dakota. He attended school in Willow Lake while his passion for design grew. Farm and shop class experiences with welding and fabrication provided creative outlets and problem-solving opportunities. After graduating high school in 1987 and a brief stint in a packing plant, Ron enrolled at Lake Area Votech in Watertown, SD in June of ’88. Ron is known among those close to him for his competitive spirit. This drive aided him in his pursuit of top honors….he had the highest GPA in the graduating class at 3.96. This degree in The Advanced Building Trades Program gave him new tools to take on design and construction problems.
Ron next moved to Desmet, SD where he went to work for Gordon Holland Construction. This was a position that, in addition to being enjoyable, brought valuable experience to enrich the trade knowledge acquired at Lake Area Votech.
In the spring of 1991 at the age of 21 (while still working full time as a foreman for G. Holland Const.), Ron started a small manufacturing business in his garage; Yankee Manufacturing. Through Yankee, Ron produced a small group of products he designed, built, and delivered. It was no shortage of determination or ingenuity that enabled him to come up with a straw chopper hinge kit for John Deere combines. He sold these products across North America after being featured in Farm Show Magazine.
In December of 1994 at age 25, he started his own construction business. The following summer he sold the rights to his hinge kits and shut down Yankee Mfg to focus on the construction business.
During the summer of 1996, Ron had the opportunity to build a show home for Enercept, Inc. (a national leader in structural insulated panels or ‘SIPs’) at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron, SD. Ron found working with the panels enjoyable, and gained valuable exposure. Two additional show homes were built for the state fair in ’97 and ’98.
In responding to a friend’s need to frame a cabin, Ron traveled to the Black Hills where he found the natural beauty, low humidity, and lack of mosquitoes too good to leave behind. For the next year he worked at developing a business on Terry Peak while still contracting jobs in Desmet. In August ’01, he finally moved to Lead. Since that time, Ron has built 20 custom homes (14 on Terry Peak alone), most of which were designed in whole by him.
Major design elements revolve around solid log and timber framing accentuated by custom metalwork, glass, doors, cabinets, tile, and trim. All parts are custom-fit (and most are custom-made) by Ron and his highly experienced crew. These elements have given Signature Homes a reputation for unique design unrivaled in the Black Hills.