Ted Layton, President of Layton Builders, spent his early childhood in Lincoln, attending elementary and middle school at Milford School District schools and playing for Milford Little League. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout while participating in Boy Scouts with his father and brother.
“Scouting was a very big part of my childhood and I learned many lifelong lessons,” Mr. Layton said. “My father and brother both earned Eagle Scout rank as well. When I was 12, my parents built a home in Wyoming. My father, who has retired, was a horticulture teacher in Caesar Rodney and my mother a nurse. I attended Caesar Rodney High School where I played varsity baseball and soccer. I was part of the first “downstate” State Championship Soccer team in 1994.”
Mr. Layton said he decided early in his senior year of high school that college was not for him and he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He said he took a “long lonely trip to Paris Island, South Carolina” for boot camp after graduating from high school in 1995. He graduated with honors and finished at the top of his platoon in the Iron Man Physical Fitness test. He was assigned to First Battalion, Second Marine Division in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and served in an Infantry battalion specializing in mortar gunnery.
“While I as deployed to Northwestern Africa, I took part in multiple military operations,” Mr. Layton said. “I spent six months on the Naval vessel “USS Kearsarge” and spent time in Northern Africa and Europe. In 1998, I participated in cold weather training in Canada and spent another three months on a naval ship. In 1998, I was transferred to Marine Corps Base Quantico where I served my last year as an instructor for infantry tactics to newly commissioned officers.”
In 1999, Mr. Layton decided he was ready for college and hung up his Marine boots, enrolling in Delaware State University in the Ag and Business program. In 2001, Mr. Layton attended the wedding of a friend and met Janelle, a recent college graduate who had started her first year as a school teacher. The two dated while Mr. Layton finished his bachelor’s degrees in both Business Administration and General Agriculture. Upon graduation, Mr. Layton began working for a local builder while interviewing for positions in his degree field.
“I was a former Marine with multiple college degrees and all the confidence in the world that a high paying job was on the horizon,” Mr. Layton said. “Reality set in about six months into my construction job that I could be my own boss. I consulted with my then girlfriend and, with her support, quit my job, bought a 20-year old pickup truck, a few hand tools and ventured into self-employment.”
Over the next two years, Mr. Layton spent his time building decks, installing siding, roofing, framing and other general construction jobs. He said his business quickly evolved into additions and larger renovations until he was approved for a loan to construct his first house. Not long after that first house, he said he was building two, then four and then six homes at a time. Today, Layton Builders has evolved into one of Kent County’s largest builders, building 40 homes each year.
“Our success is due to the personal relationships we have with our subcontractors, vendors, realtors, mortgage brokers, employees and, most importantly, our customers,” Mr. Layton said. “Without the employees at Layton Builders, we do not exist. We do not have just great employees, but great people dedicated to our mission of putting the customer first. We have been very meticulous in choosing our business partners to ensure the right business ethics were at the forefront of everyone’s business model.”
In addition to his business partners and employees, Mr. Layton says that his wife, Janelle, has supported all the ups and downs that come along with self-employment. The couple has two children, Emerson and Elizabeth who both attend Lulu M. Ross Elementary School. Janelle Layton is a teacher in Milford School District. Emerson plays baseball and ice hockey while Elizabeth is active in dance classes and softball.
Mr. Layton said he and his wife built a home in Milford three years ago and they made the decision to move the business from Dover to Milford as well. They built new office space at the same time they built their home. Because both he and his wife have roots in Milford, Mr. Layton said the move was seamless. His company teamed with Wes Cromer and Jamie Masten of Masten Realty where they began building homes in the Dogwood Meadows development.
“Shortly after, we began building in Orchard Hill, where we currently have a furnished model home for our customers to see our quality and dedication to the homes we build” Mr. Layton said. “I’ve personally known Wes and Jamie since childhood so it was an easy partnership. Returning to Milford has been one of the best business and personal decisions I’ve made.”
Mr. Layton says there are many reasons why building in Milford is beneficial. He says that prices are less than competing northern Kent County, New Castle County and southern Sussex County. He says that interest rates remain low and with the new hospital coming and the Governor recently adding Milford to the Downtown Development District program, he feels Milford is going to be the next best place for an influx of new young professionals and attract new business within the City limits.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.