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Meet Our Team

The Sterling Custom Homes team provides clients with a level of expertise that inspires confidence and trust.

Duke McDowell
Duke McDowellPresident

Duke McDowell, GMB, CGB, CGP – President

Duke McDowell, a Texas Tech University engineering graduate, has dedicated his career to developing and custom home building. With a construction option degree in hand since 1983, Duke’s commitment to the industry is unmatched. Notably, he served as Chairman and was a member of the Industrial Engineering Advisory Board for Texas Tech, receiving recognition as an esteemed inductee into the Engineering Technology Academy.

Before founding Sterling Custom Homes, Duke served as V.P. of Construction and Operations for two prominent Texas homebuilding companies and consulted for 14 top-200 national builders. Leading Sterling for more than three decades, Duke’s exemplary leadership has earned Sterling the prestigious title of “Texas Custom Builder of the Year” in 1992, 2004, and 2008. Additionally, Sterling has been honored with over 125 other industry awards over the years, including Austin Business Journal’s 2010 Custom Builder of the Year.

Duke, a Certified Graduate Builder (CGB), Graduate Master Builder (GMB), and Certified Green Professional (CGP), emphasizes ongoing professional development from his team. Beyond his role as a homebuilder, Duke has proven his prowess as a developer, spearheading the success of the Flintrock Falls development in Lakeway, Texas, showcasing his talent in community building.

Duke’s involvement extends to commercial real estate, finance committees, and nonprofit boards, reflecting his dedication that transcends professional boundaries. Yet, his most cherished roles are those of husband and father. Duke McDowell embodies a multifaceted professional, community leader, and family man, leaving an undeniable mark on the homebuilding industry and the lives he touches along the way.

Angie McDowell
Angie McDowellBusiness Development Manager

Angie McDowell – Business Development Manager

In 2018 Angie assumed the role of Business Development Manager at Sterling. Angie’s versatility, dedication, and expertise shine through her progression through various roles within the company since 1991.

Born in Lubbock, TX, she graduated from Texas Tech University in 1989, and has proudly called the Hill Country home since 1991, currently residing in Dripping Springs. Her deep-seated roots and profound connection to the community are unmistakable, demonstrated by decades of volunteering when her kids were young at their school, extracurricular activities, and current active participation in her church. This steadfast commitment underscores her devotion not only to her family but also to the broader community she holds dear.

Angie’s decision to become a Realtor as an empty nester reflects her continuous pursuit of personal and professional growth. This diverse background and experience undoubtedly contribute to her effectiveness as a Business Development Manager.

In partnering with Angie on a custom home journey, clients can expect not only knowledge and reliability but also a friendly demeanor and fresh ideas. Her goal is to ensure that the experience with Sterling Custom Homes goes beyond a mere transaction, fostering a lasting connection with the clients. This personal touch and commitment to excellence make Angie an asset in providing seamless custom home experiences for families.

Jeff Miranda
Jeff MirandaAccounting Manager

Jeff Miranda – Accounting Manager

Jeff Miranda, our Accounting Manager at Sterling since 2013, oversees financial matters with precision and a commitment to cost efficiency. With over 20 years of combined experience in cost accounting and project management, Jeff’s accounting journey began as an intern at a large Texas contractor while completing his accounting degree at Lamar University.

For 8 years, Jeff served as Assistant Controller and Controller of the steel fabrication division for the same company he started at before transitioning to government project management in Washington D.C. For over a decade, he navigated complex transitions and security installations at DoD facilities and airports, even contributing as a Senior Financial Analyst for a government-appointed airport security task force in the wake of 9/11.

Returning to Texas a decade ago, Jeff cherishes family time, whether it’s activities with his two sons or spending time with his dad. Beyond his professional acumen, Jeff sees his role at Sterling a privilege, contributing to our realization of “dream homes”. Jeff will meticulously handle your financial matters, ensuring every dollar of yours is managed as if it were his own.

Chris Renowden
Chris RenowdenConstruction Operations Manager

Chris Renowden – Construction Operations Manager

Chris Renowden is our Estimating and Purchasing Manager at Sterling, having joined the team in 2021. Born and raised in North-Eastern Arizona, Chris immersed himself in the homebuilding industry from a young age, shadowing his father, a seasoned custom home builder and designer. After earning his degree at Northern Arizona University, Chris spent 8 years running operations at his father’s company.

Bringing a wealth of experience, Chris focuses on cultivating relationships with subcontractors and suppliers, ensuring the construction team meets the “Sterling Standard”. His comprehensive knowledge of architectural plans and building specifications, combined with excellent communication skills, streamlines processes and minimizes complications. Chris has worked across various homebuilding departments, from sales to estimating and project management.

When Chris is not working (which is rare) he loves spending time outdoors and experiencing new places with family and friends. His passion for home design never stops, so he always takes time to tour new homes wherever he goes.

Lauren Tapley
Lauren TapleySelections Coordinator

Lauren Tapley – Selections Coordinator

Lauren, our Selections Coordinator, joined the Sterling team in the summer of 2022. Focused on homeowners, she expertly guides them through the selections process, ensuring they confidently choose elements for their custom home. Her role extends to seamless communication with the field manager and trade partners to implement changes and finalize selections.

With a construction career launching in 2016, Lauren’s journey began as an administrative assistant for a countertop company in North Austin. She swiftly rose to become the primary scheduler, overseeing a team and managing schedules for various tasks for as many as 50 jobs each day.

Growing up in rural Texas, Lauren studied history at Baylor University, earning a master’s in arts with a focus on the religious persecution of human rights struggle of Ukrainian and Russian dissidents in the former USSR. Though no longer in academia, her passion for history persists through her exploration of Austin’s historical offerings. When she isn’t working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her sister in Waco and her mom in Northeast Texas. She is also an animal lover and spends her weekends with her Boston terrier, Mugsy, and her many cats. Whether delving into history or ensuring each homeowner’s vision comes to fruition, Lauren brings her passion to all areas of her life.

Andrew Peña
Andrew PeñaMarketing Specialist

Andrew Peña – Marketing Specialist

Andrew Pena is our Marketing Specialist at Sterling Custom Homes. Raised in Austin, Texas, he developed a deep connection to the city which led him to attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a degree in advertising with a minor in business. Andrew’s creativity and interest in marketing were honed through his involvement in Texas Creative, UT’s undergraduate portfolio program. He explored both art direction and copywriting to create a unique skillset that enriches our marketing efforts.

In November of 2023, Andrew joined Sterling Custom Homes, where he now channels his creative energy into managing our website, social media pages, and other marketing responsibilities. His enthusiasm and fresh perspective contribute to our brand’s dynamic presence. Outside the office, Andrew enjoys living an active lifestyle, attending live music events, and cheering for his UT longhorns.

Chris Willard
Chris WillardConstruction Manager

Chris Willard – Construction Manager

Chris Williard is a seasoned professional with a rich background in construction. Chris embarked on his construction journey in 1995, starting as a framer and later becoming a superintendent for DW Construction, specializing in custom home builds from 1991 to 2011. He then transitioned into inspection roles from 2012 to 2022 and obtained certifications in HERS, energy insulation, framing, lateral bracing, and foundation inspections. His commitment to excellence is evident in his diverse skill set, encompassing framing design, trim carpentry, tile installation, painting, and home design.

Chris also has an impressive 28-year military career as a US Navy Seabee and has been mobilized on deployment nine times throughout his active and reserve service. Scheduled to retire in September 2024, his multifaceted career includes five years in law enforcement and another five in a fire department, culminating in the role of Assistant Chief.

Raised in Burnet, Texas, Chris graduated high school in 1990. Outside of his professional pursuits, Chris finds joy in woodworking, home improvement, and target shooting, which demonstrates his passion for craftsmanship and precision in both his personal and professional life.

Robert Vela
Robert VelaSite Manager

Robert Vela – Site Manager

Robert Vela, one of our site managers, is a versatile professional with experience in various industries.

His journey into construction began as a Backhoe Operator for the City of Austin, which equipped him with valuable skills in excavation and equipment operation. After his time with the City of Austin he began working as a Landscape Construction Laborer at Austin’s Groundskeeper, where he excelled in landscape installation, custom welding, masonry, and heavy machinery operation.

In 2019, Robert took a step back from construction, serving as a CDL Class A Driver for Red Trucking. However, it didn’t take long for him to return to the industry that he excels so well in. In June 2021, Robert became a self-employed contractor at VELA Carpentry and Contractor Services LLC. During that time, he honed his skills in trim work, door and window installations, drywall patches, architectural hardwood flooring, cabinet installations, painting, and more.

Thanks to his many experiences, Robert brings a diverse skill set, a passion for quality workmanship, and a smile to every project he undertakes. His commitment to delivering exceptional results and exceeding client expectations ensure our customers get the proper Sterling experience.

Riley Wood
Riley WoodSite Manager

Riley Wood – Site Manager

Riley Wood, one of our two site managers, brings an extensive experience despite his young age. Although starting college at Murray State on a full-ride baseball scholarship, Riley graduated from Texas State with a Bachelor of General Studies and minors in business administration, mass communication, and psychology. After college, he didn’t take long to jump headfirst into the construction business.

With a year as a Project Manager at Landmark Custom, and previous roles at Alexander Residential, Riley has honed his skills in managing subcontractors, overseeing punch list items, and fostering strong homeowner relationships. His dedication to learning and hands-on approach is evident through his background, which includes a stint as a Ranch Hand in Junction, Texas, where he tackled diverse tasks such as clearing land and retrieving escaped livestock.

Riley’s positive attitude, adaptability, and knowledge play an important role in creating a streamlined home building process for us and our clients.