MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – A Livingston-based homebuilder and remodeler and a Roxbury-based architect, both members of the Metropolitan Builders & Contractors Association of New Jersey (Metro), received national recognition of their expertise and leadership at a national homebuilders conference recently. Only 11 such awards, given by the National Association of Homebuilders, were handed out to building industry experts nationwide.

Phil Calinda Jr., of Millennium Custom Homes LLC in Livingston, was named 2015 Graduate Master Remodeler of the Year.  Calinda is president of Metro.

He is among a select group of remodeling and building professionals who hold the graduate master remodeler designation. Those who carry the designation must have 15 years of experience and have completed a specialized series of classes. Calinda holds several other designations, including Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Certified Green Builder, Certified Green Professional, Graduate Master Builder and Graduate Master Remodeler. 

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He is an approved NAHB instructor and has been vice president, secretary and chairman of several national committees. Locally, he has served as chairman of the Green Builders Council and a director of Metro. He also has won numerous state and local awards over the years, including the New Jersey Builder of the Year and Best Green Builder. In 2015, Calinda’s company won Awards of Excellence from Metro for the best custom single-family home over $2 million, the best green building renovation and the best accessory building.

Kenneth J. Fox, president and senior architect of Fox Architectural Design in Ledgewood was named the 2015 Certified Green Professional of the Year.  Certified Green Professionals are builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green and sustainable building principles into homes without driving up the cost of construction.

Those who earn the certification take courses that provide a solid background in building methods and tools to reach consumers. Coursework is closely aligned with the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. The standard, and the classes for the CGP designation, cover energy, water and resource efficiency; indoor environmental quality; lot and site development; and homeowner education.

Fox also holds the Certified Graduate Associate designation. His company has designed commercial, industrial and municipal facilities as well as custom homes and home additions. His company won Awards of Excellence from Metro in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

The national awards were given last month at NAHB’s International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

“By presenting designee of the year awards, NAHB honors individuals who fully embody our ideals,” said Tom Stephani, chair of the 2015 NAHB Education Committee and a custom homebuilder from Illinois. “These are our leaders. They incorporate innovative practices and techniques that ultimately benefit homebuyers and homeowners.”

Back in New Jersey, Calinda and Fox acknowledged the importance of the honors they received, adding that earning their designations involved hours of hard work.

“The continuing education keeps you on top of the best practices and trends in our industry,” said Calinda. “It makes you better at your job and more sensitive to what your customers need. That continuing desire to improve and be the best you can be sets us and other members of Metro apart.”

“Consumers are very well educated nowadays,” added Fox. “By the time you talk with them, they’ve done their homework. I get a lot of questions about green and sustainable design and construction, and the designations that I’ve earned not only give me a competitive edge, they give me authority and expertise. Clients recognize that the designation means I know what I’m talking about.”

The Metropolitan Builders & Contractors Association of New Jersey (Metro) is a local professional trade organization affiliated with the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It promotes and protects all segments of the residential building industry and its customers in Essex, Morris, Union, Somerset, Warren and Hunterdon counties. Its mission is to enhance its 300 members’ ability to provide safe, affordable, quality housing to New Jersey citizens. Information about Metro is available at or by calling (973) 887-2888.