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Fourth-generation builders

Louis Jr., 23, left, and Charles — Mahar, 22, are staking their futures on Rogue Valley home building, — following in the footsteps of their father, grandfather and — great-grandfather.

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Mahar brothers add to family's domination of local construction

Maybe it was the Sunday afternoon drives that gave Charles and Louis Mahar Jr. the building bug.

Growing up, their dad, Lou Mahar, would load the boys in the car to drive around and check on the jobs that his company, Pacific Trend Building, was doing.

As they got older, they moved on to cleaning construction sites and framing houses. And when Louis was ready to pick a senior project in 1993, the choice was simple: He built a house.

Now the brothers, Lou at 23 and Charles at 22, have launched their own company: Mahar Brothers Construction Co. Now they drive to visit their own jobs.

This is something we knew, that we thought we could make a good living at, says Louis.

We've lived and breathed this, says Charles. This is what we grew up wanting to do.

If building follows blood lines -- and it has historically in the Rogue Valley -- the Mahar brothers are on extremely solid footing.

We're fourth-generation builders, says Louis.

Their great-grandfather was W.L. Moore, founder of W.L. Moore Construction, and their grandfather was Charles DeCarlow, who founded DeCarlow Homes. The company their father and his brother Dan formed, Pacific Trend, is the valley's leading home builder.

And their uncle is Mike Mahar, owner of Mahar Homes -- another big player in the market. In all, the extended family owns four of what a recent analysis found to be the top five home building companies in the Rogue Valley.

Not surprisingly, Lou Mahar is pleased with the path his boys have chosen.

It's interesting to see your offspring make their own way, he says.

The brothers may be on their own, but their father hasn't been shy about smoothing the path for his sons' entrance to the building business -- something he says DeCarlow did for him and Moore did for DeCarlow.

I know who to call, he admits. He introduced them to key people, from bankers to planning department officials. So far, they've purchased all their lots from Pacific Trend and used many of the same subcontractors.

And he's just a phone call away when questions arise.

He's our biggest supporter, Charles says. He'll drop everything in his day to give us a hand. We have primo guidance.

I'll get two or three calls a day, Lou says. But I love it. I'm really having a good time.

Charles and Louis say they've been planning to go into the business for years. They formed Mahar Brothers Construction in June -- after Louis completed his business administration degree at Southern Oregon University.

They are equal partners in the company. Louis handles more of the business side of things while Charles takes care of field work like arranging subcontractors.

The company recently sold its first house, built in Central Point's North Valley Estates. A second house in that subdivision has been completed and is awaiting a buyer. A third will be completed next week and two more are under way off Thrasher Lane near Lone Pine Elementary School.

While the subs do most of the actual building, the brothers have pitched in -- helping run drain pipes and doing cleanup.

We just do little things to cut costs, says Charles.

The early houses took about 90 days to complete -- a time line they hope to shorten as they gain more experience.

We're learning every day, says Louis.

The more you are out here, Charles says, the more you learn.

Fourth-generation builders