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From Blood to Blocks

Alumni Rick and Amy Hendel, owners of Hendel Homes

If you had asked Rick Hendel ’97 what he planned to do after Bethel, he wouldn’t have hesitated before giving an answer. The plan—from Welcome Week through commencing with his B.S. in Biology—was to become a doctor. He even volunteered with the Red Cross and as a tissue harvester on his way to medical school. But a part-time carpentry job changed all of that.

“I loved the creativity and problem-solving involved in the building process,” Rick says. “I also saw in the construction world a lack of options for homeowners, a lack of design. I thought, ‘I could do this.’”

Rick’s radical career switch felt like a leap of faith. He and his now-wife, Amy ’99, were dating at the time, and Amy recalls feeling a tinge of hesitation. “I can’t believe I supported it,” she recalls. “But I was 100% in. I told him, ‘I can tell how much you love this.’”

Rick and Amy went to the Lord for guidance before giving up on Rick’s goal of sharing a medical path with others in his family. “I had to pray a lot about the decision. I said, ‘Lord, if you want me to change career paths, you have to close this door for medicine. Medicine was what I’ve always aspired to, but please just take that desire away,’” says Rick. “And that same night, it was gone. In fact, blood suddenly made me nauseous. I said, ‘This is a sign from the Lord.’”

Rick founded luxury building company Hendel Homes in 1997, and it has since been featured in national home and style magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Architectural Digest. The Wayzata-based company consistently tops the Best of Houzz Design and Service Awards, and it was named the 2014–2015 Builder’s Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) Best Builder of the Year.

“We did this together. Every step of the way,” adds Amy. “I have a business degree from Bethel, and in the beginning I would do the accounting for the company at night, after I came home from working as an IT consultant and project manager. Rick would run the construction.” Now Amy is the head of marketing and designs select projects for Hendel Homes, while Rick leads the construction teams who design and craft one-of-a-kind homes.

Together, the Hendels have also co-founded the non-profit organization Educate Rwanda, dedicated to “sharing God’s love by helping to improve children’s educational, physical, and spiritual needs in Rwanda, Africa.” Rick recently co-led a service trip to Rwanda and helped local residents learn how to use a Hydraform Blockmaking Machine. This machine will be used to construct walls and buildings, revolutionizing a community. It’s one way Rick has been able to connect his faith with his passion for building.

The Hendels are a team in life, business, and ministry. They live in Wayzata, Minnesota, with their children, Ava and Ashton. 

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