Jack Starr and Martin Poretsky are 31-year-old Washington natives who grew up together, went to college and returned to become involved in family business. Seven years ago they teamed up as home builders, starting with 200 single-family houses in Silver Spring.
Since then, houses built by Poretsky & Starr, Inc. have won eight awards, some for their enviromental and energy-saving excellence. This year the firm plans to complete about 180 dwellings, slightly more than last year.
"We're size-consious," said Starr." . . . We tend to be catious and want to be able to pay attention to quality control in production. That's Marty's side of the business. He's really out there on the jobs every day," said Starr.
What does Starr Do?" I kid him about keeping 9 to 3 hours and taking long lunches," said Poretsky." But I have to admit that he posts our bills and keeps a good eye on the bottom line. He remembers the down years of 1974 and 1975 so we're not heavy into land investment."
Poretsky studied architecture at Yale, where he got his BA, but ended his formal education when his father (builder-developer Sidney Poretsky) died. Until he joined forces with Starr, Marty Poretsky was in the family business started by his grandfather, the late Harry Poretsky.
Poretsky, who edited a literary magazine when he was at Landon School, started in the contruction business as a laborer. "I was the original 'gofer' and did what the superintendent told me to do," he recalled.
Starr is a bachelor who converted a carriage house and garage into what he describes as a "traditionally-contemporary house that satisfied my eclectic nature." He went to Tulane University and finished at George Washington University first in his class for finance.
"I'm the 'compleat' house-hunter," Starr said. "I'm always interested in moving and remodelling a place. I really like to look at houses."
Besides being home builders, Poretsky and Starr are also partners in the manufacture and national distribution of Sta-Dri masonry waterproof paints, which are used on the outside and inside of foundation walls. Starr has interests in First Financial of Virginia Corp., of which Washington-Lee Savings and Loan Association is a subsidiary.
Poretsky, active in area builder associations, is first vice president of the Suburban Maryland Home Builders Association and president of its Home Owners Warranty program.