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This profile was last updated on 6/6/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Tom Hignite

Wrong Tom Hignite?


Phone: (262) ***-****  HQ Phone
Miracle Homes Inc
1977 Mayfield Road
Richfield , Wisconsin 53076
United States


Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Founder
    Miracle Studios
82 Total References
Web References
"We've had people come out to ..., 6 June 2015 [cached]
"We've had people come out to our job sites and try to court our rough carpenters," said Tom Hignite, owner of Miracle Home Builders, in Richfield. "I'll drive up to the site now and it's not unusual for me to see one of my competitor's vans parked out in front. Short of putting up a chain-link fence, there's no way to keep that out."
But Hignite said he himself isn't averse to taking down the name of a subcontracting company if he drives by a competitor's home-construction site and sees a crew whose work he likes.
Hignite said rough carpenters - those who build the framing of a house - are tougher to find because they labor outside in cold weather and sometimes work in high places.
Miracle Homes, 3 Dec 2012 [cached]
A Few Candid Observations from Miracle Homes Founder Tom Hignite
Disney’s Refugee Camp – Tom Hignite’s Miracle Studios : Darling Dimples – 2D Animation Blog [cached]
The good news is that Tom Hignite has gathered a small group of animators in his new studio and they're working on a hand-drawn animation theatrical feature about a character called Miracle Mouse. From Tom Hignite after a tour of the Disney studios as reported in The Times:
Dimples would be remiss if we didn't include a section in this story about Tom Hignite. Who is Tom Hignite? The publicity photo at the top of this story would lead you to believe that he's an animator. He's not. He is the owner of "Miracle Homes". He's a housing contractor and, apparently, an over-the-top Christian. Dimples assumes that's why he names everything "miracle". From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Hignite acknowledges he had relatively little experience in animation when he began planning a studio. It took about a year of research before he could start looking for artists, he said.
His home-building business, which he also began with little experience, started in 1993 with two home sales. Last year, it sold 220 houses with a total value of about $42 million.
Hignite said he got into the business by selling a home he built on a lot that had been given as barter to his father. Hignite then quit his job as advertising manager for a boat dealer and started building houses full time.
Hignite said he drew the Miracle Mouse character, which has appeared in promotions for his home-building business for several years.
Some observers say the hard hat-donning Miracle Mouse looks a lot like Mickey Mouse, but Hignite said the character is unique, and he doesn't think it infringes on any Disney copyright.
Miracle Mouse looks like Mickey Mouse and the opening page on Miracle Studios' web page looks like the opening to Disney. This is not a good thing. Mr. Hignite may have carried too much baggage from the world of suburban sprawl into the world of theatrical animation.
[tags]2D animation, Disney, Tom Hignite, Miracle Studios[/tags]
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - When pondering how ... [cached]
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - When pondering how to construct smaller homes that young adults and renters could afford, homebuilder Tom Hignite turned his attention from the land to the sea. Cruise ships, to be exact.
He studied how the cabins in cruise ships were able to shoehorn essentials of living into a small space, then figured out ways to incorporate some elements - such as built-in bunk beds and wooden lockers instead of closets - into a house containing a little more than 1,000 square feet.
The result is what Hignite, owner of Miracle Homes, calls the "Mi-Pad" - a home with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a fireplace for as little as $89,000.
"They're contemporary in look," Hignite said.
"We kind of looked at repo prices and decided to create a product line that would compete with that sort of repo price area of $90,000 to $150,000 - and get you a new home," Hignite said.
The final cost of a Mi-Pad varies depending on what's included and where the lot is located. One model can be developed to have five bedrooms, Hignite said.
"These are targeted at renters. There's a one-car attached garage," Hignite said.
"They are meant for people who have a no-car garage right now," he quipped. "There's a large marketplace in rentals that could segue into this for the same cost as rent."
Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, said Hignite might be on to something.
Not every community welcomes small homes, but Hignite said he has found that around Milwaukee, Mount Pleasant, Belgium and West Bend, Wis., are among those that do. Because of the Mi-Pad's small size, he said, "they work well on urban lots" as well.
"There are little pockets around that allow it," he said.
Hignite has been known among southeastern Wisconsin homebuilders for sometimes quirky innovations.
Previous high-end models have included a movie theater and themed children's bedrooms, for example.
Hignite made headlines six years ago when he hired almost a dozen laid-off animation artists from Walt Disney Co. to create Miracle Studios, which intended to make TV commercials and a feature film starring his company's mascot, Miracle Mouse. The studio at his Richfield, Wis., headquarters has shrunk to "one or two" artists, Hignite said, but there still are plans to produce the movie.
"Of course, our main business is still homebuilding, and everybody has a passion beyond their main passion or job," Hignite said.
The Mi-Pad houses on Gates Street in Mount Pleasant - which include extra features and finished spaces beyond the base-price models - are the only two in existence so far, Hignite said. He wants to see whether they catch on before building any more on speculation.
"It's a launch, and we're looking to see whether the public will accept it, because there haven't been 1,000-square-foot houses built in many years," he said.
Tom Hignite had big dreams and ..., 29 Sept 2007 [cached]
Tom Hignite had big dreams and a bizarre style that may doom his empire.
Two of them were built by Tom Hignite, owner of Miracle Homes.First, there is Hignite's personal residence, all 7,500 square feet of it, a countrified manor with a basketball court, movie theater and a bookcase with a trap door that opens to a secret hallway and antechamber where Hignite stores part of his massive collection of Disney paraphernalia.For the last two years, the home has also run a 2-D animation studio, where 13 professional artists worked to create cartoons featuring "Miracle Mouse," the Miracle Homes' Mickey Mouse-like mascot.
In building this house, Hignite placed a gravel path over a designated wetland without the requisite permits and was fined $125,000.But that was okay, for glory is not without its costs, and Hignite truly felt he had created something, well, heavenly.
A mile or so down the road sits the illustriously named Grand Bay, Hignite's $1.9 million showpiece model home that, while less than half the size of his own residence, is even more impressive.The entranceway is accented with a stained-glass mosaic leading into a living room that domes 30 feet high and is covered with $30,000 worth of carefully tiled wood flakes and rhinestones.Want more?
Tom Hignite seemed to understand the deepest yearnings in this dream.Which perhaps explains why, within the last several years, as people have trickled into Richfield (population: 11,000ish), many called upon him to build their dream homes, with white siding and red brick, with French doors leading to the den and ceramic tile walls in the master shower.
Since it was founded 13 years ago "on a wing and a prayer," as the company proclaims, Miracle Homes has grown exponentially, manufacturing well over 1,000 homes across the state on lots from the Fox Valley to Kenosha.The company sold $42 million worth of homes in 2004, as the real estate market was peaking.Miracle Homes' commercials, in which Tom, wife Jacquie and their two sons frequently appear, have become well-known on local television and radio stations.
A born-again evangelical, Hignite advertised his operation as a Christian-based company.
And where Hignite has arrived is in many ways miraculous.Beyond his homebuilding company and animation studio was yet another outlandish project, conceived a few miles from his Richfield manor in the neighboring village of Holy Hill.After a "blessing ceremony" in September 2005, construction workers began moving dirt and blasting rock on an 80-acre parcel of land Hignite had purchased on the cheap to create his most ambitious project yet.It was to be called Miracle Village.A veritable Miracle Homes theme park, the project was to include a splendid new home for the Hignites, a 15,000-square-foot headquarters for the company and studio and a ring of 10 or so model homes displaying the industry's latest and greatest.
"When you see my homes," says Hignite, "my desire is to create an experience for people.I want to go beyond homes into creating experiences."
But by the summer, Hignite's ever-growing empire began to implode: Animators and other employees were getting laid off, the banks were balking, and Miracle Village's construction stalled.But Hignite seemed remarkably unruffled through it all, imparting an almost child-like certainty that God or some kind of Disneyish happy ending would inevitably rescue him.
"Nothing really matters that much," Hignite said the first time we met last May, as he sat beside his wife on their living room couch."I live in a nice house now, but I'm going to be selling this house really shortly.I intend to put it on the market next month."His soothing contralto made everything sound as if he were reciting a bedtime story, as though the real world was barely connected to the dreams he was weaving."I have no attachment to the physical things, even though I have a lot of them.I can build a beautiful house and live in it and sell it tomorrow without feeling I'm missing out on anything."
But why build so much if none of it really matters?What exactly was driving Tom Hignite?It was a question many of his employees would ask with wonderment and frustration but never with much resolution.
Growing up in Milwaukee, the second-oldest in a family of four boys, Tom was closest with his eldest brother, Don.The two spent their childhood summers together, shoulder to shoulder, polishing the brass and varnishing the wood on the family's 41-foot sailboat.Their father used to tell them stories about the two embarking on fantastical adventures.How they would go to a junkyard and build a spaceship.How one time, the rain wouldn't come and they would fly that spaceship up into the sky and investigate.Their father, Walter, hired an artist friend to illustrate these stories, producing three cartoons that Hignite displays in a playroom in his house: the adventures of Tom and Don.One summer day when Tom was 16, he was painting a mural of a cartoon circus on the nursery wall of his church.His mother phoned.There had been a construction accident at the Bayshore shopping center, she told him.His brother had been killed.
The family sought solace in the same place Tom was the day Don died, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.They became born-again Christians.
Tom bounced around various art programs in town after high school, drifting for several years.He never earned a college degree but started a business selling inflatable rafts out of a vacated convenience store in Menomonee Falls.Within a few years, he says, he hit a couple hundred thousand dollars in sales, but bookkeeping troubles and misplaced checks caused a collapse.
"It was a cash business," says Hignite, "and since I knew zero about accounting, I would simply have different people do accounting.
Having been blistered in his maiden voyage and then seeing his father's business suffer to the point where the bank repossessed the family home, Tom was content for a time to pull in a steady paycheck doing advertising at a marine supply store.
On the weekends, however, he began attending open houses and home-buying seminars sponsored by builders and banks."And I'd go up afterward," he recalls, "and I would just lay it on the line, and they would say thank you very much, get a free cookie on the way out, but we can't do anything for you.And I would just go to the next one."After scads of snubs, Hignite finally found, as he says, his "angel of mercy," a banker at Wauwatosa Building and Loan named Lyle Larcheid.Larcheid gave him a home loan, and Hignite, by now married, built his first house in Richfield, hiring many of the subcontractors himself.
Walter gave the lots to Tom, and Larcheid gave Tom a second mortgage on his home.
Walter gave the lots to Tom, and Larcheid gave Tom a second mortgage on his home.
And Tom designed a 2,500-square-foot house on a lake, had an open house in the dead of winter and sold it for $125,000.Thus it came to pass that Miracle Homes was born and in such an improbable manner that Hignite would consider it "God's business."
"If He wants us to succeed, great," says Hignite.
As the company grew, Hignite had all 80 or so employees working out of his Richfield home.It was claustrophobic, but Hignite preferred it, professing horror at the thought of his people laboring beneath the indignity of a drop-tile ceiling.But the insistence of town administrators that this area was zoned residential and the opposition of neighbors forced Hignite to move the company to the nearby Town of Polk.
The entire miracle homes marketing approach is appropriated from Tom's hero, Walt Disney.A former employee recalls a period of months when boxes of Disney bric-a-brac would arrive daily, the harvests of late-night eBay binges.The stuff was consigned to every room of office and home, like religious mementos.The most prominent display in the Richfield foyer, for example, was a set of plastic figurines, not unlike those you'd find in the window of a Disney Store, of Three Little Pigs taunting an incarcerated Big Bad Wolf.There was another Disney stage set in the reception area of the Polk office, and Hignite had even consecrated the kid's bedroom in the Grand Bay model the "Disney room."
Two years ago during a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Hignite toured the back lot of an animation studio, where he was struck by the sight of empty desks.Hignite learned that the studio workers had recently been laid off."It felt like death was over the building," he recalls.With box office returns dwindling and 3-D computer animation on the rise, the old-fashioned hand-drawn style had been all but displaced.
"I thought, boy oh boy," says Hignite.Two years ago, he gushes, if he had knocked on the door at Disney and asked to hire these animators, he would have gotten nowhere."They would have
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