The “3Rs” keep things in order and moving forward on the Ranch
Three-and-a-half years ago, Robin Scheel, Robert Browning and Ron Bodin began working together as the site preparation and land clearing team for Cordillera Ranch. Ron was a newcomer to the Ranch, Robert had been working on parts of the Ranch with Cordillera and a prior employer for 12 years, and Robin had been here since Day 1 of the development. They quickly became known as 3R Construction (pronounced Triple R), enjoying a sense of respect and camaraderie as they worked together on projects. Their varied skill sets and knowledge complement each other. They also share Christian faith and values that not only enrich their daily work relationship but have extended to their friendship off the Ranch as well. “I am privileged to have these exceptional men of character in my life,” shares Robin. For the three, the feeling is mutual.
Though their official role focuses on tree clearing and site preparation for new phases of homesites in Cordillera Ranch, men with such hard work ethic and skill sets often find themselves taking on other projects as well. Dave Grinnan, Project Manager for DH Investments (DHI), the developer of Cordillera Ranch, describes the trio as the SWAT Team for any issues that need to be addressed around the Ranch and explains the progression of 3R, “It is an honor to tell you a little about these guys. We jokingly called them 3R Construction for the first letter in each of their names (they made me the Chairman because they say I never get out of my chair!). It quickly evolved into hats with their own logo (3R) as well as rain gear and even street cones with the familiar 3R brand on them. They joke that they only want the jobs others say can’t be done. They can operate heavy machinery and are knowledgeable in civil construction, electrical, utility repair…right down to hanging a picture frame and just about anything in between. Their craftsmanship and pride in their work is second to none. Their main job, however, is to carve out lots here at Cordillera. They are excellent tree guys. They clear the land and sculpt the views. They have a trained eye to make a lot special. If there is a view or a way to improve a lot, they will find it.”
If you’ve bought property in Cordillera Ranch in recent years, it’s likely that one or all of these guys helped prepare that lot and likely improved the view or some feature of it, well before you saw it. “It is very satisfying to be the ones to first break ground on an undeveloped area and cut in where the future streets will be and then start cutting into the lots,” says Ron. Robert adds, “We enjoy working with Dave Grinnan and Chris Espinoza at the DHI office. They coordinate the projects, Dave points us in a direction, and 3R takes off to get it done.”
But it involves more than a skid steer. Their main mission is to take a raw piece of property and clear it just enough to highlight the accent points of each lot. As the 3Rs explain, they begin with clearing an entrance into the lot that makes sense given the topography of the land. Next, they clear a building envelope that gives a prospective buyer an idea of the ideal building site for a home. They consider any long-range views the property might have to add value to the lot, and clear around nice hardwoods to show off any heritage oaks the lot might contain. “In doing this, we also try and preserve the privacy factor from one lot to the next. When I look at a lot from the start, I think about what would I do with it if it was mine,” says Robert, continuing, “We work with the sales team to highlight the best-selling points of a lot and still maintain the Cordillera Ranch look.”
Just as they each have an innate sense of the land, they also work intuitively as a team. With Robin in charge of the bulldozer, Robert and Ron can anticipate his every need, and they communicate through a series of hand signals that Ron jokingly says, “even my wife doesn’t understand me!” Robert laughs, “It’s like landing a 747!”
“I’ve enjoyed seeing these great men grow in their work together over the last few years,” says Charlie Hill, President of Cordillera Ranch, who works closely with the 3R team in laying out upcoming phases of homesites. “Their attention to detail and passion for their craft is very evident if you spend any time with them; they’re artists with large machinery and their work is instrumental in our ability to deliver the finest homesites in the Hill Country — and part of their success is absolutely attributable to their tight relationship and the fact they have such fun together and don’t take themselves too seriously, but they take their work seriously,” adds Hill.
3R also works on a wide range of projects that come up around the Ranch in addition to site clearing. Robert says, “Robin, with his knowledge of the Ranch and experience, allows us to tackle any emergencies that arise.” In fact, when those emergencies arise, everyone knows the 3R secret code is “Rubber Chicken”—their 911 alert that keeps things light but in a serious way. They joke that their “bat signal” is coming soon! Some of these emergencies have included rescuing property owners stuck in the mud at their undeveloped lots to replacing mainlines on the golf course. “Robin knows this property like the back of his hand, and he can excavate precisely, knowing exactly where the line is,” says Ron. “Robin gets called in for the special details,” adds Robert.
You see, Robin is so familiar with the natural and built landscape of the property because his career at Cordillera Ranch began before there even was a Cordillera Ranch. After starting a construction company with his father and brother, he worked for the development’s original landowners, Carla and Mac Northington, on their ranch before they decided to develop it. This transitioned into his job with DHI and he has been involved ever since. Robin’s talent lies in his understanding of what an uncleared piece of land can look like. In the early years, Robin cut in the first units of Cordillera Ranch, which included site work, paving and septic systems. He has built many trails, berms and other improvements on the Ranch. He was also involved in the boulder placement for the Champions Gallery at the Clubhouse. Mac Northington reflected on his long connection to Robin, “Robin and I have been friends since the late 60s on the old Elmax Ranch. I have never met a man with so much integrity and kindness. His work ethic is beyond compare. He is truly a jack of all trades and a master of most of them.”
Robin grew up in Boerne and has been married to his wife, Layne, for 52 years. They have a daughter named Lorin.
Robert came to Cordillera Ranch as a contractor before joining DHI nine years ago. He is married to his wife, Stacey, and together they have five kids: Macie, Holley, Scott, Allison and Brandon. Robert has a background in wildlife management and enjoys hunting, fishing and projects with his kids. If you are familiar with Boerne’s Parade of Lights each December, then you have surely seen The Browning’s home, which Robert credits Stacey for and is always a highlight on the tour.
Ron joined Cordillera Ranch in June of 2018, after a 30-year insurance career at USAA. He’s an accomplished woodworker, building custom furniture in his spare time, along with welding, playing acoustic guitar and riding his horses with his wife, Lori. They have a daughter named Alex.
Ron sums up this group beautifully, “I am honored to be a part of Triple R. We can count on each other both on the clock and off. We are always there for each other. I appreciate these great friends. Cordillera Ranch is a wonderful place to work and I appreciate this opportunity.”