When Dan Monk, the founder and owner of Monk Renovations in Halifax, Nova Scotia, spoke with Spotlight on Business over the phone in mid-July, he was actually on the jobsite. “I’m just going on lunch, Dave, so that’s why I wanted to chat now” Dan told me as I could hear him open a truck door and start-up a V6 engine. He apologized for a brief delay as he switched- on his Bluetooth. “We’re in the middle of a renovation right now, close to the alumni building at St. Mary’s University on Robie Street. This home here is unique,” he explained. “It has a real art-deco look, big overhangs, a flat roof – it’s definitely 1960s. This was a very chic look when it was new and I know it’s going to be beautiful inside when we’re finished.” That sentiment, I discovered, is really at the heart of what Dan and his team do. Dan recognizes that homeowners are sentimental about even the most in-need fixer-uppers and it’s that understanding, that human touch – along with his team’s award-winning work – that’s brought Monk Renovations to the top of its industry in just nine years.

By David MacDonald T here are not many of us, in the trades or otherwise, who would be confident enough to handover to new clients or even current business contacts a two-page list of 40 references. Dan Monk is. “It includes references to jobs with everything from windows and doors, decks, siding, bathrooms, kitchens, additions – you name it, there’s somebody on my list who we’ve done that for,” he explained. “It’s meant to shock and awe. People auto- matically think ‘this guy isn’t afraid of his references, so it has to be too good to be true.’ But I don’t have any broth- er-in- laws, or uncles, or questionable references onthere – there’s too much of that out there,” he laughed as if to suggest that he has stories. Dan is the co- chair of the Ren- ovators Council, he sits on the board of the Nova Scotia Home Builders Association, and his company, Monk Reno- vations, was recognized by the Association as Renovator of the Year in 2016 – so you could say that he’s privy to more than just the scuttlebutt. “It’s all really a labour of love; it’s a labour of passion. I love building my company and I love building business relationships – and I love seeing where it’s going.” Dan, a professional engineer from East Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia who attended both St. Francis Xavier University and then Dalhousie’s engineering arm, DalTech, has a reputa- tion in the home building industry as sturdy as the bridges he helped build as a post-grad. As a young civil engineer, Dan also led his own division of Atlantic Industries in Alberta where he oversaw road, culvert, and pipe-building projects. After his time “out



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