Wineracking Depot An 8000 Year-Old Job with a Twist

American Music Furniture Keeping the Real Guitar Stars out of the Sun

GB Millwork High-Tech and Traditional can get Along



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LOTTO MAX is proud to sponsor the Cavendish Beach Music Festival





I t seems like yesterday that we were looking forward to Summer and now we are trying to hold on to what few days we have left before Fall starts to settle in. We start to see a few leaves change and it makes it very easy to see that every tree is unique, each branch and leaf a little different in its own way, how it grows and changes color with the season. It is the uniqueness of each tree that make wood working more of an art form than a manufac- turing processes. When working with wood no two pieces are ever exactly alike, they may be similar but not identical. I think that you can say that of the woodworking industry and the people that

Editor Lee Atwater Managing Director Stewart Gregg International Operations Director Nick Gregg Accounts Manager Samantha Ford Office Administrator Kyte Carter Webmaster Aaron Allen Content Director Rod Gregg Content Manager Brent Brown Advertising & Marketing Team

work in it. Companies may offer similar products and services but like the wood itself, it is the journey that the wood worker has taken that shapes their creations. For some, they have grown up in the industry, their grandfathers and fathers woodworkers and for others it was a passion for something completely different that has lead them to the path of working with wood. Regardless of your path or your passion, be it working with re-claimed wood to design a hand- crafted masterpiece or use yesterday’s craftsmanship and knowhow to design and build solid wood doors for a 100 year old hotel, it might even been combining the traditions of the past with the latest technology of today to protect the life of your vintage guitars. Regardless of the product, these entrepreneurs took a passion and made it into a successful business that like the trees themselves continue to grow. As we learn in the POKOTA article, Marc and his team are focused on industrial Elegance using wood and steel in a union of industrial aesthetics that balance modern styles with the sophisti- cated elegance of a bygone era, where attention to detail and individuality means everything. Designing and creating furniture that is as much a piece of art for the home or office as it is func- tional, but either way we know that it will be the focus point for conversation. GB Millworks uses craftsmanship from the past handed down from generation to generation like the re-claimed wood that Greg uses in some of his projects. Greg looks to the past for inspira- tion and sometimes design but believes in investing in the latest technology to help grow his business and prepare for future opportunities. We are amazed at how diversified the industry is and how it continues to build on the craftsman- ship and traditions of the past with a focus on technology for the future of the industry, being it in the management of the forests themselves or the products that they help the men and women of this industry build. The next time you see a piece of what you think is antique furniture think to yourself is this a vintage piece of furniture history or has a history of tradition and craftsmanship made quality piece of the furniture usually associated with the past.

Ashley Lindsay Nicole Rayner Director of Creative & Graphic Design Carmen Fitzpatrick Research Sarah Lajoie Barry Cox Alia Morash Contributing Writers Katie Davis David MacDonald Charlene Boyce Jamie Barrie Publisher AIDACA Media


116 Albert St, Suite 200 & 300, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 5G3 P: 613 699 6672 E:




THOSE WHO DINE TOGETHER, DESIGN TOGETHER PEKOTA Google ‘Marco Pecota’ right now. If you only scanned that Toronto Star article and you simply glanced at that Globe and Mail piece and took a quick peek at the IMDb page, I’ll save you the trouble of asking and just give you a simple answer: Yes, that’s all about the same Marco Pecota.







KIND+JUGEND TRADE SHOW FOR KIDS Messeplatz 1 - Cologne, Germany

September 15th-18th 2016

The leading international trade fair for the baby and toddler outfitting sector is regularly one of the most important industry meeting points worldwide. The quality of the exhibitors and visitors as well as the wide- ranging offer of standards, trends and novelties arouses curiosity.

Let yourself be inspired by the atmosphere, convinced by the many business options and impressed by the range offered - so that you can subsequently impress your own customers. And above all remain curious!

For more information visit

CHICAGO CASUAL MARKET 2016BC CRAFT BEER MONTH The Merchandise Mart - Chicago, Illinois, USA

September 20th-23rd 2016

For more than 35 years, Casual Market Chicago has been the most complete collection of furniture, trends and accessories for outdoor living. And, it’s the only show in North America dedicated to the casual and outdoor furnishings industry that is exclusively endorsed by the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA). Reconnect with longstanding business partners and meet new contacts at the Casual Market. The Casual Market Chicago is a four-day trade show that provides retailers with an outlet to find all things related to outdoor and casual living. Featuring the latest products and trends in the industry, the Casual Market features permanent showrooms and temporary exhibitors totaling approximately

350,000 square feet of exhibit in The Merchandise Mart. For more information visit

WHISTLER VILLAGE BEER FESTIVAL Whistler Olympic Plaza – Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

September 16th-18th 2016

Beer in the mountains – it just feels right. Join us for five days of beer fuelled fun with a main tasting event spanning two days, interesting seminars, unique cask nights, food pairing dinners and of course some great parties! We’ve got over 60 breweries joining us this year, which means 120+ beers need to be sampled – the bar has been raised. Join us for one of Canada’s best beer events and celebrate the mountains, the sunshine and of course some amazing ales.

For more information visit

INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW - IDS 2016 Vancouver Convention Centre – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

September 22nd-25th 2016

We are honoured to welcome individual designers, artists, makers and design-centric brands who have come together in Vancouver to showcase their current works, concepts and products. In addition to experiencing installations and features, there will also be opportunities to hear from some of the design world’s most notable and talented personalities and connect with a long list of world-class designers that either call Vancouver home, or call on Vancouver for inspiration. The Pacific Northwest has experienced a major design boom that has been especially embraced in Vancouver, where the design community has become vast and mighty. Now in its twelfth year, IDS Vancouver has had the utmost privilege of seeing it grow, supporting its members and championing it the world over. Please join us in September as we celebrate the creative and collaborative energy of the West Coast.

For more information visit



GRAPES AND GRAIN FESTIVAL Plaza of Nations – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Sample the best spirits, wine and beer from around the province. Enjoy live music and fare from Vancouver’s favourite food trucks. Relax in the picnic areas and take in the stunning False Creek views.

September 24th 2016

For more information visit

THE NOVA SCOTIA FALL IDEAL HOME SHOW Halifax Exhibition Centre – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada This is the only fall home show in the region, so if you’re looking for insight, inspiration and advice on all your home improvement and renovation needs, this is the place to be! Homeowners are increasingly choosing to renovate. If you’re considering an upgrade, this show will help you source energy efficient options, plan ahead for your renovations, and make sure you renovate right the first time. The Fall Ideal Home Show will be filled with quality professionals… find your next home improvement partner! For more information visit home-show-2016/

Sept 30th - Oct 2nd 2016

BREW LOOPS Multiple Locations – Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Sept 30th - Oct 2nd 2016

Brew Loops is a beer and bike festival celebrating Kamloops Culture. So what does this mean? Well simply that there are special events in locations all around the city over many days for you to enjoy. VIP Cask/Theatrically Inspired Event, Tailgate Style Outdoor Block Party, Tap Takeovers, Beer Knowledge Seminars, Home Brew Competition, Mountain Bike Races, Farmers Market Tasting, Guided Group Mountain Bike Rides. This is no convention center slosh-fest, this is a multi-day experience in beautiful Kamloops, BCwith some of the best beer, food and mountain biking the world has to offer.

For more information visit

BC HOP FEST 2016 Kinloch Farms - Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

October 1st 2016

BC Hop Company Ltd., the BC Craft Brewers Guild and our generous sponsors are proud partners in bringing 30 of the province’s BEST craft breweries and their fresh hopped beer together in this one of a kind event. BC Hop Company is proud to be providing fresh Sumas Prairie grown hops to many of the brewers attending- you can’t get much more “fresh” and local than that! The BC Craft Brewers Guild represents craft brewers from all over BC. Some are small and others smaller, but they all brew flavorful local beer with passion and dedication. The mission of the guild is to support the ongoing creation and discovery of truly great BC Craft Beer.

For more information visit



NOCTURNE: ART AT NIGHT Multiple Locations – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

October 13th-15th 2016

Nocturne: Art at Night is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax between 6 p.m.- midnight. The completely free annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene in Halifax. Nocturne, designed and planned by volunteers, is an opportunity for everyone to experience the art of Halifax in a whole new light. The Nocturne ProgramGuide provides details about exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city.

The Nocturne program and map guide residents and visitors alike to a variety of exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city.

Nocturne is a volunteer-run not-for-profit organization. We work on building partnerships with the city and area businesses and government organizations to bring the city access to art and wonder with no barriers. Every year the city of Halifax partners with Nocturne and that year’s curator to bring art and artists to create fixed points for the evening. These projects echo the year’s theme and create gathering spots to which to explore the festival from.

For more information visit

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FURNITURE & ACCESSORY MARKET Long Beach Convention Center - Long Beach, California, USA

November 9th-10th 2016

Come see what’s new and trending for 2016 at the Southern California’s only Furniture & Acces- sory event! Don’t miss the ALL NEW Southern California Furniture & Accessory Market, in Long Beach, easily accessible from throughout the region. Take advantage of incredible end-of-the- year promotions offered by the many furniture, bedding, and home decor/accessory wholesalers, importers & manufacturers display their products.

For more information visit

CONSTRUCT CANADA 2016 Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building – Toronto, Ontario, Canada The 28th Annual Construct Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 30th - December 2nd, 2016 will be held concurrently with PM Expo, HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo and World of Concrete Pavilion in the South Building, and IIDEXCanada in the North Building. All shows combined will create The Buildings Show, North America’s largest exposition, networking and educational event. Visit 1,600+ exhibits, including 100+ international exhibitors, bringing the latest in design and construction innovation in products, technologies, best practices and applications.

HIGH POINT MARKET Multiple Locations - High Point, North Carolina, USA

Nov 30th - Dec 2nd 2016

October 22nd-28th 2016

The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 85,000 people to High Point every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn’t exist.

Current Demographics •180 Buildings •11.5 Million Square Feet of Showspace • 5,000 Attendees Each Market •More Than 2000 Exhibitors •100+ Countries Represented •Tens of Thousands of New Product Introductions •Approximately 10% of Attendees Are International

For more information visit http://www.

For more information visit



IHMRS 2016 - INTERNATIONAL HOTEL/MOTEL & RESTAURANT SHOW Jacob K. Javits Convention Center – New York, New York, USA IHMRS, the world’s largest showcase and exchange of hospitality industry products, trends, and developments. International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show (IHMRS) is annual trade show in the hospitality industry. Each year, the trade show attracts every segment and facet of the hospitality industry. The trade show also unveils more than 1,000 exhibitors’ products and services and draws more than 35,000 attendees each year. The IHMRS also offers dozens of informative seminars, special events, displays, and features. The trade show exhibitors also showcase the newest products and services available to the hotel and restaurant industries, including food & beverage, furnishings, technology, equipment, linens, amenities, tableware, cleaning and much more. IHMRS attracts the hospitality industry’s most influential buyers from hotels, restaurants, purchasing companies, owner groups, design firms, catering and specialty food service establishments, dealerships, casinos, resorts andmore.

November 13th-15th 2016

For more information visit

IIDEX / NEOCON CANADA Metro Toronto Convention Centre – North Building – Toronto, Ontario, Canada IIDEXCanada is part of The Buildings Show which includes Construct Canada, PM Expo Toronto, World of Concrete Pavilion, HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo, and The Real Estate Forum Toronto. The Buildings Show is North America’s largest exposition, networking and education event for design, construction and real estate which attracts 1,600 exhibitors, world-class keynotes, 500 speakers, 350 seminars and tours, and 30,000 Canadian and International trade attendees including interior designers, architects, property managers, landscape architects, facility managers, builders, developers, real estate, suppliers, government, media, creative thinkers and corporate clients.

Nov 30th - Dec 2nd 2016

For more information visit






By David MacDonald I ’m no wine expert. In fact, had it not been for an old episode of Frasier I saw recently, I wouldn’t even have known that an oenophile is a connoisseur of wines. What I did know prior to speaking with Garcia could be described as half-knowledge. I knew, for instance, that red wines and white wines are supposed to be stored at different temperatures – red warmer than white. “The red wine has to be at 57 degrees and the white wine is usually between 53 and 54 degrees,” Garcia told me with expert specificity commanding his inflection. I knew that wine and the sun should have a bookend relationship: When it’s a grape and when it’s in a glass. “We recommend storing your wine in a basement, away from large windows and any significant sunlight or heat,” he said with an almost paternal concern. These were not the affectations of a salesman. Garcia’s not an aficionado with a paycheque. He grew up in Wine Country. “I’ve lived my whole life in Southern Ontario,” he said. “My family is here, the wineries, the machineries of the whole industry are here. It’s home.” According to the Wine Country Ontario Media Centre, 17.5 million litres of locally grown Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA) wines were sold in 2014 to the tune of $395 million CAD. These internationally recognized wines, grown on the Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore, lend a lot of clout to Wineracking Depot. The Huff Estates 2013 Pinot Noir or the Jackson- Triggs 2012 Delaine Syrah both come to mind. It is a sense of culture as much as it is a sense of business that drives Wineracking Depot. “I know that people who love beautiful wines love beautiful wine cabinets and racks. But not all wine lovers have spacious basements, or basements at all,” he conceded. “While we recommend basement-like environments, a sophisticated wine room doesn’t have to be down a set of stairs in a rustic cellar.” “That’s why they’re there, to get design ideas for their own layout.”

For John Garcia, owner of Wineracking Depot in Brampton, Ontario, it’s all about the layout. “When customers come into the showroom, they always like my layout. That’s why they’re there, to get design ideas for their own layout,” he said. Garcia’s 600 square feet showroom profiles, in what can only be described as an orderly eclectic fashion, 19 models of wine racks, coolers, and cabinets. From the beautiful 96 bottle Red Rack made from All Heart California Redwood – arguably the finest grade of Redwood – to the 900 cubic feet wine and pantry KoolR with a 53-64 degree Fahrenheit range, it’s a feast for the senses. And everything is stocked. The Red Rack, the digitally controlled 240 bottle Wine KoolR, all of it. It’s enough to turn an unwavering teetotaller into a thirsty oenophile.

“They’re affordable; they’re luxurious; they’re stackable and expandable; and they’re easy to install.”



for spaces up to 900 cubic feet and add a discreet modern accent to an ancient practice.

Wineracking Depot carries KoolR brand wine cabinets that range from 120 bottles to 500 bottles. These cabinets are not only temperature specific to meet all wine storage needs, they also advertise their contents. “They’re the perfect accent to living rooms, kitchens, or anywhere in your home,” Garcia insisted. “Some wine lovers belong to wine clubs and collect very specific vintages. For these customers, a bottle of wine can be like a trophy on a mantel. Well, we provide the best mantelpieces, I think.” “While we recommend basement-like environments, a sophisticated wine room doesn’t have to be down a set of stairs in a rustic cellar.” For collectors whose needs may go beyond the KoolR cabinet capacity – they do in fact produce an 800 bottle, three door, double deep cabinet that Garcia will happily special order – there are four easy answers: the KoolR Magnum, the NUVO upgrade, the WineKoolR upgrade, and the Magnum upgrade. These easy-to-install coolers are energy efficient solutions to basements with their own unique climates or to the room in your house that you’ve christened. Available in 120 Volt/60 Hertz and 220 Volt/50 Hertz configurations, these whisper quiet units are ideal

“Customers who buy coolers,” Garcia explained, “are usually interested in our racking – these are modular systems.” When used in tandem, the 48 and 32 inch high Redwood racks are as close to custom as it gets. “Private customers, home owners, restaurateurs, they all have needs and specifications and we’re able to make the RedRack system work for them. They’re affordable; they’re luxurious; they’re stackable and expandable; and they’re easy to install.” Affordable might be understating things. Winerack- ing Depot provides the lowest prices in the industry in Southern Ontario as well as competitive rates at their American and Chinese locations. “We can do this because of workforce productivity. Everything we assemble is generic, so my need for a particularly skilled or large staff just isn’t what it is at a custom manufacturer.” Garcia prefers the blank slate to the dilettante when it comes to bringing someone on board at the Winerack- ing Depot. “The only skill I look for is trainability,” he said. “I’ve hired a lot of people over the years and I’ve come to learn that honesty is the trait to look for. I want someone who honestly wants to absorb the day-to-day of this industry. Family people. Team players. These are the



people who know what it is to work as a group and that’s what I look for.”

With a warehouse that measures more than 6,000 square feet and a showroom that sees daily impromptu tours, communication and teamwork are essential. But it’s not just the size and duality of Wineracking Depot – which is slated for an expansion in 2017 – that makes collabo- ration key: It’s also Garcia’s same-day shipping guaran- tee. “It’s no longer next-day shipping or ship within three business days. If a customer orders their entire layout in the morning, then it’s going to be packed up and shipped out in the afternoon,” Garcia explained. In 23 years of business, Garcia says Wineracking Depot has grown by approximately 35%, but he feels like it’s due time for a growth spurt. “I spent the last eight years flying back and forth between Canada and China to grow the brand and during that time I’ve put a lot of thought into expanding our focus to finished wine rooms. That’s where we’re headed.” “My family is here, the wineries, the machineries of the whole industry are here. It’s home.”

Wine Cabinets • Wine Racks • Wine Cellar Cooling Units Wine Accessories • Crystal & Decanters Construction Services • Design Build 905-275-0979 • Toll Free: 1-888-253-6807






There aren’t a lot of business owners who recommend Google reviews to journalists. They’re notoriously unpredictable – the reviews and the reviewers themselves, that is. That’s why I was shocked when Jim Stringham, owner and co-founder of Apex Exteriors in South Beloit, Illinois, turned my attention to a largely unfettered medium to get the goods, so to speak, on his roofing and Insurance Restoration Company. Once I processed his recommendation, I was even more surprised. Think about it: A homeowner or business owner who has just suffered property damage or loss after a major ice storm, hail storm, tornado, flood, or fire is likely in a sensitive state. Professionalism and workmanship are under a magnified lens. But there they were: Glowing reviews, one after the other. “I have been using Apex for five years, starting with the repair of a flat roof that no one else would touch. This ended several years of leaking following other half-baked repairs,” writes R.N. “Every employee we worked with was professional, polite, and had excellent follow-up on all our inquiries,” says A.G.U. It goes on along this vein. Apparently the bedside manor Stringham fosters amongst his team is working wonders. Since its first project in 2006, Apex Exteriors has made the Inc. 5000 list twice and produced profits to the tune of over US $50 million in residential contracts alone.



By David MacDonald R oofing. Siding. Windows and doors. Gutters. Cultured stone. A three-year growth rate of 128%. Revenues that topped US $14 million in 2014. An A+ rating from the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Twice named one of America’s Top 500 remodelers by Inc. 5000, once coming in at 165. One of the Top 100 roofing companies in the United States, says Roofing Contractor Magazine. Number eight in Illinois, according to Qualified Remodeler Magazine. Sixty happy employees, including subcontractors. They put restoration first. They are one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. I could go on. Seriously. But like any ascent, it began at basecamp. “I have been using Apex for five years, starting with the repair of a flat roof that no one else would touch. This ended several years of leaking following other half-baked repairs.” “In the start, we didn’t have enough money for overhead,” Stringham explains from Apex Exteriors’ 5,000 square feet Corporate Office, “so we literally started in my mom’s basement. But it wasn’t long before we needed to make a move – the first of three. I actually got a credit line through my dad,” he recalls “and leased a bigger corporate office. This was a great fit for us but it really wasn’t long until we outgrew that office. Our third location was in a strip mall but we still didn’t have the space to accommodate our growing team. Now, our office in Illinois has a training room, board rooms, and different offices for everyone here at Apex.”

Apex Exteriors also operates an office in Houston, Texas along with eight satellite offices throughout the United States. “All the satellite offices are between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet. We have two Field Supervisors and 10 Sales Reps and these offices are their stomping grounds. Everything is cloud-based now, which means that once their work orders are complete, they submit everything directly to the corporate offices through Acculynx. After the orders are verified by the team at corporate, they are sent along to ABC Supply or SRS Distribution and then our subcontractors can get to work – but it all starts in our satellite offices.” Acculynx is a “cloud-based construction management software designed with the Specialty Trade Contractor in mind” ( ABC Supply is “America’s largest distributor or roofing, siding, window and gutter materials, tools and supplies” (; SRS Distribution is “a roofing distri- bution company that includes over 161 locations in 39 States” ( “Where these recognitions, awards, and solid supply lines – our success, really – translate to savings for Apex customers,” Stringham explains, “is through things like our platinum membership with Owen’s Corning – they don’t just give these away. The status that comes with belonging to the Owens Corning Roofing Preferred Con- tractor program allows us to offer a lifetime warranty to homeowners – they’ll honor it for 50 years. And when these kinds of perks are backed-up by a five billion dollar company, it’s quite a good thing for homeowners.” In this line of work, empathy is a must. Stringham has it for his customers, homeowners and business owners alike. “We deal with thousands of customers a year. There will always be people who need help after storms. El Niño, for instance, has really played a role in us reaching out to more customers. Unfortunately, drastic storms are becoming more and more prevalent – but we’re not going to stand down because of Mother Nature. The more big firms we partner with, the more people we can help rebuild and restore,” he says. When asked about the expansion he’s suggesting, String- ham was quick to delve into Apex’s recruitment practices and corporate culture. “We work with people who follow one simple credo: If you don’t get it right the first time, follow up and make sure that the end product is what you would want for you and your family. This applies in the field and in the office. We look for self-motivated people when we’re bringing a new team member on board; people with fortitude. Experience comes with effort.”

Apex’s subcontractors, Stringham says, are highly moti-



vated by his simple approach: Where there’s effort, there’s work. “If the effort is there; if you can consistently produce quality results for us, we will have work for you – through thick and thin. That’s why our subcontractors stay with us. Our Sales Reps are always looking to put the right team on the job.” Stringham knows when he’s got it good, which explains why employee retention is a strategy at Apex Exteriors rather than an outcome. “Keeping our employees happy year after year is a priority for us. We make sure they’re able to make a living here at Apex, even during down times. During the financial crisis of ’07-’08, the housing market took a big hit but we were able to keep our team nearly intact. Apex is just that kind of environment,” says Stringham. The corporate culture at Apex Exteriors is not the only envi- ronment Stringham is concerned about. The enormous volume of roofing contracts that the Apex team took on in the early days of the company quickly made him realize how many roofing shingles wind up in landfills. “We did a little lobbying and developed a program to eliminate our impact on the environment as much as possible,” he explains. “No matter where we are in the United States, this program makes it possible to find a recycling plant that takes the old shingles from a restoration job and pro- cesses them for use on roads and even as mulch. Either way they don’t end up sitting in a landfill.” “Keeping our employees happy year after year is a priority for us. We make sure they’re able to make a living here at Apex, even during downturns. During the financial crisis of ’07-’08, the housing market took a big hit but we were able to keep our team nearly intact. Apex is just that kind of environment.” It is these feel-good moments that make it all worth the time and effort for Stringham. “You’re always making a contribution and a difference in this industry, but it’s not necessarily the bigger commercial jobs that bring you the most personal satisfaction. It’s that call you get from a homeowner who was left high and dry by a dishonest con- tractor or someone who did some shoddy work. Saving the day in these situations, literally getting the roof over their head, is really rewarding,” he reflects. Well into their tenth year, Apex Exteriors continues to grow from the ground up. “It’s the hard work of the whole team, down to the last guy who puts his tools away for the day or the Sales Rep sending off that last email. That’s how we stay above the rest.”

“The status that comes with belonging to the Owens Corning Roofing Preferred Contractor program allows us to offer a lifetime warranty to homeowners – they’ll honor it for 50 years. And when these kinds of perks are backed-up by a five billion dollar company, it’s quite a good thing for homeowners.”



Late in the summer of 1998, Huzefa Tinwala was at home in Mumbai, India packing his bags for the next big step in his education. He found himself in the midst of the existential angst that international students experience before embarking on their journey – but it was short lived. Earlier in the year, he had been accepted into The Master of Science in Construction Management degree program at Texas A&M and had since been dreaming of the opportunities that such an education would afford him. He and his brother, Mark, had been raised around metalwork: their grandfather and father were in the brass, tin, and zinc manufacturing business where they produced commercial items like oil drums and metal doors before concentrating solely on stainless steel doors and railings. “That’s how we learned about the subtle disciplines we’re in now,” Tinwala explains. These “subtle disciplines” are what make Viva Railings, based in Carrollton, Texas, so unique and so successful. Tinwala and his Modular Railing Systems team specialize in Design, Engineering, Fabrication, and Installation. This “one- stop shop approach,” as he puts it, has led to a 140% three-year growth rate since 2013, thanks in part to the clout of multi-million dollar projects.





By David MacDonald E ven before Huzefa’s graduation day at A&M in 2004, the Tinwala brothers had identified a viable segment of the U.S. market in which they had an extensive background: Railings, as in the noun, meaning “a barrier consisting of a rail and supports” (Merriam Webster). The very feel that comes with reading the scholarly defini- tion conjures up images of pre-war school dormitories with daunting staircases that could easily be punned-off as scarecases. You know the ones: Interconnected, over- painted iron baluster designs that seemed to serve an obstructive purpose aimed at blocking both opportuni- ties at socializing and sunlight. Viva Railings changes all of that with modern contemporary designs, weld-free modular design, limitless design options, in-fill choices ranging from glass to cable, and floating corners. “When Mark initially moved the business from India to Texas in 2001, he already had so much experience under his belt. During his formative years, Mark helped our dad run the door manufacturing business and would later take over the reins of the India operation. When we started in 2005,” Huzefa explains, “we recognized that there were a limited number of companies in the railing game. The limited competition meant, among other things, that there was room for ingenuity. I think for too long custom- ers were taken advantage of by extremely high-priced lines that offered more or less the same old, same old. That’s how we got our foot in the door.” The way Huzefa sees it, Viva Railings has been a competi- tor from day one for two reasons: architectural aesthetics and safety. “We take a minimalistic approach,” he says. The VIVA iRAIL perfectly exemplifies this marriage of form and function. “It is an illuminated product with LED [light- emitting diode] components within the rail. It takes the handrail or railing and turns it into a proper light fixture, thus eliminating the need for external sources. By com- bining two elements into one, the architect and building occupants now have a lighted path on the path of egress. That’s safety that creates an architectural element. And LED always means extremely long life, and low power consumption. We offer this product in varying intensities of light, white, yellow, cool, warm, pool light – we have all of these options. What’s more, this system can be used with any other railing systems.” These “other railing systems” are equally versatile. The SOLO system installed at the Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, for instance, was a complete 180. “That’s how we learned about the subtle disciplines we’re in now.”



According to, SOLO “is an ultra-mini- malistic design . . . uniquely designed with a cohesive flow & multi-function parts. This system is comprised of a single stainless steel “Blade” post mounted via custom designed stand-offs.” The typical in-fill for the SOLO system is SOLO-GLASS (Tempered Glass), which is normally installed “with the glass on the inside with the posting on the outside,” Huzefa explains, “but they wanted the reverse. They wanted the glass to be on the outside and then all the way down the slab edge. We were able to make these custom changes by working closely with the general contractors.” The SHOE system – “a structural glass balustrade system with a patented compression set aluminum base shoe system” is another popular choice amongst customers. Accompanied by the SHOE Glass Railing – an “architec- tural railing solution [that] provides fall protection barrier without obstruction to view or an unsightly barrier” ( – this system provides a flow condu- cive to contemporary “institutional, office, and hospitality layouts,” Tinwala explains. Not to be outdone, the newest addition to the Glass Railing systems at Viva Railings, SABRE, has been making a big impact out of the gate.

“We take a minimalistic approach.”

Essentially, SABRE is “a structural glass railing system with a unique Sabre Tooth shaped post with. . . Tempered glass . . . or Laminated glass railing . . . designed to have a single rail that performs as a handrail at the stairs and a



guardrail at level runs” (

with their order was the icing on the cake.

“The first SABRE project for us was the West Romig Library in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s actually the second biggest library in the State. We worked alongside Cor- nerstone Contractors and Kumin Architecture on this job – and it was a big one,” says Huzefa. “This library is used by the 2,500 students who make up West High School and Romig Middle School in that city. They were inter- ested in something new and unique, so we pitched our newest product. Because the school district wanted to keep the cost under control, they requested segmented as opposed to bent glass on the corners. We’re able to customize in this way for all of our customers. The final product is so impressive because we collaborated on so many levels.” “The limited competition meant, among other things, that there was room for ingenuity. I think for too long customers were taken advantage of by extremely high-priced lines that offered more or less the same old, same old. That’s how we got our foot in the door.” SABRE, in many ways, is the offspring of VIEW, an earlier Glass Railing System developed by the Tinwalas and their team. VIEW is a “system comprised of ½ inch (minimum) tempered glass and fascia mounted fixed point holders in stainless steel” ( that has made trudging through campus a well-lit and aesthetically pleasing expe- rience for employees, students, and visitors at California State University and Baylor Business School, just to name a couple of campuses. And if any graduates from these prestigious institutions find themselves amongst the rank and file of folks who make the AAA (American Automo- bile Association) Headquarters in Dallas, Texas go-round, there is good reason that your workplace reminds you of your collegiate days: That is a VIEW Glass Railing System. It is these kinds of ostentatious displays that help Viva Railings grow organically. Commercial giants looking to rise higher with their very own high-rise tend to take a second look at the building down the block with the street view that includes an LED-lit path of egress – it is pleasing and assuring. The four-tier business model at Viva Railings – Design, Engineering, Fabrication, and Installation – is a winning combination. Just ask the San Diego International Airport Consolidated Rental Car Facility. They went with a BLADE Stainless Steel Railing System, “designed with two 2 in. wide vertical bars, with a cube cap at top and barrel bolts at bottom” ( The accompanying Blade BIM (Building information modeling) Model that came

Viva Railings is a debt-free company operating in 14,000 square feet in Carrolton, Texas with national reach. Viva Railings also operates a satellite office in Mumbai, India that has overseen in-town projects including the Orbit Arya luxury residential tower and the luxurious Signature by Samraat development in Nashik.





Some people have a tendency to cover up personal inaction with pretense. We’ve all been in line behind “that guy” at a coffee chain, lecturing his friend about the virtues of buying local, with his left hand authoritatively gesturing to an invisible orchestra, while his right hand clasps a big-box store plastic bag, exploding with obvious impulse purchases. That guy couldn’t hold a candle to the folks at RoofCARE, in New Mexico. For this team, Sustainability is not a self-serving rhetorical device; it’s a business practice. And apparently, it’s an approach that residents of the Land of Enchantment are warming up to.



By David MacDonald A t its core, the term Sustainable means “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level,” explains Louis Zaina, CEO and co-founder of RoofCARE. “Sadly, our industry is one of the least sustainable around. The roofing industry as a whole tends to default to tear-off and replacement as the answer to most roofing problems. Far too often, roofs are replaced prematurely. As a result, tons of perfectly functional roof systems end up in landfills, often replaced by less sustainable systems. RoofCARE’s commitment to taking the time to assess and diagnose roofs enable us to present the client with the ability to focus on correcting only the failed components, which typically constitute less



than 20% of the existing roof system. This approach not only keeps roofs out of landfills, but often includes the ability to convert a non-reflective roof to an Energy Star Rated roof. This typically results in a 15% reduction in cooling costs. We are proud that our approach promotes both fiscal and environmental stewardship.” This twofold stewardship is what Zaina and co-founders Tony Bunnell and Milt Freer had in mind from the very beginning in April 2008. As they met in hotel lobbies and used a storage unit for equipment and materials and dispatching the crews these gentlemen recognized “too many in the roofing industry adopt and adapt popular business models that emphasize expedited services” Zaina explained. “There were few, if any roofing contractors focusing on service work [maintenance and repairs] and we felt we could fill that much-needed niche in the local roofing market. RoofCARE takes the time to gather the necessary infor- mation, perform detailed inspections and conduct a variety of diagnostic tests. Without these vital steps, we wouldn’t be able to make proper recommendations to our clients. For instance, in certain situations, we will take core samples of the roof system to analyze its physical makeup and condition, conduct infrared ther- mography scans and utilize moisture

scanners to determine if there’s moisture in the system. These steps are crucial in proposing sustainable, cost effective solutions that will perform long-term.”

“Far too often, roofs are replaced prematurely. As a result, tons of perfectly functional roof systems end up in landfills, often replaced by less sustainable systems. RoofCARE’s commitment to taking the time to assess and diagnose roofs enable us to present the client with the ability to focus on correcting only the failed components, which typically constitute less than 20% of the existing roof system.” The SmartCARE program, offered throughout RoofCARE’s New Mexico and West Texas service area is the ultimate manifestation of Zaina, Bunnell and Freer’s sustainable vision. “We developed SmartCARE to more effectively manage the roofing asset. It is designed to proactively manage the lifespan of roofs, which saves building owners from the unpredictable costs and stress of a reactive approach. In addition to huge financial savings, this program allows building owners and/or managers to gain an understanding of their roofing



inventories and make educated decisions to properly maintain them. SmartCARE is available in three tiers with the option of multiple add-on services, meaning it can be customized for any situation. Services within the program include a 5-year management plan, preventative mainte- nance, warranty options and leak repairs at no additional cost,” he says. “SmartCARE is available in three tiers with the option of multiple add-on services, meaning it can be customized for any situation. Services within the program include a 5-year management plan, preventative maintenance, warranty options and leak repairs at no additional cost.” A preventative approach over a reactive one just seems more honest, more tactful. What’s more, it’s proof that RoofCARE walks the talk. The company’s stated purpose: “Truth in Roofing,” and vision: “No roof replaced before its time” guide everything – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed



by the sort of folks who appreciate active and ongoing civic consciousness. “We love clients that value what we specialize in and invite us back over and over again,” Zaina explains. “Some of our Public School clients utilize SmartCARE for their entire district,” Zaina explains. “We have seen great success from these partnerships. The Facilities Management staff love the fact that their roofs are covered under the program and that they don’t have to deal with the unexpected costs and stress associated with reactive roofing. Clients consistently report a 90% reduction in reactive costs following the implementa- tion of SmartCARE.” Unfortunately, many homeowners and business owners are caught in the vicious cycle of planned obsolescence and succumb to the pressures of the reactive roofing sales pitch. Zaina wants these future clients to know that “There are several differentiators that separate us from other roofing contractors, starting with our core business model, which sets out to take the proper approach to roofing and in the process, save the customer from the drawbacks of reactive roofing. We invest significantly in safety, training and professional development for our staff. We strive to deliver excep- tional customer service and high quality work. We’re also big proponents of marketing the field of roofing as a career to a younger audience.” Zaina believes that “The industry will benefit from fresh, creative perspec- tives and diversity of thought. We say, invest in them and believe in them, even when they don’t believe in themselves. Helping people discover their calling is a special responsibility for small business owners.” There’s another reason RoofCARE stands a head higher than the competition. In 2012, Zaina and his team began what has become an annual philanthropic event called the Roof Angel Project, wherein RoofCARE donates their services to a local non-profit organization – like the Center Against Family Violence or the Albuquerque Rescue Mission – in need of roof repairs. “We also raise aware- ness for their cause in the process” he explains. A quick YouTube search for the Roof Angel Project will show you what he means. “We fulfill our moral duty by giving back to the communities we call home” says Zaina. “We love clients that value what we specialize in and invite us back over and over again.” Quality service coupled with community service is a powerful combo. We’ve got a lot of other exciting things going on right now, like the new website” says Zaina. “It’s optimized for mobile devices, has a fresh new design and is easier to navigate, thanks to a refined menu and

page structure. We have a page for each of our services, a photo and video gallery, a page where customers can submit a Free Inspection Request and several others that customers can explore to learn more about RoofCARE and how we operate. We’re also planning on continuing our expansion into West Texas. Setting up a branch that State is the next logical step.” The team at RoofCARE won’t be taking this big step without precedence. First, they’re planning to set up a satellite office in Southeast New Mexico. “We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to open a branch in that area for a while. Once we have an office and ware- house space there, that branch will act as the hub location for clients throughout Southeast NM and parts of West Texas. That will allow us to serve them more efficiently,” Zaina explains. While we’re on the growth note, RoofCARE has experi- enced a 58% growth rate since 2013. Quite simply, Zaina attributes their success to “Our people.” While he holds to the solid business model that he, Bunnell and Freer dreamed up and brought to life, he knows that “it is only as good as the employees that are executing it daily. From the very beginning, RoofCARE has been committed to hiring the best and brightest, delegating the workload and measuring the results. Our standards are quite high, which actually results in slower, more manageable growth. We believe in our model, so we are always looking for top talent to join the team.” Zaina’s belief in the new guy is genuine. As the founding trio sat in hotel lobbies in the early days with Blackberry phones and work orders in hand, they were rookies. Their enrolment and subsequent rental of their first space in the WESST Enterprise Center in August 2009 was beyond integral. The WESST Incubation Program provided opera- tional support, business development consulting, training and other resources that help accelerate growth during the critical start-up phase. Since then, they’ve graduated from the WESST Program, opened a branch in Las Cruces, NM, and moved their corporate office and Albuquerque Branch to a space three times larger than before. They really do know why helping someone find their calling is so rewarding.



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