Our Atlanta Design & Build team recently had the pleasure of visiting the Overseas Hardwood Company (OHC), the parent company of Timbertown, one of our building material partners. Team members traveled to Mobile, Alabama during the first week of August where we were treated to a tour of the OHC plant facilities and a day of fishing on Dauphin Bay! The team really enjoyed getting to know the OHC and Timbertown crew members during these fast-paced, but very rewarding couple of days. Our sincere thanks to Luckett Robinson and his brother Gregory, owners of OHC. They were wonderful hosts and fabulous chefs! We hope you enjoy clicking through the pictures of our trip below.
Atlanta Design & Build is proud to be included in Qualified Remodeler magazine’s 2017 Top 500 ranking that recognizes the nation’s largest, most successful remodeling companies. In addition, we are a part of 2017’s Remodeling 550 listing of the biggest and best remodeling firms compiled by Remodeling magazine. It is a great honor for us to be on both of these highly esteemed lists. Many thanks to our terrific clients and employees for your part in making us the business we are today!
Once again this summer, Atlanta Design & Build (ADB) sponsored Project Manager Sydney Contant-Nunes as a keynote speaker and hands-on instructor for Gwinnett Technical College’s MAGIC (Mentoring a Girl in Construction) Camp. The program, established by contractor Renee Conner in 2007, has now expanded to four different locations in Georgia. It is a free, one-week day camp designed to introduce high school girls to exciting careers in construction.
(Photo above shows Sydney in the lab, explaining how to use the brad nailer to attach the sides of the box. The girls were walked through the project before they began.)
Three years ago, Kathleen Torrance, who is a Lab Assistant in Residential Construction and Carpentry at Gwinnett Technical College, contacted the NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Atlanta office. She spoke to Executive Director Jesse Morado, who then called H. Dale Contant of ADB to ask if Sydney would be interested in getting involved in MAGIC Camp. “Sydney was willing from the very beginning,” Kathleen stated. “She had the courage to come out of her comfort zone to help.”
Each of the five days of camp is focused on a different construction specialty, so the girls get a broad exposure to the industry. Monday is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training day that helps the girls develop a safety-first attitude. Tuesday is carpentry day. Wednesday is electrical day where they learn to do basic wiring. Thursday is split into morning and afternoon sessions with emphases on welding and using heavy equipment. Friday the girls tour an active construction job site. Friday there is also a banquet for students and parents, during which time the girls’ projects are displayed and a highly regarded industry professional is the speaker.
Sydney’s role in past years has been as keynote speaker on carpentry day. It can be a tough challenge to walk into a classroom and face a group of high school girls who have not yet become cohesive, since it is only their second day of camp. This summer, however, Kathleen asked if Sydney could also be one of those who is responsible to instruct the girls in the carpentry lab before the lecture, and she agreed. “It was a wonderful time,” Kathleen exclaimed. “Sydney is very experienced, comfortable with tools, so encouraging, and sets the girls at ease. They loved her in the lab, and afterwards they were glad to listen to her talk. Although they were polite, they asked so many questions that she could barely make it through her presentation!”
Our clients’ 1960s split-level home in Chamblee was outdated in its appearance and the way it functioned for the family. Years of wear-and-tear were visible, causing our client to exclaim, “Our house is falling apart!”
As is typical of a split-level, the layout of the main floor consisted of four small rooms. These compartmentalized little spaces made the home feel disjointed and cramped. The very low ceiling also contributed to a perception that the walls were closing in. Numerous doorways and walls caused congestion points and prevented good traffic flow throughout the space. This design prevented the family from having sufficient living area where everyone could gather together for large family dinners. Our clients were not even using all of the rooms on the main floor, and they were quite sure that removing walls would make the space work better for them. One of the tiny rooms on the main floor was the kitchen. “The kitchen was not our style,” explains our client. “The floor was covered in white tile with white grout, which is completely unsuitable for an active family.”
With the Atlanta Design & Build design team and an expert kitchen designer, we were able to make our clients’ existing cramped and small space become an extraordinary and functional kitchen, dining area and family room. They always wanted a tall vaulted ceiling, but that wasn’t possible because their current ceiling framing was made of manufactured trusses which could not be manipulated or altered. So we had to literally remove and raise the roof. We captured the essence of what they wanted and provided their open floor plan.
“Dale listened to our issues and ideas,” our client states. “He provided feedback and guidance and came up with a great design to open up the space and make everything work better for our family. He worked with us to translate our needs into our dream space.”
We are very pleased that Preston Sneed, Jr. (better known simply as Jr) has returned to work as a Carpenter for Atlanta Design & Build (ADB) after a five-year absence. We missed him!
Jr was born in Fort Benning, GA while his dad was in the military. His dad retired when Jr was seven years old, and the family moved to Marietta where Jr has lived ever since. As a young man, Jr was given the opportunity to assist his brother-in-law and ADB team member, Jamie Franks, with some small side projects. This was Jr’s first taste of construction and he really enjoyed it.
After high school, Jr felt under pressure to attend college because our culture emphasizes so strongly the importance of a college degree in order to be successful. He decided to attend Chattahoochee Technical College in General Studies, but he didn’t stay long. The classroom experience was tiresome for him and there was no program of study that captured his imagination and enthusiasm.
Today, Jr realizes the value of spending time figuring out what type of person you are before you choose college or the trades. He understands now that he prefers physical activity over sitting in a classroom or office all day doing mental exercises. He feels that not everyone is cut out for college—some people are more naturally inclined to physical labor. “I’m a doer,” Jr said. “I enjoy being outside and working with my hands. I’m a hands-on person.”
When Jr turned 18, Jamie Franks recommended him to H. Dale Contant and he was hired as a member of Atlanta Design & Build’s construction team. He stayed with ADB for six years, then he decided to try something different. Jr went to work for a lawn care company doing weed control and fertilization for five years. He describes that work as boring and mundane compared to the construction work he had been doing for ADB.
Returning to Atlanta Design & Build as a Carpenter
Jr is very pleased to have rejoined the team with ADB in February of this year. He enjoys the great sense of accomplishment he receives from his construction work, which he didn’t get from his lawn care job. “I take a lot of pride in the work I do,” exclaims Jr. “I love seeing the beautiful finished results of all our efforts. And I like knowing that I’m serving others by helping to build great additions and new bathrooms that delight the homeowners.”
2017 has been a great year! We’re excited to report that Atlanta Design & Build is growing and has had the pleasure of adding new members to our expert team. Please welcome Carl Davis, who joined Atlanta Design & Build as an apprentice seven months ago.
A Talent for Construction from an Early Age
Carl was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. When he was sixteen years old, Carl became acquainted with a preacher named Jimmy Dickerson who was actively involved in residential remodeling. Dickerson was busily putting up doors and windows for his customers and needed someone to assist him. So, Carl began working for him and discovered that he really enjoyed construction.
He worked for Dickerson on and off for ten years learning how to frame houses. He kept his eyes open, watched everything else going on around him, and in this way he started picking up on the trades. Other people began asking Carl to help them with their remodeling projects, so he found himself engaged in sheetrock work, painting and roofing. But framing continued to be his strong point.
In addition to construction work, Carl has a deep attraction to cooking. After high school, he attended the Virginia College in Mobile, studying in their Culinary Arts program to become a professional chef. Upon graduation, he began working for the Kitchen on George restaurant located on George Street in Mobile. This fine dining restaurant is focused on serving fresh, locally sourced and seasonal cuisine featuring fresh Gulf seafood. Carl worked there for about a year, along with several other graduates from the Culinary Arts program. He began to feel there wasn’t really a future for him in this field. He started once more working in the field of carpentry.
Starting Work with Atlanta Design & Build
Carl decided to move to Atlanta, having heard there were more construction job opportunities there. As he spent time searching, he filled in with jobs at IHOP and the Wing Factory. He was residing in a shelter in Atlanta when he first met H. Dale Contant. After performing some weekend work at his home, Dale encouraged Carl to interview for a job with Atlanta Design & Build on Monday morning. He was then invited to start work for ADB the following Monday.
Carl’s official title at Atlanta Design & Build is Carpenter Apprentice. He is skilled at installing windows, doors, framing walls inside and outside, and sometimes frames roofs as well. He also assists in building decks, does clean up, and whatever is required for completing a client’s project. His first time installing Brazilian wood on a deck amazed him. “With standard wood decking, you just pound the nails through the wood,” exclaims Carl. “This Brazilian wood has to be pre-drilled! The wood is so expensive that we had to measure everything with great care. It was quite a challenge, but the end result is incredible!”
“What I enjoy most about working for Atlanta Design & Build is the people—the crew,” said Carl. “They put a smile on your face from the minute you walk in the door. ADB invited me to their Christmas party and gave me a Christmas bonus after just one month on the job. I couldn’t believe it!”
Carl feels especially grateful for Dale giving him the opportunity to find his strong points, to help him learn new things, and to potentially become a project manager someday. Carl has already taken several classes—current building codes, lighting, business practices—and ADB has paid for them all. Carl doesn’t have a car yet, so he rides a bicycle to work—a mile and a half—every morning, and he’s usually one of the first ones at work! “Dale is always kindly checking on me to see how I’m doing. I call him my ‘father-away-from-home’. Every day is a challenge, but I thank the Lord that He keeps me steady.”
Outside of Work
Carl’s wife and 13-year-old daughter have now joined him in Atlanta. They’re very proud of Carl for the wonderful job he has. One of their favorite activities to do together as a family is to shop. Carl used to love to shop, but he says these days he’s slowed up on it. So he just gives them his wallet and lets them go at it, while he holds the shopping bags.
Outside of work, Carl still enjoys cooking and trying his hand at preparing different kinds of food. He likes to cook wild game that he picks up at the farmer’s market. One of his future goals is to cook rattlesnake, turtle and unusual organ meats. Yum!