Master Remodelers Company History – A Story of Growth
Regis McQuaide launched Master Remodelers in the fall of 1988 with a truckload of tools, his college degree and longtime love of design and construction. Add to that his college and professional football experience, plus sales work for local and Fortune 500 companies.
Rege still chuckles that one of his first customers involved a trade deal: she would design his logo & identity and he would remodel her kitchen!
In the beginning…
After high school, Regis went on to earn a B.A. in Communications from Michigan State, where he also had a ‘full-ride’ football scholarship. During his years on the team, Michigan State was a Big 10 Conference Champion. After graduation the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him, but he decided after a year that football was not his career track.
For the next 7 years he held positions in sales and management at Pitt Chemical, Pepsi Cola Bottling Group and Tonka Toys.
Then in 1988 he decided to pursue a love he had since his teenage years; it was one that he gained while remodeling apartments that he and his family owned. Looking back at 1988, Regis recalls that “I had to do a multitude of jobs myself, from accounting to estimating, from marketing to sales. The first 2 years we had one employee—me. I did a lot of masonry work, including pointing, to pay the bills.” In 1990 the company took a big step forward with the hiring of a foreman, Mark Stadterman. This would enable the company to grow and attract skilled craftsmen.
Innovations for growth starting in 1999
In 1999, Regis McQuaide implemented his version of a Lead Carpenter System. Now decisions would be made in the field, by a combination supervisor, coordinator and master carpenter. Also in that year he moved the business into a building he purchased in Castle Shannon. He now had a real office, equipment storage, shop facility, ample parking and room for future growth.
According to Regis “We needed to grow the company; we needed to attract people to work for us. I couldn’t work out of the home any longer and was tired of renting warehouses and moving periodically.” This move would enable the company to take on bigger and better jobs more efficiently.
In 2001, the company advanced its design capabilities with the purchase of a CAD system (Computer Aided Drafting) for its draftsman. The next year the company incorporated under the name MASTER REMODELERS, INC./Regis McQuaide & Company.
That same year Regis also brought on board a full time architectural designer/project manager— Junko Higashibeppu. Educated in Japan, she had been a principle in a construction company that closed shop; she had impeccable credentials and a proven track record—one that Regis felt could help him win awards.
Awards begin mounting in 2008, plus more innovation
The very first award had come for a whole house renovation for a Korean family in Fox Chapel. Regis remembers an event the family staged at completion: “They honored a Korean custom of house blessings and a party to celebrate. Prayers were said over the house. Korean foods included squid and sushi. Very memorable!”
By the end of 2007 the company had won 9 awards; three more would come in 2008.
In December 2010, the company won four awards in one night!
By the end of 2012, the company had garnered a total of 22… and 26 by the end of 2013, our 25th Anniversary year.
In 2008, at Junko’s urging, Master Remodelers added Chief Architect 3D design software to its digital toolkit to supplement its CAD program. It has proven to be a great communication tool, in part because homeowners could now virtually experience their new kitchen, bath or addition design.
“Our 3D design software brings a customer’s Dream and plans to life, including as a walk- or fly-through.”
Also in 2008 the company hired a marketing firm to, first, update its brand image. The firm developed a new logo that spotlights the company’s four key areas of the business—Design & Planning, Construction, Sustainability and Craftsmanship.
Since then the company’s online presence has greatly expanded, first with a new website and later with social media and online advertising. Staging events and garnering publicity has also brought Master Remodelers expanded recognition in the marketplace.
Getting on board with Home Performance
Also in 2008, Regis McQuaide joined the home remodeling sustainability movement, often called Home Performance. Through what he calls “dumb luck,” he walked into an Affordable Comfort Institute show at the Hilton at about the time green wave had started to crest. Rege explained: “I learned a lot about applying science to residential homes. It all made sense too.”
That summer he undertook an intensive course of study and became a Certified Building Analyst, joined the Green Building Alliance and began offering home energy audits.
“Through the years we’ve always benefited from education; we disseminate the information down through the crews…”
“… We’re always looking for education to open up opportunities for us and asking how can we apply it to our business model. In the case of green remodeling, how we can improve both the efficiency and health of our customers’ homes.” In 2009, Canadian Brady Shields joined the office team and currently leads the Home Performance initiative for the company.
In 2012, Rege finished the whole-house renovation of his own home, which achieved the status of Energy Star Certified Home, and subsequently won 3 awards.
Reflections on the business
Regis McQuaide says “We succeed by providing value to customers with fair pricing, a great design-build process, and great customer service…”
“I love it when customers become good friends and we maintain long-term relationships.”
One ongoing educational experience that Regis values greatly is participation in the national Remodelers Roundtable. He’s part of a group of a dozen non-competing peers from around the country that meet twice a year and talk every month on the phone. They provide each other peer support, share best practices, and meet with some of the top minds, remodelers and experts in the remodeling industry.
Finally, Regis emphasizes that “We are so proud of the loyalty and dedication of our employees. Our in-house crews are the heart and soul of this company. And given our belief in the value of education, we give them every opportunity to grow and develop their skills…
“A huge thanks to all of our craftsman for their help in getting us where we are today.”