Robert Gockeler, president of KraftMaster Renovations, Chatham, N.J., has won the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He received the award and the $10,000 first prize on May 7 in Arlington, Va., during the annual banquet that concluded the Remodeling Leadership Conference.
Established by Fred Case, the founder, co-chairman, and CEO of Case Design/Remodeling, the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes individuals in the remodeling industry for their business acumen, company financial strength, community and industry involvement, and entrepreneurial spirit.
Gockeler was selected from four finalists. The others were Peter DiStefano, president, DiStefano Brothers Construction, Wakefield, R.I.; Hector Kusnier, president, K&B Home Remodelers, Succasunna, N.J.; and Mike West, owner, West Construction, Avon Lake, Ohio. Each of them plus Gockeler received a plaque and $2,500 prize check
KraftMaster is a 6-year-old business that in 2014 posted $1.8 million in revenue. Bruce Case, president of Case Design/Remodeling and the leader of the three-person panel picking the prize winner, said Gockeler stood out for several reasons. For one, KraftMaster has developed a process to mitigate what it refers to a "Demo Day Disasters." Every job starts with a walkthrough conducted with the client so that an inventory is taken and expectations are aligned. In addition, one day before demolition begins, KraftMaster puts out dust-protection cloths, sets up a staging area and dumpster, and installs a portable restroom.
Gockeler's company also was cited for its extensive use of social media, which led to $867,567 in sales last year. The company has extensive connections and followers on LinkedIn, Facebook Houzz, and Twitter, and it posts thousands of photos online.
"Lots of us talk about or are trying to figure out how to have time for social media, not to mention questioning the return on investment," Bruce Case said at the awards dinner. "Bob and his team have figured it out."
Aside from the awards, Gockeler also will be featured in September's issue of Remodeling.