He learned the mechanics of remodeling from his dad, vocational school, the carpenters union, and the business he ran with his brother for 15 years, but it’s the strength of Tim Lemke’s trustworthy personality that keeps his company solid even in difficult times.
Though his most profitable projects are full bathroom remodels, “I’ll change light bulbs for older clients,” should they ask, Lemke (second from right) says. Nor is he above small jobs such as installing storm doors and replacing windows, thanks to an “extreme database” of past projects that helps him estimate with near-scientific precision. “We’ve done so many, we know the hours,” he says.
The consistent financial stability that comes from running such a tight ship inspires confidence among clients and his “close-knit family” of staff and partners, Lemke says. He describes his trade contractors as “extremely loyal,” noting that he has known some of them for decades, since working for his dad. “We pay well and on time, so if we need something in a hurry, they’re going to be there.”
Lemke nurtures his network outside the office as well. A dedicated supporter of vocational education, he funds a trade school scholarship for local teenagers. Community service includes projects such as building a wheelchair ramp for an injured child.
And yet, as busy as he is, Lemke manages to get away from the office 20 to 40 days a year. “It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it,” he says.
- Leah Thayer