Q: How did you get involved in the remodeling industry?
A: I was in management at a local grocery store for years, and I was getting tired of it. My father-in-law was a carpenter and my dad was a machinist so their influences made me a technical carpenter. I did a lot of carpentry work on the side. My father-in-law knew Kenneth Lehr, owner of Aluminum Associates. Lehr hired me, and I worked for him for about a year and a half before he asked me whether I was interested in buying the company. I was 25. I tell people I bought the business out of fear; I wanted to keep a job. Fortunately, my career change has worked out for the last 30 years.
Q: What has helped your business survive during recent years?
A: Faithful clientele call us year after year. However, after 30 years in business, some of those clients have passed on or are moving into assisted-living facilities and don’t need our services. We have had to generate new business and find new clients. We’ve changed the way we do marketing. We use our baby pictures in all ads and on our website (“Faces You Can Trust”). We push the mom-and-pop family business and sell ourselves, not the product. Our trucks are billboards on wheels, and we supply uniforms for employees, so people recognize us when we are on a job.
Q: What does being involved with NAHBR mean to you?
A: When I was asked to be president of our local association in 2006, I got involved in national. The people I’ve met have educated me. Other members take you under their wing and make you more professional. I go back to my business a better person and well-rounded individual. I bleed NAHB, HBA of Berks County and Pennsylvania Builders Association. This is one of the few organizations you can belong to where you have three memberships in one. Real things are happening within these organizations to make our businesses better and easier to run.
Q: What motivates you every day?
A: My wife. She has been behind me 100 percent. When I’m down, she reassures me. When I’m up, she keeps me there. You need somebody like that in your corner. She’s also heavily involved in helping me run my business and is a member of the NAHBR and local HBA board of directors.
Q: If a movie was made about your life, who would be cast as you?
A: Bruce Willis. He comes across as the common guy who gets beats up but always comes out ahead in the end.
HBA of Berks County past president, 1989, 2006, 2007
Helped establish the local Remodelers Council and chaired it for two years
NAHBR board of directors, five years
NAHBR board of trustees, two years
NAHBR Membership/Education Committee chair, one year
Helped develop NAHBR Mentor Program
Pennsylvania Builders Association board of directors, two years
Sloan is in charge of construction for the Restoring Hope Foundation, which is part of HBA of Berks County. This year, the group built a handicap-accessible bedroom/bath addition for a man with multiple sclerosis who is confined to a wheelchair. The project, which was completed in 14 days, included installation of new appliances and windows, landscaping and painting the exterior. “It was completely volunteer work and all the materials were donated,” Sloan notes. “It’s amazing to see how many people in our profession who are hurting still came together to help someone out.”