Looking Ahead: Vila paved the way for the plethora of home-remodeling shows blanketing the airwaves today. “I’m shocked at the number of shows, but a lot of them are aimed at entertainment and ratings rather than how-to detail. Also I’m concerned about some of the information given out, which is misguided or bogus.” He also worries about safety. “I’d like the shows to be more responsible. I’ve got concerns about how they show tool safety, eye protection and similar things. Their approach can be problematic.”
Company: Winans Construction Co., Oakland, Calif. Years in Industry: 1965 – present
Early Years: In some ways, Winans has always been in the remodeling business. “I asked the man working on a house next to my parents’ home for a job when I was four years old,” he reports. That same man built Winans’ parents’ new home six years later, and in 1965, at the age of 15, Winans went to work for him, doing both new homebuilding and remodeling.
Key Innovations: Winans opened his company in 1978 after holding several shop jobs. His wife, Nina, added duties as their children grew. He became involved with NARI in the mid-1990s and has been active in leading both the local and national groups. “I am good at making a positive difference, and I had some opportunities to do that with NARI. The benefits of being part of an association are enormous.”
He is a regular speaker at events on a variety of topics aimed at increasing remodelers’ professionalism. He also promotes peer-group and certification programs. “NARI is getting to be a recognized brand, and its certification programs are helping to raise the knowledge level in the industry. The desire to improve is so prevalent among remodelers. But it’s vital for them to realize that part of their strength comes from being part of a group.”
Looking Ahead: “There is a need to have a remodeling contractor be regarded as a professional, much as architects, doctors and lawyers are,” he says. “Someday the association representing the remodeling industry will impart the same credibility to its members that the AIA, AMA and ABA do to their members. I also expect suppliers will learn how to do business better with the fragmented remodeling industry. There are more dollars being spent on remodeling than on homebuilding, but the businesses spending them are smaller. This difference will get figured out, and suppliers will reap the rewards.”