September NAHB Remodeler of the Month

Jorge Cancel, CGB

President of Titan Homes, LLC, Mobile, Alabama

Year Founded: 2005

Number of Employees: 2

President of the Home Builders Association of Metro Mobile

Type of company: New construction and remodeling

Who started your company? Me

When and how did you choose this career? After following in my father and grandfather’s footsteps as a cabinetmaker for 21 years, I found that I enjoyed coordinating the entire project for the customer. I decided to become a builder and made the transition with three generations of customer base to surround me.

What did you do before becoming a remodeler? I worked as a cabinetmaker and as a partner of a granite fabrication company.

As you were growing up, what did you want to be? I always wanted to be a cabinetmaker. I remember going to jobsites as early as seven years old with my father. When I was 15, I told my father that I wanted to start working for him as a vocational training program student during high school. Cabinetmaking came natural to me, and I never looked back. I enjoyed every day waking up to go to work with wood.

How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved? Since the housing market took a dive, remodeling has increased. Most of my customers are repeat customers who love their home and its location, so we continue to make it more like home for them every year.

What have you done to grow your business during the current economy? I have opened my door to general maintenance work for my customers. I put the word out that I will change light bulbs if that is what it takes. Through this motto, I have been encouraged from my customer base and have even had the opportunity to perform work for free to the needy.

What does being part of NAHB mean to you? The NAHB is my security blanket. I am not wise enough to have a global vision. The NAHB keeps me grounded in the ever changing building industry. It keeps me on top of codes as well as politics.

What is the best advice you’ve received in your career? This is a hard one. Currently I am chewing on “if you refuse to change, you will stop growing.” I have applied this to every aspect of my life.

What is the most unusual project your company has completed? Recently, I sent one of my guys to convert an existing customer’s shed into a chicken coop.

What is your favorite item in your office? I have pictures of my daughters and I as they both caught their first fish. I love my job, but it will always come after making memories with my family.

What motivates you every day? My family. At the end of the day, my family are my biggest cheerleaders and are why going to work every day is easy.

If a movie was made about your life, who would be cast as you? Almost 20 years ago I was sitting in a restaurant with my wife and a waitress came up to me and asked, “Are you Kevin Spacey?” I said no, but she was not convinced. I watched her and other waitresses stand at the kitchen door and stare at me, convinced I was Kevin Spacey. Since they were convinced, I autographed my receipt for the girl when I paid for my dinner. So I have been mistaken to be Kevin Spacey, however, if I was to choose an actor, I would choose Robin Williams. I so enjoy his role in movies such as Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. Robin’s characters made people look at life from a different angle. He challenged them to not accept things the way everyone one else viewed them. Robin made hard choices to see beyond skin deep, to see the real character and values of a person.

Anything else you’d like to mention about career accomplishments? I have discovered that my faith has coincided with my work ethic in these tough times. My faith has sustained any doubts that I would not be able to support my family. It would be foolish to say that my accomplishments happened without the clear direction of God in my life.