Working with Architects and Designers
Thursday, August 25th from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Session Code: FAU3
Location: B301 (located in Building B - Level 3)
Presented by: Cabinet Makers Association (CMA)
Speakers: Joe Knobbe, Senior Project Manager: Exclusive Woodworking, Inc. and Rick Thaler, President: OGB Architectural Millwork
Understanding the needs, wants and how you can be a valued partner for designers and architects can put your company on the short list for design driven projects from these professionals. You’ll learn where these projects are, how to approach a professional firm and how to help them reach their goals while you earn their valuable repeat business.
About the Speakers:
Joe Knobbe began his woodworking career in the late 70’s apprenticing under a master cabinet maker. After becoming a journeyman he grew through the ranks to become Senior Project Manager for Exclusive Woodworking. A large Residential Architectural Woodworking firm founded in 1983 by brothers John and Doug Durbin.
Throughout his career he has helped keep Exclusive Woodworking on the cutting edge of technology and also helped them become a well-respected company in the greater Chicagoland Area. He has been instrumental in helping the company grow over the years and broaden its reach by finding and nurturing relationships in the design community. He has many years of experience in finding the people who best fit the business model Exclusive Woodworking promotes and has developed a knack for keeping and growing those relationships.
In 2008 Joe was elected to the Cabinet Makers Association Board of Directors. He’s also served on a number of successful committees. In the spring of 2010 He was elected President of the CMA a position that he held until the spring of 2012 when he was elected Secretary.
Rick Thaler started his career in the woodworking business as a hippie carpenter, framing houses in upstate New York in the winter. He liked the work but found he preferred to do it indoors. He wandered out to New Mexico in 1974 and found work building adobe houses but found he still preferred woodwork over any other trade. Rick started a little business in his first home with his new wife, in a 450 square foot shop with an apartment overhead that had a fireman's pole I could slide down to work. He made one of a kind tables and chairs, built kitchen cabinets and did anything else that paid. One day he visited the wood shop at Bradbury Stamm Construction and watched them working on a circular stair and a bank teller line. He fell in love with the kind of commercial work they did and went to work there as a cabinetmaker to learn a methodical and practical approach to the craft.
He worked at two other businesses in the next 6 years, acquiring estimating, project management and general management skills, and then went back to Bradbury as an estimator and project manager. He worked there 10 years, becoming general manager at the end of his tenure. When the opportunity arose to buy the business he felt he was ready and bought it in 2000. He has since grown the business from about $2 million per year to the current level of $9.5 million per year.He has 85 employees, a 28,000 square foot plant and a 3500 square foot office building. He has invested heavily in quality equipment and software to create a flexible and capable production system. They do pretty much everything in the way of commercial architectural woodwork, including cabinets and countertops, Corian, moldings, nurse stations and reception desks, store fixtures and custom ceiling panels. These days I'm taking a lot more time for hiking, biking skiing, playing pool and playing with his grandchildren but he is coming up on 40 years in the trade and would like to continue working.