Case Studies

Carpenter Contractors of America Inc.

Streamlined carpentry services from manufacturing to installation

With a focus on integrity and a commitment to quality, Carpenter Contractors of America Inc. (CCA) has grown to achieve a reputation as a pre-eminent full-service residential carpenter, contractor, material supplier and housing component manufacturer in the United States. With locations in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina, CCA remains unique in the industry by providing all three product offerings.

The business’ family tradition of quality craftsmanship was initiated by Jacob Thiel, who taught his six sons everything he knew about carpentry. In 1955, Robert and Donald Thiel started the business of R&D Thiel in the suburbs of Chicago and it soon became a thriving family business with a heritage of working with wood. From this relatively modest beginning, R&D Thiel has continued to expand under CCA into its current markets. “We work with national builders who build subdivisions,” says Terry Smith, president of CCA. “The homes that we build are usually in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range. We supply all of the carpentry including the interior trim, cabinets and doors.”

By providing manufacturing services, CCA has created a niche for itself in the market by streamlining each project from design to build. The company is able to provide all services to homebuilding that involve wood, making it a true full-service contractor. “We supply and manufacture all of the lumber in our own facility,” Smith explains. “We install all of the components of the home with our own carpenters and then we go back and trim out the house.”

Building upon tradition

CCA has been manufacturing roof and floor trusses since 1976. Over the years, the company has developed practices and procedures that ensure the highest level of quality and performance. The CCA advantage lies in the fact that the company has its own carpenters to install the components to every home.

“Having our own craftsmen has allowed us to receive valuable input from them on the design, manufacturing and delivery process,” says Smith. “We have evolved our approach in such a manner that we are able to deliver a high volume of product built to exact custom specifications on time, every time.”

With an awareness of the impact that a built neighborhood has on the global ecology and economy, as well as on health and productivity, CCA employs LEED AP staff members who are educated in the latest advancements in green building science. “We understand the increasing demands placed on builders to protect the environment during the course of the construction project,” says Smith. “We are committed to doing our part to help our customers comply.”

Due to extensive safety procedures and fall protection, CCA has maintained an excellent record with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In order to prevent accidents that cost time and money for all parties involved, all CCA employees receive extensive training in CCA safety policies, which incorporate all applicable OSHA regulations. The company holds weekly jobsite and in-plant safety meetings to reinforce these policies and ensure complete compliance.

Building a career

Smith began his career with CCA as a controller in 1977. Eventually he became vice president of finance and took over as president of the company in 2009. Before joining CCA, Smith worked as a certified public accountant (CPA) for a private company in Chicago. “I always wanted to work in the construction industry,” says Smith. “I grew up in a construction family and had numerous construction clients when I was a CPA.”

With the strong heritage of CCA, Smith is proud of the fact that the company has grown into the largest carpenter contracting company in the United States. This remains a motivating factor for him to continue to improve upon the procedures and state-of-the-art machinery that have made the company so successful. “It’s also the people,” he adds. “We have a number people that have been here between 30 and 50 years. We also have two people that have been here for 50 years.” Smith also points out that both owners, Don and Robert Thiel, remain active in the company.

With the economy bouncing back, CCA shows no signs of slowing down. The company will continue to grow in all of its locations and will be looking to expand its geographical reach. “Eventually Ted Thiel, Don’s son, will take over the reins and bring the company to another level,” says Smith. “He’s a young, smart businessman and has a lot of ideas for the company.”

As Carpenter Contractors of America Inc. continues to expand throughout the country, the company will maintain its philosophy of delivering an incomparable level of quality, service, safety, production and overall awareness on each and every project.

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