Gary grew up in northwest Illinois and during his high school days, he was influenced by his step-dad who was a carpenter. He was not planning on attending college and had to make a decision on what he wanted to do for work after high school. So he attended vocational school and took the building trades two-year program. During this time, he took part in building a four apartment condominium. He learned how to pour footers for basement walls, frame the building, build and set trusses, roofing, build a chimney, hang drywall and finish it, sheet the exterior and install wood siding. He also learned how to do concrete block and finish brickwork. His step-dad taught him some basic wiring and electricity skills and he helped him work on replacing a few roofs in the area they lived.
In 1987 he enrolled in college which brought him to Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated from Fort Wayne Bible College in 1991 with hopes of becoming a full-time Christian missionary oversees. After school, it wasn’t God’s timing for Gary to leave the states, so he began looking for work. He was connected with a man who owned several rentals and did remodeling projects in the inner city. From this experience he learned how to lay rubber roofing, refined his drywalling and finishing skills, laid floors, installed windows and doors, vinyl siding, insulation, and learned how to run a crew. He worked for this company for three years. During college Gary also met his future wife Audrey and they were married in 1994. They bought their first home in Leo which was a 1920 farm house. Over the next 5 years they both spent time remodeling the entire structure. They replaced most of the drywall, did some structural reframing, painted, wallpapered, carpeted, removed the old wood shakes and installed new siding, facia, sophet and shutters, installed new stained trim in all rooms, completely remodeled both the bathroom and laundry room, installed new windows and doors, added new roofing, updated all the wiring and hired someone to update the heating and plumbing. They more recently took on the challenge of a complete kitchen remodel. They can honestly say it’s like living in a brand new house! View some of their pictures.
For the next nine months Gary did some commercial work. He learned how to pour a concrete slab foundation, erect steel framing, and remodeled numerous commercial buildings.
Gary worked with a friend for the next year. They did mostly residential remodeling. Gary perfected his framing skills and also learned more about sophet/facia work and hanging vinyl siding. By this time Gary was building confidence in himself and his skills so that he could be an independent subcontractor.
In 1996 Gary began working for himself independently and he also subcontracted part-time for Handyman Connection. It was through them that he and Audrey were able to perfect their business skills with customers and keep better work records. In April of 2002, Handyman Connection closed its doors due to competition and it was then Gary was solely on his own as a carpenter. He relied and still mostly relies on referrals for his work and has many repeat customers.
Gary and Audrey see this occupation as an opportunity to help people with handyman items that they do not have time to do themselves or are unable to do. Gary enjoys getting to meet new people from all over the Fort Wayne area and assisting them with someone that is reliable, trustworthy and gives them a good job when he finishes his work. He always tell his customers, “No job is too small for me! Ask me and I will let you know if I can not help you.”
Please feel free to visit his testimony page to see what others have said about him and his work.