Many know that Wheeler Painting and Restoration Services is a family owned and operated business since 1991, but many may not be aware that we are a WBE – a Women Business Enterprise (a Women Owned Business). Being in business for over 30 years, we have encountered some very funny situations as we serve our clients, both in the residential and commercial markets.
Now as a women owned business, I personally do not announce to our clients or vendors that I am the owner, there just isn’t the need. Many times I have found myself in a conference room at a pre-project meeting and have been asked to “get coffee for the room”, but pleasantly decline stating that “I don’t drink coffee”. It is not common place to have a women owner of a construction company, I totally get it, so I’m never offended, but find humor in the situations. There was one situation that was extremely funny that I will share. We work for many commercial clients and one of them is a very popular bank here in the Puget Sound area with many branches. One of the branches had a “vehicle strike” to the drive-thru bank canopy. It was more like a decapitation of the canopy cover where we needed to get a structural engineer involved ASAP. Our regular structural engineer was unavailable and due to the urgency of the job I needed to get the help of a new structural engineer.
I was able to find a small, one-man band engineering firm that was able to help us quickly. I was unavailable to meet the engineer onsite; the superintendent handled the first initial meeting onsite with the structural engineer. Within a day or two, the engineer had plans drafted for us to submit to the city and for permits. I went to the engineer’s office (basement level of his home) to review the plans and to pick them up. When I went to the home office I got weird creepy vibes; basement office in someone’s home with cats everywhere – not good. Here’s the funny part, I could tell immediately that the engineer assumed I was “the office gal” here to pick up the plans. He asked if I would like to see the plans and I answered “yes, I would like to review them before leaving”. His response to my request to review the plans was “would you like for me to dumb them down for you?” To which I replied, if you speak real slow and use small words, I might be able to follow along”. I was dying inside; this was too funny to be real. After a review of the plans, I wrote out a check for payment and when the engineer saw my signature, he asked if I was married to the owner to which I responded, there is no “Mr., I am the sole owner of the company and I’ve been reading blueprints and plans for over 20 years”. He shrugged, a little puzzled and went on to show me out. To this day, we still use this structural engineer and we laugh about our first encounter.
Now that was a very funny start to a very serious project that we needed to handle quickly for the bank so the drive-thru portion of the bank could be functional as soon as possible. Of course the structural integrity of the total branch needed to be deemed in good condition and then the restoration work of the drive-thru canopy addressed and approved for use. The initial site survey was performed the same day the damaged occurred and our team stepped in to shore-up the compromised canopy and to close off access to the drive-thru. We were able to follow up with an emergency permit for the work, found a structural engineer to work with us in a timely (but bias) fashion and our highly skilled carpenters started the repairs within days of the accident. Due to the extensive nature of the damage, we took advantage of what seemed to be a complete re-build to upgrade the canopy with more in ceiling vents for better ventilation, new LED lights, in-line gutters and downspouts and upgraded clearance signage and Open/Closed illuminated signs. Once the structure was restored, our professional painters were on site to install a drywall ceiling and paint the canopy and support columns complete. With a combine team effort of our professional carpenters, skilled painters and the structural engineer, the restoration project that was addressed quickly to allow the client’s business to resume regular operations.
Now not all projects have such a funny start, but regardless of what the project may be, we are dedicated to handling each project with skill and professionalism. Many of our clients, both commercial and residential return to Wheeler Painting and Restoration Services time and time again as they know that we care about each and every project we take on. We pride ourselves on doing an amazing job, on time and on budget. Let us know if we can be of service to you.
Until we share the next funny story, be well and do good.