David Shiels from Country Style Windows
David Shiels is a man of vision.
David was building energy-efficient windows long before the introduction of the national Window Energy Rating System devised by the Australian Glass and Glazing Association and industry-wide standards were set under the Australian Building Codes.
He also demonstrated vision when he became one of the first two MBA ACT members to open a display stand for his company, Country Style Windows, in the Canberra Building Information Centre when it opened in 1995.
"We have maintained our exhibition at the Centre ever since and it's been good for us," David says. "We have made a lot of good business contacts, particularly with home renovators, through the Centre."
And this visionary is forecasting a good year for his firm and for the building industry in general.
"We will celebrate out 13th year in business this month and that means it should be a good year," says the true Irish traditionalist. "It's hard to judge the market in today's uncertain times, but I believe 2001 will be a good year, based on activity in the first three months."
David says his company remained busy throughout the ACT region's home building slump because it specialises in timber windows and doors which are used extensively in home renovations.
"We have been able to maintain a constant flow of work because many people abandoned the idea of building new homes when interest rates rose. They spent what money they had on renovations," he told Canberra Building News.
Country Style Windows has been producing energy efficient custom built windows for a number of years - long before they became mandatory. Its Western Red Cedar double-glazed awning windows have been five-star rated for Alpine regions, including Canberra.
David Shiels served his apprenticeship as a carpenter/joiner in Ireland and migrated to Australia as a 19 year old tradesman in 1967 because he was "young and ambitious"!
"I had just finished my apprenticeship and Australia was THE place to go to at that time," David says.
David got a job in Sydney with R & W Vincent and moved to Queanbeyan when the company opened a branch here. Duralite eventually bought the R & W Vincent factory and David stayed on with them for two years as an on-site fixer before starting his own business.
Country Style Windows today employs 17 people, including 13 tradesmen and apprentice carpenter / joiner, in its factory in Silva Avenue at Queanbeyan.
David is a strong believer in on-site training and has two or three apprentices on the staff at all time.
"One of the problems we have is finding young people who want to be trained," he says.
"There are too many distractions today. A four-year building trade apprenticeship is not interesting enough for them."
Country Style Windows specialises in architectural joinery, using a range of different timbers. All its products are manufactured in the company's Queanbeyan workshop and every window and door that comes off the assembly line is custom-made to order. Nothing is mass-produced.
Western Red Cedar is used in the manufacture of most of Country Style windows and doors in the region. Timber products are supplied by some of the major national companies but they are manufactured primarily in Sydney or Melbourne.