NADRA Member Spotlight: Custom Design Group, Barry Fate

Company Name: Custom Design Group
Member Name:  Barry Fate
Position:  Owner
Member Category:  Builder
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

What inspired you to join NADRA? I’ve been building decks for over 40 years. I wanted to become part of an organization that dedicated itself to MY profession.

When did you first get involved with this industry? On a full time exclusive basis- 35 years ago.

What was the first thing you ever built? I helped my father (who was a builder/remodeler) build a two level deck on a lake home when I was 14 (53 years ago).

We want to get to know you, please tell us a little about your business: I am a small, self-owned business professional. My daughter works with me every day (she is a fine carpenter) as well as my middle son (on a part-time basis). I have a strong background in outdoor living – pools & spas / specialty concrete and hardscapes, and I love the creativity of designing and then building what I have designed. Award-winner “Qualified Remodeler” magazine, and several other awards including “Best of Houzz.”
We are a TREX-Pro-Platinum contractor. BBB – A+ rated. We don’t have crews….we are the crew. Fully licensed & insured. Community oriented – contributed labor to several “Habitat for Humanity” homes through the Home Builders of Western Michigan and have built several ramps for veterans.

How do you define success? Success can be defined in several ways: 1) If you love what you do; 2) If you love who you work with: 3) If your customers become your friends and you satisfy them beyond their expectations; 4) If you have been able to weather the economic instability over the past 20 years; 5) If you are recognized by your peers in the industry that you work in.

What advice would you like to share with fellow members that you have learned in your career? Be open to listen to others – you can learn something new every day if you are just willing to listen. Also, be humble – don’t be the “know everything” person in the room…. because you don’t. Always be open to sharing ideas.

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? Cooking is my hobby. I love to cook (My wife is a great cook, but I do 90% of the cooking in our home). I would have a small specialty eatery/café offering specialty salads and sandwiches (made to order right in front of the customer) and unique soups.

A little more about Barry: My family is the most important aspect of my life! I used to be a “workaholic” back in the late 70’s / early 80’s. After my mother passed away and my children were growing, I decided that I needed to focus my energy on them and not on just chasing the money. I would rather have my wife and children see me as a role model that they can look up to than an “absentee” dad that was never home because of work and chasing the almighty dollar. At a time when most people my age are retired (I’m on Social Security), I am out in the field every day with my best friends (my daughter and my son) working side-by-side doing what I love.
My wife and I have been together for 46 years and enjoy spending time together in our first (and only) home. We love spending time outdoors (why not? I work there) enjoying our kids and grandchildren around the pool…..life couldn’t get any better!!!

Website:  Kalamazoodecksandmore.com