Milanese
by Mark Milanese
January 13th, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I am the son of a “Tin-Man.” My father, Gabe Milanese Sr., was one of the first “Tin Men” and started his company, Milanese Aluminum, in 1957. Our company was the first to offer exterior remodeling products made of the then considered “space-age” metal, aluminum, to commercial and residential property owners in Chester County, Pa. The Milanese Aluminum Showroom was attached to the family home and the two car garage was the warehouse. So, I literally grew up in the business.

As soon as I was big enough to pick up a broom and push it, I have been involved in the remodeling industry. I started installing during summer vacations from school in 1974. After attending Villanova University, I began working full time as an installer. I have always had a passion for solving clients’ problems in creative ways and to their best benefit. My ten-year installation apprenticeship prepared me for my move into sales in 1984. Since then, I have been involved in all aspects of the business.

I learned to run jobs – take measurements, order materials, schedule and oversee the installation process, collect draw payments, review punch lists, collect final payments and communicate with the client throughout the process, including change orders, additional work and service after the sale. Running jobs well led to repeat business and referrals. I have already worked for the grandchildren of some of my first clients.

A desire to generate more leads led me to marketing the family business. I have gained experience canvassing neighborhoods by knocking on doors, written articles and prepared print ads. I have also produced television infomercials and commercials as well as radio programs and spots. I designed the company’s first website in 1999 and am well aware of how important a web presence is to the future of business and the industry. I have always recognized the value of marketing and intertwining all media to cross-market a campaign. Branding the family business is the driving force behind all of our marketing efforts.

I have also taken a lead role in the important process of selecting what new products our company should offer, as well as who should supply the company with these new products. The offerings we choose define our scope of services and position in the home improvement marketplace. Staying ahead of the curve and partnering with quality suppliers have always been of key importance to any success we have had.

Product selection is almost as important as training installers. Selecting a supplier to partner with is often decided by their ability to properly train installers. Our company was one of the first to receive the AAMA “Installation Masters” certification.

I feel extremely fortunate to have a career in an industry I love, as I know it is rare to succeed as a second-generation family owned business, and I appreciate the camaraderie with colleagues in the industry and workforce.

The remodeling industry has been evolving since the caveman and this latest era has been an exciting time to be involved in home improvement. Perhaps no time in the history of the world have more changes been made so rapidly and affecting so many as those in Post War America.

New products are still being introduced and improvements to existing products keep the home improvement industry changing. New technology makes it easier to communicate with each other locally and globally. The world is getting smaller. The caves we live in continue to evolve. I look forward to the future in our industry and know the best is still yet to come.

I hope you enjoy my remodeling blog. I hope to address many of the everyday problems we face in our industry. I will share anecdotes from my vantage point as a second-generation owner of a remodeling contracting company and intend to entertain and inform you. If you have a question you would like me to answer send it to ttaffera@glass.com or post a comment or question here.

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