To be the best. It’s a goal that’s driven Ron Montbleau throughout his woodworking career, first as a furniture maker, then to high-end custom homes and office interiors, to his current role as CEO of Montbleau & Associates, the California-based architectural woodwork firm that’s making a name for itself in the national arena.
Founded in 1980, the company produced residential furniture before moving into architectural casework and millwork, including reception furniture and boardrooms for corporate office interiors of clients that include Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Hospitality and healthcare are now taking over half of the company’s current focus. “Our overall success is based on the fact that we have created relationships with our clients,” Montbleau said. “Clients come to us because we offer skilled craftsmanship and value engineering. The ability to be able to deliver on time is really important as well, especially in big hotel projects or casinos.”
He added, “If I had to describe our company in one sentence, I’d say it would be the commitment to bringing value to our clients and the passion and integrity that we bring to our work every day.
“It’s not an easy job, what we do, and if you don’t have passion for it, if you don’t have heart in it, you won’t succeed. You have to love it – and we do.”
Under Montbleau’s leadership, the architectural woodwork firm has thrived, with activity increasing fourfold during the past few years. Montbleau & Associates also has built a factory in Mexico, expanded the facility in San Diego, plus invested millions in technology.
“Four years ago, we were doing $20 million a year. This past year, we did $70 million, and we’re looking at a goal of $80 million to $90 million in 2019.”
As the company looks to expand its market reach, Montbleau said, “My goal is to continue growing the company and to build a culture and team that will thrive and last long beyond my tenure.”
Also thriving at the company is a culture of caring. Montbleau and the firm are involved in a number of community and charitable endeavors on the local as well as national level, including the North of Boston Cancer Resource, a foundation created by his sister. “I like to be involved in charities where I know where the money is going and helping people.”
Outside of work, Montbleau is a professional photographer and enjoys playing the guitar, traveling and spending time with his family.
Education: University of Massachusetts Boston. Also New England School of Photography
Number of years at the company: 38-plus
Word that best describes you: Passion
Business mantra: Two come to mind: Treat others the way you want to be treated, and must be present to win. I always tell our team and myself, that we must be present with our clients, present with our work and in order for us to succeed.
Who have you tried to emulate: I always chose to emulate more mature and successful companies in our industry and modeled after them. When that model was reached, I would look for another company at a higher notch to model after.
Best advice: Always go above and beyond expectations.
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