While custom woodworking wasn’t the career path originally sought by Troy Bednarz, the wood products business has served him well.
“I found my way into the woodworking industry when I had the opportunity to take over and purchase Lakeside Cabinets and Woodworking,” he says. “Ultimately, I wanted to run a business that provided superior customer service and Lakeside was the place to incorporate this.”
Under Bednarz’s ownership, the custom woodworking firm has not only improved its production capabilities, but racked up impressive sales growth — 33.3% in the past year alone. His strategies for success also have been recognized multiple times in the exclusive WOOD 100 report.
“During the first year of the recession we saw a considerable drop in sales,” he relates. “In 2009 I met with my four coworkers and said, ‘It’s time to either do something about this or get out of the business.’ We decided to face the recession head on and I went out and invested in CNC technology.”
The investments have continued, “not only to make the product better, but to make my coworkers’ work life easier.”
He adds, “I am looking to stabilize our business and cross-train everyone. I feel this will allow the business to grow, with the support of an awesome crew.”
His efforts have been recognized not only by those at Lakeside Cabinets, but by customers as well. “I would have to say [my proudest achievements are] when I get compliments from my coworkers and clients about how friendly and easy it is to work with Lakeside Cabinets and Woodworking.
“It is not me that makes this company,” he adds, “it is everyone who comes here on a daily basis and makes an investment alongside of me.”
Bednarz and company also have a tradition of investing in the community. In the past year they’ve assisted two local families with free cabinets and also donated a set of cabinets to Habitat For Humanity. Other bequests include two scholarships to the local school district, several $500 gift certificates for local fundraisers, and sponsorships.
While active in the day-to-day operations of the company, Bednarz says the best advice he received was: You need to work on your business, not in your business.
“Best line ever,” he says. “It allowed me to learn the business and to work with my coworkers to make it better.”
Bednarz adds, “The biggest step to this accomplishment is taking each day’s events and seeing how they can be made better. Each experience, good or bad, can result in a positive change to your day-to-day activities.”
When not working, Bednarz enjoys spending time outdoors. “I would like to do more hunting and fishing, and hope maybe next year I can allocate time for that.”
• Education: Business & Accounting
• Number of years at the company: 10
• Number of years in the industry: 10
• Word or phrase that describes you? Can’t sit still
• Who have you tried to emulate in business and why? "I have never really looked at one person. I look at and read about people’s success stories and take away a little from each and try to apply them to my business."