WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN. WELCOME TO WESTERN HOME JOURNAL’S SHOPTALK

Admit it, you have an inquiring mind, and you want to know about the team building your dream home. We understand the inclination. So we decided to bring you ShopTalk, conversations with the talented pros designing, building, and outfitting your homes.

BILL CARTER
64-2MONTANA ROCKWORKS

Montana Rockworks, the Northwest’s largest supplier of architectural and landscape stone, is located in Kalispell, Montana, and they quarry their stone in the Montana Rockies. Working with homeowners, architects, and contractors to bring the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains into homes, designs, and building projects, Montana Rockworks adds character to any project.

Making a lasting impression with landscape and architectural rock in every element of a home or office is their forte and owner Bill Carter says that every Montana Rockworks employee is dedicated to making a project stand out with superior stone quality.

What services do you offer?
Montana Rockworks supplies masonry and landscape stone.
What geographic area(s) do you serve? North America, with a heavy emphasis in the Rocky Mountain region to the West Coast.

What is your professional background?
I was involved with real estate sales and development from 1990 to 1997 and I’ve been with Montana Rockworks since 1997.

When did you know that you wanted to go into construction and what motivated you?
After college, I immediately went into real estate development. In 1997 there was a rising demand and
a lack of supply for natural stone. Since it was still involved in construction, I was immediately attracted to it. We jumped into the supply side and began working with architects and contractors to help satisfy their natural stone needs.

“I ALWAYS LOVE GETTING INVOLVED
IN PROJECTS DURING THE PLANNING STAGES WHEN WE CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE CREATIVE PART OF THE PROJECT AND UTILIZE THE UNIQUE RESOURCES WE HAVE AT OUR SHOWROOM TO CREATE A PROJECT THAT PLEASES EVERYONE INVOLVED.”
-Bill Carter, Montana Rockworks

How do you see construction changing in the next five to ten years?
Construction continues to move towards green and sustainable materials. Montana Rockworks is following that same path with our line of Thin Veneer. Thin Veneer enables us to utilize less of the natural resource as well as reducing the weight by 70% per square foot, thereby reducing shipping costs by 70% per square foot. In addition, there are many other factors where the use of Thin Veneer reduces costs of the project.

Describe your process—how do you work with clients, designers, and architects?
We consult with clients, designers, and architects for not only color and style, but for making recommendations for the right product. Our showroom in Kalispell—the largest of its kind in Montana—is a huge benefit. Whether it is the owner or the professional, our showroom is used on a regular basis for making selections.

What project(s) are you most proud of?
After 18 years of doing this work, it’s difficult to single out a particular project. What I am most proud of is that we have continued to provide the quality and reliability that keeps architects and contractors using Montana Rockworks for their natural stone needs.

What makes the difference between good construction and great construction?
The biggest difference between good and great construction
is when the people planning a project take into consideration the use of green and sustainable materials. Then through the building process, there is a strict effort to minimize the environmental impact around the building envelope.

What is the most exciting new product or development in your field?
Thin Veneer and Dimensional Cut Ashlar. Prior to 2005, Montana Rockworks didn’t provide cut stone. Since then, we have grown to be one of the largest U.S. producers of cut Thin Veneer.
What do you enjoy most about your work? There are two things: 1. I always love getting involved in projects during the planning stages when we can participate in the creative part of the project and utilize the unique resources we have at our showroom to create a project that pleases everyone involved. 2. At Montana Rockworks, we built a company from the ground up. Today we employee 85 people and we offer health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses. Through all of this, we have created a company where people can enjoy their work and build a life for themselves in Montana. That is very gratifying.

Favorite season? Why?
Summer. I love to spend time on the water—boating, rafting, fishing and camping.

Most embarrassing moment?
That’s too embarrassing to publicize! I can’t go through it again.


CHRIS HARRIS
A+ ELEVATORS & LIFTS64-10

Founded by Chris Harris
(pictured at left) in 2010, A+ Elevators & Lifts showcases some of the finest elevator craftsmanship in the industry. A premier manufacturer of high-end custom residential elevators and provider of wheelchair lifts and dumbwaiters, A+ has local offices and / or staff serving Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. But elevators are not all that make Harris tick. Having played the bagpipes since he was 15, Harris took up the Scottish drums and now takes top honors at national and international competitions with a bagpipe group. A man of many talents, Harris took a few minutes to speak with WHJ about the work they do at
A+ Elevators.

Do you have any special certifications or specialties?
I am a Certified Elevator Technician, Certified Accessibility Technician, Certified Residential Elevator Technician, Certified Elevator Inspector, Specialty Elevator Journeyman Electrician, Licensed Elevator Mechanic, and Licensed Conveyance Mechanic.

What is your professional background?
I have been in the elevator industry for 15 years specializing in installation, service, repair, maintenance, management, engineering
and design, and manufacturing.

When did you know that you wanted to go into this field and what motivated you?
At age 18, three months out of high school, I was working as an auto mechanic at a few local auto repair shops. The owner of a local elevator company, whose office was next door to one of the repair shops I worked at, cornered me one night as I was under the hood of an old Chevy Bel Air doing
a 350 engine swap, and offered me a job. At the time, the pay wasn’t any more than I was currently making turning wrenches, but the benefits package and paid schooling made me make the jump. It wasn’t until I actually got into the pits of elevator shafts that I started to really enjoy the logic and technology of elevator systems.

“ NOT ONLY ARE WE AN INSTALLER OF ELEVATORS AND COMPONENTS, BUT WE HAVE A MANUFACTURING FACILITY, WHICH PROVIDES PRODUCTS TO OTHER COMPANIES ACROSS NORTH AMERICA. THIS ALLOWS US TO LET OUR MINDS RUN WILD.”
-Chris Harris, A+ Elevators and Lifts

What inspires you?
High-tech elevators—of all things! Elevators and components
that are so advanced from the standard technology with touch screen panels, voice-activated systems and smart phone interaction just to name a few.

How do you see your field changing in the next five to 10 years?
Home elevators will continue to grow as an industry. Aging brings struggle for
all of us—mobility is one of them. We do everything within our power to accompany the different situations facing our clients. With the changing elevator codes and stricter safety requirements, new and advanced systems will be on the market. We are working on our next edge-cutting future code-compliant products as we speak.

What other specialties do you have in-house?
Not only are we an installer of elevators and components,
but we have a full manufacturing facility, which provides products to other elevator companies across North America. This allows us to let our minds run wild. We aren’t limited to the products offered by others. We have the ability to customize, built specialty one-off equipment and products for those clients who need such specialty equipment.

What is the most exciting new product or development in your field?
Child-safe wrap-around car door system for residential elevators—patented and manufactured by A+ Elevators & Lifts.

What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
The day-to-day challenges that make your mind work. We are not your run-of-the-mill elevator company. We only build high-end custom equipment, which requires additional attention to detail and an open mind to designing one-off products.

What do you like most about living and working where you do?
The folks I get to interact with every day. Our clients, both general contractors and homeowners, are among some of the finest in the world.
I have yet to come across a client (or potential client) who has been anything but humble. There are great folks living in the Rocky Mountain states with very respectable and professional demeanors.

Favorite trip you’ve ever taken?
1)Hawaii – when I married my sweetheart.
2) Scotland – when I had a rare opportunity to compete in the World Pipe Band Championship.


 

HOLLIS RUMPELTES ARCHITECTS64-11

Hollis Rumpeltes Architects
(HRA) holds to the motto “Blood, Sweat, and Cheers”—a belief that hard work and commitment to detail will lead to happy clients. As a design/build firm with innovation in their DNA, Hollis Rumpeltes understands that collaboration is key to any successful project. Daniel Hollis and JJ Rumpeltes have contributed to work published in Architectural Digest, Global Architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, and Dwell. HRA practices in Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii. The partners at HRA live and work in ideal locations. “We are fortunate to live in mountain towns and a beach paradise and enjoy all that these environments have to offer. We want to collaborate with clients in order to help them create the perfect dwelling to enjoy all that there is to love about these places.”

What services do you offer?
HRA is a full-service architectural firm, with experience in residential, civic, commercial, industrial and mixed-use projects. We have extensive experience in all attributes of sustainable design/build, utilizing best practice management solutions for all our projects.

What geographic area(s) do you serve?
We offer services anywhere in the country and internationally. We’re currently focused
on working in Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii.

What is your architectural and educational background?
JJ: Bachelors of Architecture and Fine Arts from the University of Idaho, Masters of Architecture from UCLA, and extended studies at the University of Castiglione Fiorentino in Italy. Daniel: Bachelors and Masters of Architecture from the University of Newcastle NSW in Australia and further studies at Clemson University in South Carolina.

We both worked with acclaimed firms in Idaho, Aspen, Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Hawaii before making the decision to start our own office in Sun Valley.

Do you have any special certifications or specialties?
We are LEED Accredited and AIA/NCARB Certified

How do you see architecture changing in the next five to ten years?
We see the use of emerging technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Simulations used in conjunction with daily architecture practices as vital.

In essence, these advancements make it possible to build a design virtually before actual construction begins. This helps to avoid potential real-world conflicts. It allows the client to be a more active participants by being integrated in the design process.

What project(s) are you most excited about right now?
We are currently working on a sustainable, progressive, mixed-use building for downtown Whitefish. We are also working on an innovative new home on Whitefish Lake. Additionally, we have an interesting tenant improvement at the Cape at Mauna Lani on the Big Island of Hawaii.

“ FOR US, ARCHITECTURE IS A SERIES OF SOLUTIONS TO ACHIEVE A COHESIVE DWELLING, PROJECT, OR SPACE SUITABLE TO THE CLIENT AND TO THE SITE. ”
-Daniel Hollis and JJ Rumpeltes, HRA

Describe your process—how do you work with clients, contractors, and interior designers?
We see each project as unique, therefore we use an individualized approach for each project and client. For us, architecture is a series of solutions to achieve a cohesive dwelling, project, or space suitable to the client and to the site. Our role is to help mediate this process and ensure that the contribution of each discipline involved is working toward this common goal.

What project(s) are you the most proud of?
Recently we collaborated on a state-of-the art all-glass residence in Hawaii that won the AIA Honorary Unbuilt Award for sustainability and innovative use of materials. We are also very proud of the LEED Platinum certification awarded to a house we designed in northwest Montana.

Do you have favorite materials or architectural details to use or a style you prefer or are
known for?
Our favorite materials are ones that are intrinsic to the locale and that are responsive to the design solution at hand. We strive to use materials that create the least environmental impact while still enhancing the design and furthering a successful building solution and appropriate aesthetic for the location.

What places in the world do you find most inspirational and why?
All the locations that we are currently doing work in—Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii. We are pursuing
work there so we can take advantage of the diverse history, terrain, vernacular, and climates that they have to offer.