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 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.
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 MontanaRockworks, 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.
“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
Founded by Chris Harris 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 .
“ WE ARE SUPPLYING PRODUCTS TO CUSTOMERS WHO DEPEND ON OUR ATTENTIVENESS AND SAFETY AWARENESS TO TRANSPORT THEIR FAMILY EVERYDAY. THESE IDEAS PUSH US TO BUILD A BETTER PRODUCT AND PROVIDE AN UNBEATABLE LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE.”
–Chris Harris, A+ Elevators & Lifts
What services do you provide?
We install, service, and repair residential elevators, residential & commercial wheelchair lifts, freight elevators, and dumbwaiters.
Describe your process-how do you work with clients, designers, and architects?
We like to be involved with a project at its earliest stages, and we make ourselves available to the architects, contractors, and homeowners during the design phase so that we can share our experience and knowledge to eliminate difficulties before they can become problems.
A project manager is assigned to each project and is available to answer the questions of all the trades participating in construction of the hoistway and elevator.
What is unique about A+ Elevators & Lifts?
Our custom elevator cabs are the most visible difference. Each one is tailor-made to fit the home it will go into. They are measured and constructed to make use of as much of the space available so that none is wasted. The species of wood, molding profiles & finishes are matched to the rest of the interior of the home for a seamless transition throughout.
We also use a patented tambour door system that eliminates the archaic accordion doors and replaces them with a safer and more visually appealing door that is fitted and trimmed to match the décor of the home.
What is the most exciting and new product or development in your field?
Safety is very important to us. Advances in technology provide new and exciting products that we can incorporate while we make our products the safest in the industry. We are active in the National Association of Elevator Contractors
(NAEC) so we can be knowledgeable about the products available and of the changing national elevator codes.
How to you see the elevator industry changing in the next 5 to 10 years?
As with any industry, advancements in technology drive the changes. Safety codes are always changing, and new products are being released every day conforming to the new technology standards of today’s times. I see new drive systems, technological-advanced control systems, and additional safety equipment and features coming.
What inspired you to start A+ Elevators and Lifts?
Family. During the 2008/2009 recession, I lost my engineering position with a respectable elevator firm when they closed their doors. I had a horrible vision of my kids glowing up with a jobless father and my wife dealing with the struggles that would bring. That feeling pushed me to work harder than ever to build a company that could not only support my own family, but the families of others as well. We consider the whole team at A+ Elevators a small little family. And we are supplying products to customers who depend on our attentiveness and safety awareness to transport their family everyday. These ideas push us to build a better product and provide an unbeatable level of customer service, which in the end, provides a higher level of success for everyone’s families.
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.