When Wayne Ezekiel started out in the construction industry years ago, he was fitting in the work around his job delivering mail for Canada Post.
“I ran my route every day so I could get finished in time to go to work,” recalls the Innisfil entrepreneur. “We started off renovating at a young age and just kept the company growing.”
Approximately 15 years ago, he left the post office to focus on A.N.T. Construction full time. The initials not only indicate the industrious insect shown in Ezekiel’s logo, it also stands for Aaryn, Norm and Tracy – the names of his two children and wife.
While the company continues to do renovations in both the residential and commercial sectors, but its primary focus is custom homes.
Ezekiel literally worked his way up in the industry.
“I always had a keen interest in construction and working with people,” he says. “So I took it upon myself to start a strong interest. I got my real estate licence, took business in college, took courses for Tarion and through the years took other courses, like Energy Star.”
He remembers being the one holding the stick in the hole while the concrete footings were being poured. He also assisted the framers and cleaned up the site.
“I was the jack-of-all traces in the house while I watched the trades do the work,” he relays. While he learned and started to manage the projects, he never assumed he could do the tasks himself.
“Whether it was building a deck or finishing a basement, you need to call in the professionals to get the job done professionally,” he says. “You get a plumber to do the plumbing and an electrician to do the electrical – not a handyman. They’re not licensed to do it, so they shouldn’t be doing it.”
As a result he built a reputation for quality workmanship even while building houses.
“When you use the trades, you really get an expert in their field,” he says seriously. “So, we’ve had good growth because we’ve brought in the experts.”
His projects currently span modest renovations up to an 8,000 square-foot home he’s currently looking at. Most recently, he worked on homes in the Innisbrook Estates development that sold in the $800,000 range.
He tends to buy the building lots and design-build the custom homes according to the specific wants and needs of the home owner. “But about 25 per cent of our business is building for other people,” he says.
Regardless, the clients are all treated with care, he says.
“It’s all about trust,” he says about his relationships with his clients. “In the end, we want them to have confidence they got treated fairly and feel great about their home.”
That’s why he’s registered with the Tarion Warranty Program and Energy Star, he explains – to demonstrate his commitment to quality.
He credits his steady growth to constantly looking for new opportunities.
“Today you have to be innovative,” he says. “You have to look around corners.”
The market isn’t great right now, he acknowledges, but there are opportunities to continue growing.
With an obvious excitement for his work, he says a positive mental attitude is a great asset as well.
His company tag line might be “Bring us your dream and we will build it”, but even while he’s building his clients’ dreams, he’s own are coming true.