About Gehman Design Remodeling
It’s Safe To Say No 5-Year-Old Ever Answered
The “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up”
Question By Saying “I Want To Be A Carpenter!”
Here’s How I Turned My Lifelong Passion For Building Into One Of The
Most Successful, Established Design/Build Companies In Pennsylvania.
BY DENNIS GEHMAN, OWNER & FOUNDER
Does it really matter how a remodeler feels about remodeling? Maybe that’s a strange question. But I feel it’s an extremely important one.
You see, if a remodeler doesn’t have a passion for his craft—if his heart is just not into it—it’s going to show in his work. That’s why it’s essential for homeowners to find a remodeler who truly loves his job. Fortunately for my clients, I have been in love with building, remodeling, and home improvement since I was a child.
Here’s what I mean. I was building with building blocks and Lincoln Logs not long after I started walking. When I was 5-years old, I had a toy tool belt, workbench, and hammer to “help” my father with work around the house (“get in the way” might be more appropriate). As I grew into an adolescent, I graduated to more sophisticated construction toys like Erector Sets. And when I reached high school, I developed tremendous fervor for architectural design. So, yeah—to say remodeling and construction runs in my veins is the understatement of the year.
After I graduated high school, I gravitated to carpentry. I worked for other contractors and performed side jobs for years. As time went on, I married my beautiful wife Glenda and we had four wonderful children. As the years passed and our family grew, my wife and I decided we needed a bigger house. And that’s when I truly decided to put my passion for carpentry to use.
I spent seven months—after work every day and Saturdays taking off Sundays to worship and rest —building a custom house for my family. This project provided a house that had the space my family needed. It also produced an unexpected, but definitely welcome, consequence: People were so impressed that I managed to build a beautiful house in just seven months on the side that they wanted to hire me for their own projects.
It’s then that we decided to start our own business. The day I quit my carpentry job and started Gehman Design Remodeling in 1990, I already had three months of work lined up. That’s like going 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds in the remodeling industry—and we have never let up on the gas from that point on. After just a couple years, business exploded. By the end of 1992, we had six employees. And business has boomed ever since. Today, Gehman Design Remodeling has over 15 employees—some of whom have been with us for over 20 years.
But “employee” is such an impersonal term, isn’t it? At Gehman Design Remodeling, we don’t think of each other as “co-workers” or “employees”—we consider ourselves family.
Gehman Is A Family-Run Business Through & Through.
It’s pretty apparent the “Remodeling Gene” runs in the Gehman-family DNA. My sons Elijah and Aaron are both skilled tradesmen. My daughter Kaela is our CFO, and her husband, Travis, is our Marketing Director. My daughter Teesha is married to Nick Martin who has his masters degree in architecture. So you can see that when we say Gehman Design Remodeling is “family-run,” we mean it.
And even the “non-blood” team members who work at Gehman are family. For example, our Master Painter Bruce Stout has been with us over 20 years.
In the remodeling industry, that kind of longevity is rare. But we believe we have kept the same core team because we genuinely care about each other and the work we do. This creates a positive work environment, which is a big part of the reason we’re able to produce results our clients love. Again, it goes back to passion. If the person has passion for his craft—and is happy with the work he is doing—that’s going to benefit you, the client. And every single person on the Gehman team LOVES what they do.
The Bottom Line
If I had to pick my favorite part of designing and building, it’s unquestionably working with people. Meeting, listening, and learning from each person is a joy. Everyone is unique, and that’s how my team and I approach each project. That passion I had for building when I was a child? It has never wavered. If anything, it’s much stronger now because I’m not just building for my own enjoyment—my team and I are helping others by designing and building their remodeling dreams.
Thanks for reading.
Co-Founder & President