Distinguished Service to the Remodeling Industry Award
Cole Wagner – Cole Wagner Cabinetry
Cole Wagner and his team at Cole Wagner Cabinetry (CWC) have a lot to celebrate this year. Not only is Cole being honored for his service to the remodeling industry, but his company also won the Gold Award for Bathroom Remodel and the Bronze Award for Kitchen Remodel in the HBA 2020 Sales & Design Competition.
Cole did not start his career intending to own and operate a successful custom cabinetry and furniture design and manufacturing company. His artistic talent found him at Oakland Community College working toward an advertising career when a friend got him involved in framing houses. “I found that I really enjoyed working with my hands – working with wood,” said Cole. He framed houses for a few years before he was hired in 1996 by Templeton Building Company.
“I learned a lot from Steve Templeton,” stated Cole. “In 2005, Steve gave me the opportunity to separate Templeton’s custom cabinet operations from the building company, allowing me the latitude to run the cabinet company as my own and increase its possibilities.”
Cole’s reputation for crafting beautiful custom cabinets and unique furniture pieces grew and CWC expanded by acquiring additional cabinet companies. Recently, Cole and his wife of almost 20 years, Kristen, have spent time working to renovate property next to their location in Rochester Hills with the goal of expanding their showroom and business once again. “Renovating that space is my second job,” joked Cole.
The company does more than just cabinets. “We’ve built everything from a bookcase in the shape of the United States to a custom baby crib which enabled a woman in a wheelchair to care for her newborn child,” said Cole. “My philosophy has always been ‘we can make it happen’ and we are very proud of our successes.”
Cole wants young people to see the trades as viable career choices. He arranged for a high school student to work at CWC as a paid employee while also receiving high school credit for the experience. He volunteers to speak to students and his company donates materials to schools for their trade programs. Cole serves on an advisory committee for Rochester schools, helping direct their wood shop program, as well as serving on the Advisory Committee for the Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Clarkston.
“I completely fell into this profession by chance,” said Cole. “I could not see myself doing anything else. It’s a joy to come to work each day.”