Dave Watchorn gets it. He gets how processes and systems work in a successful business, and why they’re so important.
His business, Training Solutions Group, and the company that completed four home renovations for him, Lagois Design-Build-Renovate, are completely different. And yet in many ways, they’re the same.
They’re both dedicated to planning, design, organization, scheduling, people, and answers to challenging situations. They’re both systematic, perceptive, creative problem-solvers.
It might be why Dave and Lagois founder, Herb Lagois, got along so well when they first met back in 1988. Both were on the executive of their community’s Chamber of Commerce. At that time, both were in the early stages of their own business development, and they learned from each other.
They were a good team. During their tenure at the helm, they grew the Chamber membership from 30 to 150.
Back then, Dave knew Herb as “the renovation guy”, and in the 90s he hired the Lagois company to renovate the main bathroom in his 1970s bungalow. It meant a whirlpool tub, skylight and other new and exciting features of the era. Afterwards, he invited Lagois back to do a complete renovation of the kitchen.
About 20 years later, Lagois did yet another complete redesign and renovation to the same rooms. Only this time, both were much larger projects, requiring much more thought in the design phase and much more planning in the execution steps.
The kitchen was a months-long project that meant moving walls and a complicated surface expansion. Dave remembers cooking in his home office and his wife trying to decide from thousands of available shades of one colour with Lagois’ expert site supervisor Tom Felts. They said goodbye to the whirlpool bath in the bathroom and replaced it with a walk-in, tiled shower along with wider doorways for assistive device accessibility and a sun tunnel to replace the skylight.
He recalls the projects and the Lagois approach as being creative, yet systematic, similar to his own business.
Dave is an instructional designer and facilitator. Since 1988, North Gower-based Training Solutions Group (TSG) has helped businesses that are going through periods of change to educate their employees during transitions to new ways of working. The training programs he and his team create for clients are all custom, unique, and dependent on the kind of change ahead. Each client, each need, is different. The plan for each program depends on the scope of the learning objectives, time, budget, and available delivery methods.
“The way I build a training program is like the way Lagois builds your kitchen,” he says. Everything must be assessed, designed, planned and decided before the learning solution ‒ or kitchen build or renovation ‒ begins. It takes time, expertise, and careful listening. It means finding out what people need, defining their problems, and then creating a method to solve them.
TSG clients have learning objectives for their staff to achieve, but every individual learns in their own way. TSG learning programs have to be designed to fulfill both sets of needs. Changes that occur during development have to be accommodated. At the end of the job, the outcome is evaluated to its original design, just like a Lagois project.
Dave is pleased with his Lagois renovations and with the company itself. He liked the time spent on every detail, the ongoing communication with the project team, and the collaborative debrief of the project at the end. He says it’s the type of quality workmanship on which Training Solutions Group also prides itself.
“We think alike,” he says.
He praises Lagois Design-Build-Renovate for being “professional from one end to the other. They comply with every single regulation.” He adds they do safety audits and set everything up on-site thoughtfully, intelligently and in a way that pleases the people who are living through the renovation.
“Everything is done by consultation,” he says. He likes the written schedules, and the series of binders to document the process, the detail, and the sign-offs at every major milestone.
Would he recommend Lagois to others?
“Oh yes,” he says. “I already have.”
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