Tell us about yourself & your company?
James: On paper I’m the president of FireStar Custom Home Builders, in reality I would consider myself an owner/operator as I’m still known to be on site working with the tools. My formal trade is roofing however I tend to stay away from that too much these days. I like to lend a hand to our sub trades to help make the job easier for them. We started out as a renovation company back in 2008, officially becoming home builders in 2014. We build spec homes, custom homes, lane way homes, and multi family homes. We do still take on large renovations if we have the time and resources.
How did you get into the residential construction industry?
James: My grandfather was a general contractor that specialized in lifting houses to repair and replace brick foundations. Grandpa’s truck was my first day care. At the age of 4 I was given the title of “Senior Nail Straightener” I would work through my coffee can of bent nails making them straight with my mini hammer. From those days I learned that you could build stuff from raw materials. I was hooked!
What keeps you in the industry?
James: Being able to create something from nothing. Having the ability to turn a pile of materials into a new home will never get old for me.
While navigating covid-19, what new opportunities have you discovered?
James: COVID-19 has strengthened my communication skills with my clients and sub trades. We’ve been using zoom and FaceTime to keep safe distances while still working towards our goals.
It’s 11AM Saturday morning, what are you up to?
James: Jan 3rd – Sept 1st, usually running errands with the family, walking the dog, taking the kids to sport practice. Sept1st – Jan 2nd watching college football! I’m a huge NotreDame fan.
What are your hobbies?
James: Music. I spent 15 years working as a guitar player in a rock/metal band. Now I get to play guitar with my kids in our little home garage studio. Basketball. My favourite sport to play, just before Covid closed everything down I was playing in three different leagues all over the lower mainland.
James: My kids. Charlotte and Mason.
What have you done in your community in the last year?
James: Recently I worked with a friend to establish a safe gym environment to get a handful of guys back playing basketball. New restrictions have since closed it down but we hope that soon we can get it back open again. When the original Covid restrictions came out I volunteered for my neighbourhood to be the “grocery guy” I ran all the errands and did shopping for the elderly to allow them to stay safe at home.
Favourite HAVAN moment and why?
James: Yesterday! When we officially became members.
Best work perk at your job?
James: Flexibility in time. Being able to take off with the family and not have to clear it with the boss.
Last HAVAN member you spoke to?
James: Eric Jensen from Sprucehill Contracting
What inspires you?
James: Helping others and teaching my children.
What are you excited for / looking forward to right now?
James: Holidays with my family. Nothing better than a child on Christmas morning!
Share an interesting fact about your life?
James: I met my wife (Carolyn) in Las Vegas while on tour with my band, ended up moving to North Vancouver in 2006.
Last piece of advice you have received?
James: Don’t waste your energy arguing with someone not willing to listen.
James: Venti Mocha, half sweet, no whip.
Song on repeat right now?
James: Too many to list! SXM radio, Octane
Where were you born?
James: Jamestown, New York
James: Nova, a 2.5 year old Great Dane.
James: Hawaii or back home to see my family.
Does pineapple belong on pizza?
James: I’m not against it. It’s hard to make a pizza I wouldn’t eat. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it.
James: Deftones and 311, Roseland Ballroom NYC
Last show watched?
James: Book: Hillbilly Elegy. Movie: Trolls World Tour
Fun fact about you?
James: I actually grew up a big fan of CFL football! Being close to Toronto made me an automatic Argos Fan!
What do you collect?
James: When I was younger I collected baseball cards, then guitars, and now I seem to collect old power tools that I just don’t have the heart to get rid of.
Netflix guilty pleasure?
James: Sons of Anarchy
James: We also have a Facebook group page. We look forward to meeting all the HAVAN members