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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - Cristy Hansen, Owner, Nu-Tech Tile, Inc.

Spotlight - Cristy Hansen, Owner, Nu-Tech Tile, Inc.

image Cristy Hansen with her grandson, Jack.

Austin - Are you originally from Austin? I’m from Beeville. My girlfriend, Mary, who was my best friend growing up and who got me started in this business, is from Beeville, too. We’re still best friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you married, and do you have children?
    My husband passed away two weeks before 9/11.  I thought the sky was falling.
    We were married for 30 years. His name was Glenn, and he was an artist and a restaurant manager at Jeffrey’s. Then, he opened a wine shop.
    He was not involved with my business, except he did my books. When he died, I didn’t know how to do e-mail. (Luckily, I had friends who helped me out.)
    We were alter egos. It was terrible when he got sick; he had melanoma.
    I miss him.
    We had two sons – Soren, who is one of my foremen, and Erik, who doesn’t work for me now. And I have a grandson, Jack, who is the light of my life. He is 9 years old.

I understand you opened Nu-Tech 27 years ago. Is that correct?
    I started my business on my birthday, August 17, in 1990.
    Mary does this in California. She had been doing it for a few years, and she said I should learn how and start one in Texas. That’s how we began.

Why did you do it?
    I was not happy with the work I was doing. I was in banquets at the Hyatt and not going anywhere, so I went to California and worked with Mary.
    My husband said he was going to “divorce” me. I had left him with two boys! But I said, “I’m going to do this. I need to do something else.”
    And it was hard. That first five years were so hard because every floor is different.

What is Nu-Tech Tile, Inc.?
    What I do is very specialized.
    We do restoration, preservation and maintenance. I take a floor that’s beat-up, messed up and abused, and make it beautiful. But you also have to make it functional because floors get abused more than any other surface.
    We also seal installations and provide clients proper cleaning and general care information.
    I use top of the line chemicals, and I stay up with what’s going on in the chemical industry.
    But, I have the biggest bag of tricks.
    People ask me, “What are you going to do?” Well, I’m going to do whatever works.
    I’m good at what I do. I am. And so are my employees.
    And this year, we’ve started laying tile too.

As a woman who broke into the construction industry almost 30 years ago, you were a “pioneer,” weren’t you?
    When I started, it was not easy being a woman in construction. But, I believe, I gained the respect of the community, of my peers and also my clientele. I have customers that have been with me over 20 years. I’m proud of that.

Do you have any stories from your experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
    One thing I didn’t, and don’t have much of, is competition. I didn’t lay tile starting out. Things might have been different if I had done that. I started out doing restoration.
    But, it was just people’s attitudes. Some people would say, “You do that yourself?” And I said, “Yes.”
    It’s hard work! Most of it’s done on your hands and knees, and a lot of toxic chemicals are involved.
    It’s detailed, too. That’s why I have women working for me as well as men. Women are more detail-oriented as a rule. Not always, but for the most part, they are more conscious of their surroundings.
    Lindsey Anseman is one of my foremen, too. She runs crews.
    I love the girls who work for me.
    They have families and have to be home by 2:00 for their kids and that works well for all of us.

Why have you stayed with it for so long?

    I’m just not a quitter.

What are some of the challenges you incur?
     The challenging thing is meeting the expectation of the client. You have to know your limits. I never promise my customers the sun and the moon.
    It’s restoration; it’s not an exact science. I do the best I can do with every piece of knowledge I’ve gained over the years, and it usually comes out just fine.
    The challenge is that and making sure you get in at the job site at the right time. Other contractors often don’t respect floors.
    Technology is challenging too. My worst days are when I’m in the office. I’d much rather be on the job or talking to somebody about tile. It’s my passion, and I’m excited to be doing it.

Why is tile your passion?
    Because I’m good at it. It’s what I do, and I get to see results. I get to see the ugly go away. I get to see happy customers who have been with me over 20 years. It’s a good feeling.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    Yoga. I’ve been doing it for 25 years. It’s good for your body and good for your soul. It’s important to find your “yoga.” Otherwise, you get sucked into the unimportant things.
    I also go to the lake.
    And I have two dogs, two cats and an old parrot named Harley. I have had him for over 20 years. He’s a red-lored Amazon. All of them are rescues. Animals come to me.

What will happen to Nu-Tech when you retire, and what will you do?

    It’s hard for me to let go. I care about what happens to my business, and you can’t really sell a business like this because you can’t sell knowledge and expertise.
    I want it to go on. It’s my legacy. Glenn died, but he will live forever in his art. Nu-Tech can live forever, too. It’s my art.
    I’m hoping Soren will continue with the restoration part of it, and that our foreman, Chamberlain Dennis, will stay with the tile, and that they will keep the other employees to help with both things giving them all paychecks.
    I’m 67. You never know what’s down the road. But, as long as I’m able to work, I’m going to. I’m not going to strip floors, but I’m going to be there to watch and advise.
    Nu-Tech Tile, Inc. is a subcontractor that provides tile sealing, restoration, maintenance and installation in Austin and surrounding communities. – ke


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Author Info

Kim Estes austineditor@constructionnews.net