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Prime doors and windows

image Steve Barron, owner of Designer Door & Window.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Steve Barron cut his construction chops while serving in the Air Force as a member of Civil Engineering’s mobile/rapid response Prime Beef team. He taught construction while at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.





    Barron has owned two different construction companies previously, from California to Iowa. He’s also spent time in the corporate side of construction. But when the sometimes-fickle construction industry took a nosedive in 2009, and Barron’s division was axed, Baron and his wife Debby moved to the prosperous Dallas area and bought a company that became Designer Door & Window (DDW) in 2010.
    DDW’s showroom and office is in Plano, while the operations center is in Carrollton. When Barron took the company over (it had a different name then), he gave its employees time to adjust to the new ownership and business model of strictly retrofit windows and doors. Some guys left on their own; some were assisted in leaving; while others stayed on and have flourished. Finally, new folks were hired. Barron’s current production manager used to be a laborer but has worked his way up.
    Barron praises his “outstanding employees.” “You can always teach the skill,” he said, but “you hire for character.” Because of the quality of his guys, Barron says that the amount of emergencies and putting out of fires he does is kept to a minimum.
    An odd downside of the booming construction industry is it’s harder to find good talent because the demand for it is so high. Still, Barron is proud of what DDW does. “We do not sub contract any of our work,” he said. “All our work is done with our own certified third party employees.”
    DDW covers the Metroplex area but is cautious about dipping down into Dallas too far, for then Barron encounters older homes that have a greater chance of having lead-based paint.
    When a new window is installed, all the layers of paint must be cut into. Lead testing must be done on all structures older than 1978, and, while DDW has technicians certified in lead paint removal, it is quite the process. Inevitably, that affects the price of the window or door.
    A definite player in the window and door installation business is the weather. Barron watches the forecast carefully in order to schedule his men most effectively. They can work in the rain if they have a 10-foot minimum overhang.
    When it comes to energy-efficient and “green” materials in his trade, Barron says there is “no question about it” when it comes to how that impacts him. A big challenge is for manufacturers to keep up with new requirements imposed on them to meet standards. 
    For the future, Barron has a five-year vision to be double the size. Also, he wants to have the showroom and operations center to be co-located. He wants this to happen in the eight-to10-year range. The reason for them being separated was the availability of leasing space at the time.
    Designer Door & Window is strategically located at the crossroads to all major north Dallas highways, enabling Barron to rapidly deploy his team of door and window replacement experts to customers excited to upgrade their homes with great doors and windows. When it comes to the war against old and ugly windows, Barron will win it.
    Designer Door & Window is in Plano. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net