PENTICTON – Duffy Baker Construction Corp. was named Trades Business of the Year at the inaugural Grant Thornton LLP Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards in June.

The award was presented at a gala at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.

Duffy Baker Construction, owned and operated by Duffy Baker and Koa Hughes, specializes in contracting, foundations, framing, and finishing carpentry, for commercial, residential, and renovations.

The company is comprised of two departments: contracting services and sub-contracting services where they subcontract out their four crews to other companies and contractors.

The addition of the trades division, where they offer their labour force to other construction companies on a per project basis, has been a stroke of genius.

Not only does it create a revenue stream for Duffy Baker Construction, but it keeps the company’s employees busy during slower times. The employees like it because they are continually employed by one company directly, that looks after them well with wages, benefits and their caring corporate culture.

“We feel incredibly honored by this recognition,” says Baker. “It was great just to be nominated, but the fact that we were able to bring home an award and call ourselves an award-winning construction company is humbling and honoring.”

The company is growing quickly and has an exciting future ahead of them. In the coming months, they will be featured in a CBC TV series called the Stats of Life. The show is a documentary style, and the episode they are featured in will be highlighting the daily life of three different entrepreneurs. In early August, CBC will be sending a film crew to cover the team for four days in Penticton and Kelowna.

Duffy Baker Construction is a young company in the Okanagan, beginning in 2014 after Baker’s former employer went out of business. The former employer was working on a job that was still unfinished, so the owner hired Baker to complete the project.

“The owner liked the job I did, so he found more and more work for me,” says Baker. “I did a good job, and did the work properly, so I started to build a good reputation very quickly.”

While working on one of this projects, Baker met Hughes, who was installing vinyl on the deck.

“I asked her if she wanted to go for a drink after work, and she said she would think about it. Thankfully she got in touch with me, and we went for a beer, we hit it off right away,” he says.

Baker and Hughes soon developed both a professional and romantic partnership that has been integral to the company’s growth.

“We haven’t been separated very long since,” says Baker. “She came to be co-owner of the company two years ago, and has taken it upon herself to drive the company forward.”

When Baker started, he was envisioning a smaller operation, but thanks to the vision and determination of Hughes, the company has grown to house 13 people (2 office staff and 11 crew members), operating out of a warehouse at the Cannery Trade Centre.

“I started out with a 1987 Toyota 4-Runner, hauling as many tools as I could inside, with as much lumber as I could fit on the top of the truck,” says Baker. “Now we have three beautiful work trucks, two trailers, and a C Can.”

According the Hughes, the company grew thanks to a “growing reputation for quality craftsmanship, our reputation of integrity and kindness, and our reputation of being good to our employees.”

They service the entire Okanagan from Kelowna to Osoyoos, and have been asked to take on jobs in areas as far as Williams Lake.

“I think the company has been successful because of the community we’re in,” says Baker. “We want to have a positive image in our community and we want to represent our community well.”

“We’re all about making sure our clients are happy at the end of the day. We do what we say we’ll do, we fix any mistakes if we make them. We want to change the image of Contractors to a positive one. People hire us for our heads. Pay us for our hearts. And trust us because we use both.”

When Baker and Hughes aren’t on the job, they are volunteering at various community organizations.

“We are committed to giving back to our community, being involved in community functions and fundraisers, and making sure that we always maintain a positive reputation amongst community members,” says Hughes.

“Without the unwavering support of our community, we would not be where we are today. We make a point to give back to charities, such as Mamas for Mamas, Meals on Wheels breakfast club, the Penticton Discovery House, and more.”

Baker and Hughes volunteer extensively with Mamas for Mamas, a Kelowna-based charity that supports mothers in crisis and provides ongoing support to low income mothers and children. Hughes is the newest Executive member of the Mamas for Mamas Team, and she is also the Sustainable Living Manager.

“We grew up in single parent homes, we know what families can struggle with, and we want to do our part in making sure that life can be a little easier on those families who are struggling,” says Hughes.

“With Mamas for Mamas, we are in the process of working on developing an Affordable small home community, with an intentional, community driven platform. We hope to have low-income families moving into these homes over the next couple years.”

Hughes was recently asked to be on a panel of Female Entrepreneurs on the Main Stage at the West Coast Women’s Show, at Tradex Centre, in Abbotsford Oct 12-14. TheDuffy Baker Construction booth can be found in the Home section.

Suite #304-1475 Fairview Road, Penticton