Building Materials Sales Staff
These folks know their building products inside and out!
John has been with Preston Feather Building Centers since spring of 1997, stating “ I’ve been in this business since I was five years old.” His focus is Contractor sales; working with contractors and home owners to make their building projects go smoothly. Having worked for several other lumber companies during his career, what he likes best about Preston Feather is, “Our customer service.” He also enjoys meeting people and visiting job sites. “There are some extraordinary projects being built in Northern Michigan!” When he’s not helping with building projects, John has found time to volunteer with the Fire Department, 4-H as a leader, the North Central Home Builder’s Association, the County Board of Appeals, and as a football coach. John was recently named Home Builder Associate of the Year for his volunteer efforts.
Katherine Spreeman has been with Preston Feather Building Centers since 2004, joining us with many years experience designing homes and buildings. She describes her responsibilities as problem solver, drawing plans with architectural and structural detail to meet the customer’s needs and wants. Katherine greatly enjoys meeting various people and having the independence to design their home. “Customers are my priority - without them I wouldn’t be here,” she says, “the professionalism and respect every customer receives is a great aspect of working at Preston Feather.” Katherine received a B.S. degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI, and holds certification as a Wood Foundation Designer. Building design has been her career for over 15 years. When not creating great spaces for her clients, Katherine can be found spending time with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys the great out doors when the weather is right, and scrap booking when the weather is not.
Kyle has been with Preston Feather Building Centers since July of 2000, first as a delivery driver. That experience has helped him tremendously as a Building Materials Specialist. Although he’d rather be on the golf course most days, he enjoys his job because of the friendly customers and exciting projects they’re building. Prior to Preston Feather, Kyle had earned a degree in turf management and was a course superintendent. He has volunteered his time over the years to Unicef, nursing homes, soup kitchens and newspaper drives. Kyle and his wife are parents of two young daughters; parenting has curtailed his volunteering for a time. In addition to golf, Kyle enjoys playing with his girls, biking and hiking in this gorgeous area were we live.
Jay Steffel has been selling wood for over 20 years, “I can’t remember what I did before that!” He works directly with contractors to complete their construction projects also assisting with estimating and ordering of the materials for them. Jay has earned a Michigan Builders License. What he likes best about his job at Preston Feather is the people, “From the drivers to the managers, we have the greatest people any business would want.” He also enjoys the people he gets to meet including the contractors and their customers. Jay’s favorite non-work activity is traveling; he also likes to camp, boat and snow ski. He and his wife Patti are the parents of four grown children.
John is one of the first people you will encounter as you enter the Harbor Springs store. Always quick with a smile, he describes his job as, “Customer service, from sales to delivery & beyond.” He makes it look easy locating building products, placing special orders and scheduling deliveries. “I want to make sure every customer is satisfied with my service.” He enjoys the wide variety of customers he gets to work with including builders, home owners and co-workers. John joined the company as a driver in 1996 and has been involved with sales, both inside and out, for many years. Prior to joining us he held positions in machine shops and hardware stores in Southwestern Michigan. As the son of a Methodist minister, his childhood was spent in many Michigan towns, graduating from Edwardsburg High School. In addition to his responsibilities with the company, John has been a volunteer fire fighter for nearly 20 years. Other interests include spending time with his wife and children enjoying the woods and fields of Northern Michigan.
Paul is a relative newcomer to Preston Feather Building Centers, but a veteran in the construction industry. Prior to joining us he worked with several area contractors. His goal is to provide the best customer service that he can in an effort to make customers pleased enough they’ll want us to make money too! His philosophy is “Just do it, that’s all,” while he spends time finding special things for the customers' building projects. Paul grew up (not quite yet, he admits) and attend school in Lake Orion. He enjoys all the people he meets and works with at Preston Feather. When he’s not at the counter or on your jobsite, he’s home in his wood working shop building things.
Pete Ambrose, our most seasoned building material salesperson, has been with Preston Feather Building Centers since 1982. Over the years Pete has developed a loyal customer base and has supplied materials to hundreds of projects throughout Northwest Lower Michigan and the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Pete enjoys watching NASCAR but prefers the excitement of spending the weekend at Michigan International Speedway and feeling the sound and speed of 200-mph first hand. Back home he likes to play golf but admits a couple of lessons may be something to look into. At work Pete's goal is "Treat the Customer the way I would want to be treated, and back it up with a hand shake that says you can trust me."
If Russ ever gets out of the lumber business, he might be a success as a stand-up comic. Russ is one of the funniest characters at our Harbor Springs store. He is one of our contractor sales specialists – spending most of his time around Emmet county visiting jobsites and helping contractors get the right materials to the site at the right stages of the project. Life makes him laugh, and when he’s not working, he’d rather be with his family. Russ grew up in the Detroit area attending Cass Tech. He was a self-employed contractor before joining Preston Feather Building Centers. Many of Russ’ off-work activities revolve around his children’s interests. He has been on the Sports Boosters committee and has been involved in 4H with his daughters. Russ and his family reside on a working farm in northern Emmet County. He and his wife are parents to three: eldest daughter a senior in college, son a freshman in college and youngest daughter a senior in high school.
Ben is heading up Preston Feather’s sales of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). He works with contractors, other members of our sales team and homeowners with this exciting “green” product. Ben enjoys the challenges and problem solving involved with keeping a project moving smoothly and meeting new people. The people Ben works with and the positive work environment at Preston Feather Building Centers are also high on his list. Ben’s customer service philosophy is, “What would I want if I were the customer?” Give him a challenge to find a special product and he will do everything possible to get it. He recently attended a multi-day training session hosted by Logix Insulated Concrete Forms. When he’s not on the road visiting jobsites introducing the benefits of ICFs, Ben likes anything in the great outdoors, especially bow hunting. His hobbies include taxidermy, furniture building and farming.
Don Smith has been with Preston Feather Building Centers since 1984, specializing in being an asset to professional contractors with the researching, pricing and coordinating of quality building materials for their projects. Smith states, “Customer service is our number one service that we provide; we strive very hard to help our customer succeed in their building projects.” Don notes that being an independently owned business allows Preston Feather Building Centers the flexibility to cater to our customers in a way that the boxes just can’t do. "We are able to work on a more personal level between the staff and the customer." He especially enjoys researching, bidding, supplying material and the satisfaction of being a part of helping complete someone’s home, cottage or even a kid’s tree house. The Smith family includes wife, son and three daughters. When he’s not spending time with the family, or coaching his son’s sports teams, Don volunteers as a third-generation fire fighter.
When asked to describe his job, John says simply, “Outside Sales.” What that really means is he meets builders, remodelers and contractors on their job sites and helps keep the right materials coming at the right time. A former contractor himself, John knows the building process well enough that he can stay a step ahead of the builder to anticipate what to have delivered. He will, “Do what it takes,” to keep his customers happy. What might be the biggest surprise about John is that at one time he spent several years in Las Vegas dealing cards. He grew up in the Detroit area graduating from Servite High School and has attended North Central Michigan College. John possesses a great sense of humor stating, “Almost anything,” makes him laugh. John has over 20 years in the building industry. He never tires of seeing the completed building projects he has been involved with and enjoys working with everyone at Preston Feather.
Building material salesperson, Lee Padgett, likes to help our customers find what they need to do the job right the first time. He’s fond of saying, “If you don’t learn at least one thing a day it was a wasted day; never stop learning.” Lee is learning a bunch in his new role with Preston Feather. Prior to joining us, Lee attended Alpena Community College studying auto body repair. For several years he cut trees for a local tree service. Now he’s learning all about the building industry and running a retail business. Lee finds the people he works all have a great sense of humor. One liners, jokes and funny stories keep him smiling all day long. Lee’s wife and two children occupy plenty of his off-work time and he also enbjoys many outdoor activities, especially fishing. He’s been involved with various community organizations including the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Habitat for Humanity.
Brian Goalen has returned to Preston Feather after a few years with his family in Florida. He relocated back to Northern Michigan to assist with the establishment of our full building center in Traverse City. We are very glad he chose to come back. Brian is a go-getter, embracing a “make it happen” philosophy. He will do anything it takes to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations at all times. Returning to a job where he enjoys challenges to provide great service and to help both customers and staff alike, he is pleased to work with like-minded people. He grew up in Petoskey and attended the Community College of the Air Force. Brian's volunteer stints have included the USAF Reserves and firefighting. When not at our Traverse City store, Brian spends time with his family, described as “Great. Loving; a blessing.” He also plays guitar and participates in outdoor activities including kayaking, and fishing.
Neil is one of the newest members of our sales team meeting with builders, contractors and remodelers in Antrim, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse counties. He has vast experience in the industry starting with his first job, at age 18, upon graduation from school. Neil’s customer service philosophy is, “Do it right the first time.” Prior to joining us, Neil grew up in and graduated from school in Elk Rapids, working at two other building material suppliers. What he likes best about Preston Feather Building Centers is the people he works with and the family atmosphere of the company. He most enjoys working with builders and homeowners nurturing a project from blueprint to final walk through. “It is really exciting to watch a project come together while it’s under construction,” he states. When Neil is not at work, or watching projects grow, he spends time with his wife and three daughters at their home in Elk Rapids. A master griller, he loves to barbecue meals for his family throughout the year. The remainder of his time is split between working on his home and the golf course.
Pete Bugai joined our Traverse City team as we moved into our new location at Chum’s Corners. He has extensive experience in construction and the lumber business. Pete knows the area well, having grown up in the Leelanau and Traverse City areas. Pete is an outside salesperson working with contractors and homeowners on a variety of building and remodeling projects. He especially enjoys the opportunities to work with the homeowners guiding them through the many decisions necessary in a building project. When he is not at Preston Feather, Pete can be found supporting his son’s activities with TC West Band, Boy Scout Troop 27, and rugby. He also enjoys camping fishing and hunting in this beautiful area of our state.