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Milltech Millwork Turns 30 By Nerissa McNaughton
he founder of Milltech Millwork, Glenn Thordarson, was an amazing man. “He was working full time for a large millwork company in Edmonton,” explains his wife, Crystal. “He started out doing evening and weekend work in the garage at home but eventually quit his job, branched out on his own, and leased a space on 166 Street. The company outgrew that space one bay at a time so we bought a building by Telus World of Science. We ran out of space again!” Since 2001 the rapidly growing company calls a large showroom and production facility at 12410 – 142nd Street home. Glenn, was the president and CEO of Milltech before his sudden passing in 2012. From his garage-run business in 1986 to the state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot facility Milltech operates out of today, he was involved in every project, worked hard to keep every employee happy and was a major contributor to the city of Edmonton. Business in Edmonton magazine sat down with Crystal Thordarson, Keith Waldbillig, Nathan Schmidt, Mike Millard, Troy Thordarson and Evan Thordarson to discuss how Milltech is continuing to make an impact in Edmonton, throughout Canada, and into the United States. Milltech Millwork provides premium architectural woodwork for commercial applications. The company specializes in creative store fixtures, providing everything from the guitar-shaped bar in Edmonton’s (former) Hard Rock Café to the service counters
CRYSTAL, EVAN AND TROY THORDARSON, NATHAN SCHMIDT, KEITH WALDBILLIG & MIKE MILLARD
Glenn Thordarson made Milltech Millwork unstoppable, which is why the company continues to blaze forward despite the tragic loss of the founder and CEO.
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HARDROCK CAFÉ – FORMERLY IN WEST EDMONTON MALL
and retail display units in every Sport Chek and ATMOSPHERE® in Canada. Milltech was the name behind the fixtures in some of the early Second Cup cafes in Edmonton and Calgary. Their projects have shipped as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. “Knowing that every craft must evolve, Milltech has placed itself at the leading edge of technology by adapting new techniques and products while improving bottom line operating efficiencies. In our hearts, however, we remain craftsman in the truest sense,” declares the Milltech team with pride. “We started with 1,250 square feet, then moved to 2,500, then to 10,000….17,000 and now 100,000!” marvels Keith who started out at Milltech by working for Glenn part time. Once he was laid off from his other job, Glenn was quick to offer him a fulltime position, and he’s been with Milltech ever since. “In every step of our growth we improved efficiency with technology and new equipment,” smiles Crystal. She was involved
with Milltech from the get go, helping with the daily operations of the business. They all have fond memories of how the company grew and thrived with each technological advance. “Going from manual drafting to AutoCad! Getting the first computer in the office! Everything was paper and pencil before that,” laughs Nathan who claims he has “sawdust in his blood.” Nathan joined Milltech after high school in 1987 and the company has been his only employer since he was 17. Keith fondly remembers the company’s first CNC machine. “We used to have to go out to the parking lot to do a 30-foot arc. Then suddenly it’s all done on the computer. It’s perfect!” The management team knows, however, that technology is just one part of their successful equation. Glenn was an amazing judge of character and because of that, he was able to surround himself with honest, hardworking people. Glenn always put a
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CONGRATULATIONS MILLTECH MILLWORK
Congratulations on 30 years Milltech Millwork! Wishing you many years of continued success.
Commemorating thirty years of leadership in the woodworking industry.
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Congratulations Milltech Millwork on 30 great years!
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high emphasis on respecting and treasuring Milltech’s highly trained team, knowing that happy employees create successful companies. This ideal has never changed. “Everybody’s job here is valued and everybody is part of a team,” Crystal points out. “The way we complete our projects is through teamwork. Our staff is willing to be challenged. Sometimes we have interesting projects that need to go through trial and error before we get to the finished product. We value the staff and appreciate their dedication, experience and loyalty.” “We do cool stuff. People want to be involved in our projects,” says Keith. He goes on to call the staff dedicated, experienced and out-of-the box thinkers. Milltech has the winning combination of the right technology, outstanding past and present leadership and a fully engaged team – and they couldn’t be prouder of this fact. “There’s nothing we can’t do,” smiles Nathan. “Quality” is the one word that sums up Milltech for Glenn’s son Troy. Like his brother Evan, he started doing odds and ends at Milltech while he was younger, taking full advantage of the Milltech Millwork | 30 Years | 4
opportunity to learn new things. Both young men loved it and joined the company upon completion of their post-secondary education at the University of Alberta and apprenticeship training at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. For Mike, the words that best describe Milltech are “technology, quality, and capacity.” Mike’s father introduced him to Glenn. “I was swinging a hammer in Winnipeg as a carpenter and had an opportunity to do things with Glenn as a general contractor. I moved here in 1998 and have been here ever since.” Milltech is also proud to continue on with Glenn’s support of community and non-profit organizations. The company donates to the Cross Cancer Institute; Santas Anonymous; the Forzani Foundation’s Mother’s Day Run, Walk & Ride; The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation; The Salvation Army; and the Edmonton Oil Kings Seats for Kids program, to name just a few. Thirty years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Glenn would be so pleased with where the company is today, with both sons’ involvement in growing Milltech, the steadfast team, and the new and repeat clients that just can’t get enough of the company’s high-quality, creative millwork. The team is very thankful for Glenn’s hard work and the way in which he set up the company for success.
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Congratulations on 30 great Years to the Team at Milltech Millworks!
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Milltech Millwork on 30 years! We are proud to be a partner in your success!!
Congratulations Milltech Millwork on 30 years. We wish you many more years of success!
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1000, 10080 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB Phone: 780-428-9500 • Fax: 780-424-2370
The team is very thankful for Glenn’s hard work and the way in which he set up the company for success. What does the future hold for Milltech? The company will maintain their position and reputation in the industry while preparing the next generation for leadership succession under the guidance of very experienced and highly-valued partners. They all look forward to continuing to add new technologies to aid the company’s steady growth. With 30 years of experience, their products in nationally branded stores across North America, creative designs to fit any request and the latest in technology to make it all happen, you know Milltech Millwork is the first choice for quality architectural woodwork. Contact Milltech today to see how this company can take your project from ordinary to extraordinary. THE FOUNDER OF MILLTECH MILLWORK, GLENN THORDARSON.
“Without his vision, none of us would be here,” says Mike. “Without his dream, there would not be this reality,” adds Crystal. “He worked very hard. Sometimes too hard. He was dedicated. On his daily morning walk through the shop, he would ask employees for their input on how to improve our processes for future projects. He was about efficiency, improving Milltech, and making everything we do here better.” The team also owes a debt of gratitude to John Forzani. Crystal explains. “He put his trust in us early on and I believe that is because John and Glenn had a mutual respect for each other. He believed in our capability and gave us a chance.”
12410 - 142 St. NW Edmonton, AB T5L 4K2 Tel. 780.455.6655 • Fax 780.488.6655 Toll Free 800.755.3092 www.milltech-group.com
Congratulations Milltech Millwork on 30 years!!!
9540 62 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 0E2 Office: (780) 435-2291 • Fax: (780) 989-3871 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.eberhards.ca
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