DALLAS/FT WORTH – Before Melanie Kuhr and Jeff Makohon acquired Signature Millwork in 2005, they were movers and shakers in corporate America – Kuhr worked with Proctor & Gamble and EDS and Makohon was a principal with CSC, a consulting company. Still, they wanted something different.
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“Jeff and I had a desire to be more entrepreneurial and to be able to see the results of our work as opposed to it being a spreadsheet or a PowerPoint that ended up in somebody’s shredder,” Kuhr says. “It was definitely a more tangible type of business to be in.”
In the 13 years since, they have grown the company to 38 team members that do the whole life cycle process of architectural millwork – design, build, finish and installation, including solid surface fabrication. They also outgrew their 20,000sf of cobbled-together space on Newkirk St. and moved operations last December to a 50,000sf facility on Merrell Rd.
“The old workspaces were inefficient because we had to handle materials too much, so it was a great opportunity to find this building,” Kuhr says. “All of our operations are in one area now. It has given us an opportunity to improve our environment for our team and upgrade our workflow processes.”
Even with this major goal recently reached, she says she and Makohon continue to set goals.
“We have a new building and, as a result, we can manage larger and more complex projects,” she explains. “We can change that and be able to create some efficiencies, so we’re working in teams on process improvement.”
She and Makohon are also committed to securing talented craftsmen and diverse clientele.
“About 80% of our business is commercial and 20% distinguished residential. There’s so much opportunity in the DFW area,” she says. “We have a kind of niche type of business in architectural millwork and we’re going to continue to develop and improve that space. We love our company; we have a lot of passion around it and we’re proud to be able to participate in so many Dallas landmarks.”
Some of those landmarks include Nasher Sculpture Center, Statler Hotel & Residences, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Founders Square, Residences at Stoneleigh, Museum Tower, Dallas Arboretum, First Presbyterian Church, Westin One Main Place, St. Marks School of Texas and several major corporate headquarters.
One future project Kuhr is excited about is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, scheduled to open in August 2019. Her involvement with the Dallas Holocaust Museum began after she co-authored Das House in East Berlin, a book about her journey to reclaim her family home seized by the Nazis in 1942.
Kuhr is also excited about where the company is, where it’s going and what that means for the Signature Millwork team.
“That’s a lot of what drives us to be good stewards for our company.”
WBE-SBE-HUB-FSC–certified subcontractor Signature Millwork is based in Dallas. –mjm