Mastered Craft: Dave Burford09/21/2018 02:45PM ● By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS –“I was literally a number to them,” says Dave Burford when discussing his previous jobs with larger oil and gas companies. Burford left the big corporations behind when he found his position as general factotum for Steamboat Curtain Factory.
“Working in a small company is amazing,” he says. “Having tea or coffee with my boss every day while reviewing work, discussing upcoming clients and communicating with two or four people – rather than names I’ve never seen – is something very special.”
The Pittsburgh native moved to Evergreen, CO in search of a different speed of life. Years after his relocation he decided to check out Steamboat. “The people were so nice,” he says. “On day one I was offered three jobs, a place to live, someone took me to dinner, another to drinks. We followed up with a trip to Strawberry Park and a free concert. It was more than I did in my three years in Evergreen. I went back, got my stuff and never looked back.”
Burford was working as a handyman and working with property managers when he was put in touch with Joey Kay at the Steamboat Curtain Factory. Kay had recently relocated her business and was looking for help rebuilding her workshop. Burford constructed her saw stations, shelving and workbenches, which led to a week’s worth of other projects. “She never let me go,” says Burford.
Burford began working with his hands at a very young age. His father and grandfather inspired him to choose a field that offers an outlet of creativity. Carpentry was his father’s life work. “He built log homes, did remodels and renovations, repaired flood and fire damage,” he says. “My father was a jack of all trades. He would build a house for 10 hours a day, then come home and work on our deck, mow the lawn and then go coach baseball.” Burford’s grandfather was a master woodworker and craftsman. “Growing up in my grandpa’s shop was one of my most fond memories of childhood,” he says. “Being in the shop always felt like home. It might have been a bit forced when I was young, but I always enjoyed manual labor.”
“Every day is something different at the shop,” he says. “Day to day is full of continuous brainteasers and problem solving. Sometimes in a project every hole I drill to mount a bracket is something different than the one I just drilled. Nothing is really ever as it seems.” The problem-solving is Burford’s favorite part about running the Steamboat Curtain Factory. “It keeps me on my toes,” he says. “Joey’s involvement in the company is motivating; she has the knowledge and experience of a lifetime, and she’s always there working.”
“The biggest thing that separates us from the other companies in town is that we manufacture locally,” Burford says.
Everything made by the Steamboat Curtain Factory is made with their own hands. They are a privately-owned company that handles every facet of the creation of window treatments. All the manufacturing is done in-house, locally, from taking measurements to fabricating the metals and fabrics. “I don’t think anyone else could even offer that,” Burford adds.
“The local manufacturing, the quality of work we are putting out, the reputation that precedes us and having a new, younger face involved in the company with great contractor and builder connections is going to really help the business grow locally,” Burford adds. “I see a lot of my future in this business. Joey and I have talked a lot about transitioning ownership through the years. I look forward to growing the business every day and making it as successful as possible.”
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