We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Bride and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my business in 2012 with the intent to build a company and a culture that is based on honesty, integrity and quality craftsmanship. Nearly ten years later, I feel very proud of the company and most especially of the family of incredible individuals I am lucky enough to work with everyday. We are very intentional about the people we hire and the most important factor in our hiring is not skillset. Our company culture was built strategically with individuals who have personalities that allow them to create strong, authentic bonds with clients. Each team member highly values integrity and honesty, and they always prioritize our customer’s vision for their dream house. Our clients tell us that they truly enjoy including us as a part of their weekly and daily lives, and that they had fun with the journey of the build process. And that’s our goal, that’s our special sauce, creating that trust with our clients. Each person at Ascent has a strong ability to create that relationship that leads to a shared vision, and ultimately, a dream home and exceptional results for every single project.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
Regarding what sets us apart from others, this might sound crazy, but there is a bit of a stigma attached to the residential construction industry. In a widespread sense, there are stories about homeowners being taken advantage of or feeling like they didn’t have all the information they needed to get the best results. What separates Ascent Contracting, Inc. from our competitors, is that our priority is transparency from the first meeting to the final walkthrough. Ascent was conceived with a foundation of honesty and with a growth model intended to prioritize regular client communication and education. We’re careful to keep a workload that allows us to have detailed, intimate knowledge of each project. We understand that for most people, taking on a project like a home renovation is potentially one of the biggest financial investments they will make, we are honored to help guide people through what can be an intimidating process. We set out from the start to provide as much information as we can, as well as ask as many questions as possible to gain insight as to how to approach a build and to get to know our clients for the best results. Each person who works at Ascent has a true passion for custom home building. We love what we do, and we know our clients experience that joy and see that pride in the craftsmanship. We self-perform work that others contract out because we know if the framing team is in-house, we can expect consistent, beautiful work. All that to say, we’re in the business for what I consider to be all the right reasons. We wake up each day knowing that we’ve built homes that make people’s lives more enjoyable, and it’s our pleasure to make dream houses a reality.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Regarding what we want the world to know about our brand and our story, it’s that I believe we’re all on the Ascent- or at least we have the choice to be.
Every time we hire a person, I make a point to pull out one of our business cards, or our coffee mugs or the shirts and coats that we wear, and I take some time to talk about our logo. It’s a triangular picture of a mountain in green and light blue, and theres a little climber on the side. And the important part is that he’s on the side of the mountain, right in the middle, and he’s not at the top. He hasn’t peaked- he’s in the middle of his journey, of his Ascent. And I firmly believe that we’re all right there with him, on our own Ascent, and we all have the opportunity to continue and to keep growing both in our skills, and as people in a world together. And isn’t that the greatest part? To know that none of us have peaked? To know that, while it can be tough to continue, and though we will fail and we will fall, that we have the opportunity to press on and overcome challenges and grow as people? Isn’t it amazing that the mountain, that the journey of life, is there right in front of us, begging us to press on? To me, there’s so much beauty in that struggle.
When I thought of that logo, when I was trying to form and convey the reason why I was starting our company, I kept thinking back to a clear epiphany that I had years back. I was rock climbing with friends in the Poudre Canyon, west of Fort Collins, at a series of formations called The Palace. We were climbing a semi-intermediate route, maybe a 5.10B or 5.10C, and it was hard for me at the time (and let’s be honest, at my age it would be even harder now!) I tended to be the lead climber, meaning that a belayer would hold the rope from down below and I would climb the route above my rope, occasionally anchoring into the rock every 7 or 10 feet, and essentially carrying the rope to the top of the route to setup a top-placed anchor so that my friends could then climb. Its fantastically fun, but it can be nerve-racking knowing that a fall can be reasonably long- much longer than a fall if the rope is fixed at the top of the route. I was a decently good climber but I would tense up and panic if I found myself at a difficult section that was much higher than my last anchor point. If the holds got too small, or if I was running out of energy, too often I would psych myself out and fall off the rock, making it more nerve racking the next time around. But this one time at The Palace, I got to this difficult spot in the climb, and it was far above the last anchor point, and I made the choice to just press on- and it worked. And to my surprise, I realized that by just pushing a little harder and a little further, I was able to get my hands on a hold that I didn’t realize was there, and I was able to then push past and make it to the top! And during the next 10 years of climbing that happened over and over again. Each time I got to a difficult point in the climb, I would remember that single moment at The Palace, and remember that I had the choice to press on a little further knowing that there would be a perfect hold just a bit higher. And finally, I got to a point where I realized that I wasn’t even climbing anymore to get to the top of the route. Getting to the top was a fun byproduct- but the real reason I’d climb was to find those challenges, and to overcome those struggles.
I make a point to tell that story and talk about these concepts with everyone that we interview, because I want all of us to be able grow, and I want people to know that they are more powerful than they think. I want our employees to know that each one of us can overcome our struggles. And once they hire on, we will be right there with them, and we will fight for them. We will coach them and help them learn and watch them grow, and together we will struggle and together we will overcome.
And that’s really what our company is about- yes, we build great homes for great families and we will do so with care and attention to detail, but we’re more concerned with our impact on everyone we reach. Whether it’s our clients or our employees, or anyone else we come to know, we want to guide and we want to encourage and we want to be right there with them in the middle of their Ascent.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I had all these places to talk about, and then I realized that In-n-Out Burger just came to Denver, and its like “enough said”, right?! Seriously though, after we go from DIA to In-n-Out, we would pack climbing gear onto motorcycles and we would go climbing and riding all around the front range. I would take them into Clear Creek Canyon and we’d climb all the 5.10 and 5.11 routes in the Canal Zone, then we’d go to High Wire and climb The People’s Choice (5.10D, 3 pitch), then we’d go to the Wall of Justice, and attempt to climb anything there without getting shutdown. If we’re on our A-game, or on a massive high from the Double-Doubles, we’d try our luck at Officer Friendly and Hanging Judge (both 5.11c). We’d ride down to Decker’s through Pine, being sure to climb all around the south platte and stopping at the Bucksnort Saloon. Then we’d ride up to Estes Park on the Peak to Peak highway, being sure to climb in Boulder Canyon and eat at the Kathmandu restaurant in Nederland. And what trip to the front range wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Woody’s in Golden? All you can eat pizza, salad bar and beer cheese soup, with non-stop classic rock playing in the background? What more could anyone ask?!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t have been able to be the person I am today, or the person I hope to one day be, if it weren’t for the family that I grew up with as a kid, and the family that I am now a part of as an adult. My mom and dad supported me in everything I did growing up, and I’m slowly becoming aware that my wife was specifically sent to me as a gift from God. She’s is so much more patient than I could ever hope to be, and is able to handle the weight of so much more than I can, and she holds my entire world together.
But who I want to specifically dedicate this shoutout to is to any husband and any dad who is struggling with his marriage or struggling with being a father, and I want to encourage you to press on because it’s so important. I have personally realized that being a husband and a dad does not tie directly to my professional life. It has nothing to do with building houses or creating a company, but it has everything to do with making this world a better place for our families today and for our children’s families tomorrow. So if you’re in a marriage that is on the brink, or if you’re struggling with being a father and you want to leave, please please press on and recommit to your family. You are stronger than you think and you can reach that next hold.
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