Joe Froese’s career is all about the hustle.
From his first day as an apprenticeship student, Froese made sure nobody ever outworked him. Now, at 27, as a journeyman carpenter he co-owns two businesses with his father, George – the man who instilled in him a strong work ethic.
In 2002, the elder Froese founded Access Framing Inc. (@accessframinginc) in the family’s home community of Grunthal, in southeastern Manitoba. The company puts up wood frames for residential and commercial buildings. George is also known in the area as a pastor at Bothwell Christian Fellowship, in New Bothwell.
Joe joined his father at Access Framing as an apprentice carpenter in 2012, and he bought into the company two years later. After completing high school at that time, he transitioned into the Carpentry program at Red River College and graduated in 2017.
There’s value in the program for students who want to take the incentive and further themselves, says Froese, adding his own education at the College helped him to hone his problem-solving skills. “I think Red River College put me far ahead of where I would have been, if I had just worked hard in the trade and ‘worked my way up,’ kind of deal. It definitely helped me get ahead,” he says.
In 2019, with backing from his father, Froese started a second company, Access Building Ent. (@accessbuildingent), to work on start-to-finish new home builds and general contracting.
“I had an opportunity that presented itself to me,” he says. “I had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to do start-to-finish home builds. A buddy of mine had a house that needed repair, and he could not afford to fix it up. So, I bought the house and the land from him. I tore the house down, subdivided the land, and we built a few new homes.”
Froese describes carpentry as “a hard, physical, demanding career path,” and he says a person’s attitude plays a big role in their success.
“My instructors at Red River College were helpful; especially if you showed an interest in carpentry, which I did,” he says. “I wanted to become the best at it that I could be when I started, and they helped me to achieve that.”
Froese still works closely with George. Not every day working with his father is perfect, he admits. “Some days, we just don’t get along,” he laughs. “But for the most part, we get along and have a good relationship that way.”
His advice to students who want to break into the framing and construction business is to pay attention, learn how to use the tools, and understand the basics first. “Once you are in the trade, hopefully you will apprentice with a crew that will teach you, and not just expect you to know everything. Listen to what they tell you and grasp the concepts. Then they will start giving you more responsibilities. You can work your way up quickly, actually, if you show that initiative.”
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