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     Local Leader
     A former cabinetmaker entered the remodeling
     market intent on learning the business;
     10 years later he’s an industry leader.
     By Pa t r i c k L . O ’ To o l e

             o know that Tom Ashley                        of a wide range of remodeling
             is the current president of                   projects. But in the process of
                                                                                                                                           Ashley, far left, with the team that
             the Capital Region                            earning three professional des-        aware of the recession.”                 made improvements to the home of
     Builders Association (CRBA), a                        ignations — Certified Graduate             Ashley’s commitment to               Carl Falconer Sr. They earned a CADRE
     1,250-member organization, and                        Remodeler, Certified Aging-in-         carving out a niche as an aging-         Award for Community Service in 2008.
     that he is currently a member of                      Place Specialist and Certified         in-place specialist involved tak-
     the NAHB board of directors on                        Green Professional — Ashley            ing work that many remodelers          behalf of a local Good Samaritan
     the national level, or that he once                   learned that a focused approach        would consider too unprofitable.       who had lost his legs while
     served as the chairman of the                         on aging-in-place and green            Through a state-run Medicaid           helping fix a tire for a stranded
     CRBA remodelers council for                           would best match his skills with       program that helps disabled citi-      motorist. That project received
     two years, is to also know these                      the local market opportunity.          zens make modifications to their       funding from the accounting
     positions are a byproduct of only                         The niche strategy worked.         residences to enable them to stay      firm KPMG along with $23,000
     10 years of dedication to the                         Expand Inc. grew from under            in their homes, Expand Inc. has        in donated materials. The firm
     remodeling industry.                                  $300,000 in remodeling revenue         learned the ropes of filling out       has also done work on behalf
         Ashley, the owner of Expand                       during its first few years to nearly   the paperwork and the tight bud-       of the March of Dimes, a local
     Inc., near Baton Rouge, La.,                          $1 million in revenue by the end       geting this work requires.             Alzheimer’s research group, and
     entered the remodeling industry                       of 2008. Ashley also acknowl-              “One of the reasons we got         the Children’s Miracle Mansion.
     with his brother Randy, focused                       edges that some of his growth          into the waiver work was that          In the for-profit realm, Ashley’s
     on growing a f ledging business,                      is based on a spike in repair          people had seen us on TV,”             firm also won a national “Homes
     period. Toward that end he                            and restoration work related to        Ashley explains. “This is a group      for Life Award” this past fall for
     joined an association thinking he                     natural disasters — Hurricane          of people in the community who         a bathroom remodel that enabled
     would benefit from networking.                        Katrina in 2005 and Gustav in          do not have the funds to do the        a couple to stay in their home.
     But he soon found the education-     
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