Jeremy Beamish started out as a self-employed carpenter in 2018, the sole proprietor of Cutting Edge Contracting.
Now he owns and runs Blades Construction, which provides work for six people in Fort Smith.
“I was just expanding more and I had to make the switch to a corporation,” he said of the transition he made in January 2020. “My initial plan was to stay by myself but I just got too busy, too fast and I had to hire employees.”
Beamish, who took the trades program at Aurora College, built his own two-storey home as a first-year carpenter apprentice, with some assistance from his father. He and his fiancee and three children still live in that house today.
“That gave me the motivation to then realize that I could pretty much do anything,” he said. “I enjoy the everyday challenge.”
He would like to help foster that love of carpentry in local high school students. He’s hired one young man from Paul W. Kaeser High School – “He’s been great,” Beamish said – and he’s in favour of trades being highlighted as a career route for teenagers who graduate.
But it’s not a career that Beamish knew he wanted to pursue from a young age.
“I was bouncing around here and there. I operated equipment. I was pulling wrenches. I was at the point in life where I needed to do something. Carpentry was there and I knew I could excel at it,” he said.
He demonstrated a keen eye for proper practices while just a boy, tagging along with his father, who tackled many odd jobs.
“He’d show me how to do stuff,” he said of his dad. “I remember one time he took me to a job site … he was talking to his buddy and there was another few workers standing around. I was probably 10 or 11 years old. I looked over at him and I said, ‘That’s wrong the way those guys are doing it … they’re not doing it the proper way.’
“We got back in the truck and he said, ‘You know, if you’re going to be calling out people’s work, I don’t think I’m going to take you to anymore job sites with me. But you are right, they are doing it wrong,” Beamish recalled, laughing.
For more stories on NWT and Nunavut construction projects, click here: https://www.nnsl.com/special-feature-publications/special-feature-pdfs/northern-construction-2022
Finding a balance
All these years later he’s the boss of his own venture. In the past year and a half, Blades Construction has built two houses and a duplex in Fort Smith, among numerous other projects.
He said there’s a fair bit of stress involved but the important thing is not to let that affect his family.
“You’ve definitely got to find that balance between your home and business life,” he said. “I consider myself a workaholic, but I’ve got three kids at home that I’ve got to take care of too.”
Other NWT business owners offered him tips on how to get started as an entrepreneur. He also credited Thebacha Business Development Services for being very helpful.
Yet there’s one area where a lack of training proved very costly, said Beamish, and that was using the territorial government’s tender website.
“It’s very tricky to get around if you don’t know how,” he said, “and I lost five big contracts because of a missed signature or something so simple that I shouldn’t have missed.”