Interview with Amélie Harkins, Vice-President & T.P. Architecture at Harkins Bois Rond & Charpenterie.
Even though wood has always been a part of Amélie Harkins’ life, she never imagined that one day this material would allow her to earn a living working for the family business.
“I grew up in the Tremblant region and my father has always worked in this field, so I grew up around round wood,” Amélie explains. “But I never really imagined working with wood myself, I was looking towards interior design which led me to architecture where I was able to really discover my passion.”
While her brother David and her parents, André and Christine were launching their log home construction company in 2000, Amélie chose to study architecture at Loyalist College with no idea where this would lead her.
During this time, the family business is growing but David and André often struggle with the same problem: their clients are coming to them with plans for their log home that are filled with mistakes and elements that simply don’t consider the realities of working with this material, which causes them to waste a lot of time. The reason why this kept happening is simple: there were not many architectural technologists who specialize in round wood.
It was written in the star that Amélie would be the right choice for this role, becoming one of the few architectural technologists in Quebec to specialize in round wood and Timber Frame homes.
“The timing was great because in 2005, the company had built its first offices, so I was able to quietly set up to offer architectural services that perfectly compliments the services Harkins was already offering,” she explains.
She was able to develop a unique expertise in the field, which has allowed Harkins to offer turnkey service since her arrival. Today, Amélie’s main role is to accompany the client throughout the design process to instill confidence and ensure the client’s needs are well targeted, so we can meet and even exceed their expectations.
“Each customer is important to us and we want them to feel the warmth, authenticity and integrity of our business,” says Amélie. “Family values are at the heart of everything we do and it’s important to me that we share that with our customers.”
The term “family business” takes its full meaning for Harkins inc. ‘s vice-president. Her brother and father co-founded the company. Her mother works there as well. Her husband is an employee and shareholder as a foreman with the company. Not to forget her children who spend lots of time around the company, are already playing with round wood. As a young woman, she never would have dreamed of working in the round wood industry, but today, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else!