Madsen’s Custom Cabinets
Madsen’s Custom Cabinets offers a complete architectural millwork solution for a wide range of commercial and institutional clients.
By Jim Harris
Madsen’s Custom Cabinets’ investments in its staff, equipment and operational efficiency have made it a go-to provider of architectural millwork in Alberta.
The Edmonton-based company’s work can be seen throughout its home city and province including in the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Edmonton International Airport, the University of Alberta, TransCanada Corp.’s executive offices in Calgary and countless law offices, schools and healthcare facilities. Madsen’s Custom Cabinets’ ongoing projects include work on the new Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton, slated for completion in 2016.
The company’s products range in value from $5,000 to more than $4 million. “What we focus on is higher-end office interiors,” Owner Kent Madsen says. “One thing we can do that most other millwork companies cannot is we have our own raw veneering facilities, so we can create custom architectural veneer lay-ups and manufacture our own architectural-grade doors in-house.”
Madsen’s Custom Cabinets’ 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility features state-of-the-art CNC machining technology. “We try to assure customers’ satisfaction by handling the complete millwork package, from raw product to final installation to warranty,” he adds. The quality of the company’s projects is certified by the Architectural Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC), an organization it is highly active in.
The company’s long-term relationships with suppliers also help ensure the quality of its products. “We have strong relationships with all of our suppliers, and try to set up strategic alliances with them regarding supply chain management and financing,” Madsen says. “Our suppliers are one of the greatest strengths we have.”
Madsen’s father Flemming Madsen founded the company in 1962. Kent Madsen and a partner, Myron Jonzon, began a 10-year buyout process in 1983. Madsen has been sole owner of the company since Jonzon’s retirement six years ago.
Madsen’s Custom Cabinets’ often applies its expertise to projects that require sustainable and environmentally friendly products, including LEED-certified buildings. “We have set up the company in a manner that ensures that all of the materials we buy are LEED-compliant,” Madsen says.
In addition, the company is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. “We were the first FSC-compliant millwork shop in our area, and we may be the only FSC-certified millwork shop in Alberta,” he adds. “If clients are looking for FSC-compliant millwork, we will be able to supply that, while other millwork companies may not.”
The company’s dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility is also reflected in its own operations. “We were the first in the province to use a biomass woodchip heating system in our manufacturing facility,” Madsen notes.
The system, installed in 2003, uses the company’s wood waste to produce heat during the winter. “This has made our facility more energy efficient and diverted 95 percent of our wood waste from landfills,” he adds. “This has been a big savings for us, and it’s good for the environment.”
Keeping its technology and workers’ skills up-to-date is a high priority for Madsen’s Custom Cabinets. “We bring in some of the industry’s leading technicians to lead training with our staff to keep our techniques on the leading-edge,” Madsen says. “We invest more money back into our equipment than most companies, even during economic downturns.”
Recent investments include new CNC machines and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that enables it to manage orders throughout its operations.
The company strongly supports carpentry apprenticeship programs in its city and province, and provides continuous training opportunities in topics including safety. “I set people up and let them do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and support their skill development,” he adds. “I know I’ve done a good job training an apprentice if, 10 years from now, I’m competing against them.”
Madsen’s Custom Cabinets’ culture of advancement and growth has helped it retain the services of several long-term and key employees. These include Office Manager Patricia Parth, Engineering Manager Tony Traficante, Sales Manager Craig Leach and IT Manager Jason Bassett.
The company’s investments in equipment and personnel have allowed it to manage a significant shift in the provincial economy. “The economy in Alberta is generally very energy based, so with the price of oil what it is today, the market is very volatile,” Madsen says. “We understand that, so we are investing in our technology to ensure that we can remain versatile, quick and adaptive to change more than most other companies.”