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LIVE From IRE 2023 With Chicago Metal Supply!

ire - 2023 - interview - transcript - chicago metal supply
April 21, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.

Heidi J. Ellsworth invites Ski Wysocki and Alina Bosak from Chicago Metal Supply to the RCS soundstage to talk about their booth and what 2023 has in store for their company! 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Ski Wysocki and Alina Bosak from Chicago Metal Supply. You can read the interview below or watch the YouTube video.  

Heidi Ellsworth: I told you we'd be back and here we are. This is our first interview of the International Roofing Expo. My name's Heidi Ellsworth. So excited for this interview. I am with my friend, Ski and Alina from Chicago Metals. Welcome. Welcome to the Sound Stage.

Alina: Thank you.

Ski Wysocki: Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi Ellsworth: I know.

Ski Wysocki: Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Okay. What I'd like to do, start out first, is I'd like to have you both introduce yourselves and then we're going to talk about how things are going and what's happening in your booth, any big news or anything like that.

Ski Wysocki: Okay.

Heidi Ellsworth: Go ahead.

Ski Wysocki: So I am Ski Wysocki, basically of Chicago Metal Supply.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah.

Alina: And I'm Alina-

Ski Wysocki: Sorry.

Alina: Of Chicago Metal Supply.

Ski Wysocki: We need more coffee at the coffee conversation.

Heidi Ellsworth: I know. We need more coffee at the coffee conversation. Okay. So, wow. Can you believe the sizes of the floor? How many... The booth, everything. So tell us about your booth. What's happening over there? Where the show's going to be opening in like 10 minutes?

Ski Wysocki: Yes. So we are at Booth 5123. We're pretty much at every year [inaudible 00:00:59] for the last probably 5-7 years, except for the pandemic. Big things as always. We have a lot of cool shiny things, but mainly we just want to talk about the historic restoration, historic preservation, the projects that we've been involved in. So really quick, some of the ones we've done recently is in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Heritage Hall. We've also done the... We're right now we're actually the projects finishing up in Lincoln, Illinois. It's the Lincoln County Courthouse. Very old pieces that we actually got to recreate.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow.

Ski Wysocki: Over 120 years old.

Heidi Ellsworth: Really?

Ski Wysocki: That we got the pieces to-

Heidi Ellsworth: And so you're recreating all the ornamentals?

Ski Wysocki: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow.

Ski Wysocki: And we partnered up with a company called the Durable Group. Great group of guy John Chan and Gary Howes.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yep.

Ski Wysocki: They're doing the install there. Also, Shane Day is the project manager on that one. A couple other projects, notable ones, the Historic Dome in Bangor, Maine. We did the gothic heads that were involved. Also, the whole scroll work. So that's one of my passions is that I love getting in the copper and being able to feel and touch the stuff and know that what we're going to do is going to be on for the next 80-150 years.

Heidi Ellsworth: And everything you do is so beautiful. It is so beautiful. You can hear they're about ready getting start. So this happens all the time on the sound stage. Not a problem. But everything you do at the ornamentals and obviously all the metal work you do is just so beautiful. And these big historic projects, it's so fun. I saw those pictures when we were at the slate on-

Ski Wysocki: International Slate Show.

Heidi Ellsworth: International Slate Show. It was so amazing. So, okay. I understand there's some big news.

Ski Wysocki: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: That we're going to talk about.

Ski Wysocki: Yes. So part of the introduction, Alina, is... So one of the things that we realized that if you don't change, the [inaudible 00:02:43] is if you don't move and change in the business, you're going to stay kind of in neutral. So what we feel, especially in our local market in Chicago, metro Chicago area, there's a big push to have MBE or WBE participation.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes.

Ski Wysocki: So Alina's going to be coming on board and taking over as president of the company.

Heidi Ellsworth: Congratulations.

Ski Wysocki: And we're currently working on to get our WBE certification. One of the things that we feel is that just because there's only a few players out there, that doesn't mean we can't do it and do it better. And I think with Alina coming on board and helping us from a business aspect, but also she has a passion, it's in the family, it's in the blood.

Heidi Ellsworth: Right.

Ski Wysocki: Copper runs in the blood.

Heidi Ellsworth: You can't help it.

Ski Wysocki: We feel that she's going to really help us to get involved in some of those projects where a lot of the contractors need, will need help in that participating or participatory percentage. As a WBE.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is brilliant. But more than anything, congratulations.

Alina: Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Because I am so excited for you. Talk about bringing in... I don't know, I just think it's very cool to have you come in as president to bring that element of WBE, but also the family.

Alina: Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth: And just youth, bring that in. So tell us a little bit about how you got here and what are some of your plans.

Alina: Yeah, so I'm just excited to continue on my father's legacy, as you guys said, the copper runs in the blood. So it's always been a part of our childhood. He's always owned a business in the trade sector, so I've always... I never envisioned that I'd be the one taking it over 'cause I have a brother. But this presents a great opportunity and I actually was in business throughout school and I worked for a liquor distributor, so I was always in operations and supply chains. So I'm really excited to bring that youth, as you said.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes.

Alina: The different ideas that I've seen bigger companies do, bring it to us as we do expand and open ourselves up to the different possibilities and the different teams we can work with now that we have this certification.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is so great.

Alina: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: That's so great.

Alina: Very exciting.

Heidi Ellsworth: And you know what we didn't say, I know you're out of Chicago.

Alina: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: Right?

Ski Wysocki: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: So what part of Chicago?

Ski Wysocki: Heart of the city. We're in Chicago proper, but again, we ship all over North America.

Alina: That's right.

Ski Wysocki: So there's never a problem. So somebody picks up the phone and says, "Look, I need XY from something simple as downspouts, counter flashing, standing seam metal roof." And also to the historic stuff we ship all over North America.

Heidi Ellsworth: That's excellent. So what are some of the things with these big historic projects and restoration factors who are doing that, but what are some of the things you're also seeing out there coming up? Are there any trends that are looking that people are... I'm thinking about how you recreated ornamentals that bring that history back, but what are some of the trends that you're seeing?

Ski Wysocki: It's been interesting because for a while it seemed like the push for keeping it historically accurate, unless it was in an area that was mandated by a municipality, everybody's like, "Let's do something different." What we've seen now is people are saying "I want the historic piece. I want to look different than all the 10 cookie cutter homes." Or "I'd like to bring my home back to historic accuracy." So right now we're working on a project where we're actually working off of pictures. So it's one thing to get a piece and we have to recreate and make the mold. So that's a challenge in itself. But we're talking about because the building has changed over the years to the point of there is no pieces. So our artisans that are working in that area, they're actually sculpting and making the molds from start, from a picture that's probably a hundred years old to try to recreate that because the building owner slash developer says, "I want that house to look like this." And for whatever reason, over the last 50-60 years, too many people changed it then took away from the original beauty.

Heidi Ellsworth: Right. That is so cool. So how fun is it to think about all these projects, nobody really does what you do. And is that kind of exciting about starting and jumping into that?

Alina: It is. I know it's going to be a lot of work with learning. Me and Ski, just talk about literally everything and anything regarding the business. So I'm excited because I'm a lifelong learner. And I really think when you are a change maker, when you want to learn about any kind of new sector or business, it's going to be fun. You're mind's going to explode of new knowledge. So I'm really excited for that. And I know that we do what no one else does.

Heidi Ellsworth: And the growth of metal. We're seeing such a growth in metal and iron.

Alina: That makes a huge difference.

Ski Wysocki: Yes, metal roof's exponentially. Where some of the stuff has kind of stayed stagnant, metal roofing has double digit increases every single year. And believe it or not, in some areas, a lot of the insurance companies for insurance work have said, "Listen, we are going to bump you to a metal roof because we know in the long term term, it's not going to come back to bite us when we have, let's say there's another hail storm or something of that nature."So yeah. And aesthetically people have finally got it and looked and said, "Metal roofing is cool. It's not just about an accent over at doorway. It can be my whole roof."

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, it is cool. It's cool and it's beautiful. Congratulations again.

Alina: Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Congratulations. This is so exciting. And of course, I was already like, we're going to get you a National Women in Roofing, you just got to do it.

Ski Wysocki: Yeah, 100%.

Heidi Ellsworth: You're an inspiration to all the other young women out there.

Alina: Thank you so much.

Heidi Ellsworth: All the women all over out there.

Alina: Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: So I love it.

Ski Wysocki: Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you both. Again, the booth number?

Ski Wysocki: 5123. Stop by. There's candy. There's [inaudible 00:08:11]. Come say hi.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. And say congratulations to Alina.

Ski Wysocki: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: Okay. So if you're watching this and you hear the show, be sure to go by and see Chicago Metal. Remember, we're going to be coming back with... Every 15 minutes we're going to have interviews, but we also have coffee conversations today at one o'clock. And we're going to have a great group here. So stay tuned. We're going to be back.

Learn more about Chicago Metal Supply in their Coffee Shop Directory or visit www.chicagometalsupply.com.

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