Custom Cedar Fences has a core of three owners, each bringing a unique set of skills and experiences to the enterprise. Each of us is fully capable of leading a team to visualize and create your unique project, but most often we work together to give you the full benefit of all of our capabilities. We all share a love and respect for what we do – and that cannot help but be reflected in the products and services that we co-create.
John Roberts is the founder and majority owner of the business. He retired from DaimlerChrysler in 2001 after 34 years of service growing from the engineering discipline. His work-life philosophy served Chrysler well and can be summed up in one simple thought – “its amazing what you can get done if you’re not worried about who gets the credit”. The results of this philosophy can be best observed in the team effort that produced the $1.6 Billion product development and headquarters complex in Auburn Hills, Michigan. One of a handful of individuals who helped sell the concept to Lee Iacocca, the author of the document that helped change the concept from a “move in kind” to “an opportunity to build a new car company” and acting as Program Manager to bring the world-class $850 million Scientific Test Facility from specification to final commissioning all grew from this philosophy.
John built his first cedar fence in 1975 to rigorous standards that were not part of the fence industry at that time. The reasons for these tighter specifications were rooted in physics and mathematics. The philosophy was simple – frame the fence such that the total life of the fence was maximized for the materials involved. That fence still stands in 2009 – still straight – still with the original posts - and still without sagging. Those construction standards are now incorporated in every offering from Custom Cedar Fences.
John has several outside interests including music (tenor soloist and/or music director for 30 years), amateur musical theater (various lead and support roles over 30 years) and history – particularly early Christian origins and spirituality. He tries to maintain a degree of computer literacy – as much of his professional career involved the evolution of computers, starting with the earliest applications of this technology into the testing environment. He is also an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.
Rick Beers has been part of the Custom Cedar Fences family since 2003 and his association with John goes back at least 20 years. Like John, he spent many years in the automotive and automotive support businesses. At GM his focus was on manufacturing and materials management. He was part of the teams that produced some revolutionary changes in American manufacturing, including “just in time” delivery systems. Rick was one of a handful of executives who helped to create the “Typhoon”, “Cyclone” and other specialty high performance products based on the GM platform.
Rick bought in to the unique quality standards of Custom Cedar Fences from the outset. He believes in life-long-learning and prides himself on being able to develop and adapt to better ways of doing business. His expertise in manufacturing and materials management have helped to assure that we produce the best product every time.
Rick is very proud of the fact that he served in the US Marine Corps. His son, Brandon, continues to serve his country in the Air Force, where he has already advanced to the rank of Captain.
Outside of work, Rich has always had a focus towards helping youth. He and his wife were long-time organizers, founders and leaders of youth groups for the Community Congregational Church in Lathrup Village, Michigan. All of the Beers and Roberts kids went through these programs together. Rick also shares a love of music, but from an entirely different standpoint. Rick was a drummer in some early rock and roll groups and performed side by side with such up and coming newcomers as Bob Seger.
Tom Roberts is the latest full-time addition to Custom Cedar Fences. He is John's son of 35 years. If it can be said that any of the 3 owners have the greatest commitment to quality, then that owner would be Tom. Tom also brings unique hands-on skills in carpentry, plumbing, wiring, welding, scale modeling, electronics and computer programming.
Each and every job that Tom has ever held has benefited from his unique ability to evaluate and improve processes. He has never been content to accept things “just because” and continually challenges us to reexamine and explain why we do what we do.
Toms outside interests are varied, but currently have their focus in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a society that emulates the medieval codes of chivalry. Tom competes in medieval martial arts, and holds the rank of Knight. Understandably, he particularly enjoys the demolition part of every job.