One of the largest independent manufacturers of commercial casework and store fixtures in Michigan
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Happy to Help our Local Ski Hill with Durable Cubbies

We were able to work closely with Hickory Preservation and The Oleson Foundation to create new skier cubbies for Hickory Hills! This city owned and operated family ski area is located in Traverse City with a great view of both the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bays. Eight runs and five rope tows. Night skiing is also available. 5k of trails with a 1k trail lighted for cross-country skiers. This ski area is also perfect for Snowshoeing and Snowboarders. It now has a new Lodge complete with a fireplace, ski rentals and snack bar.

This project was special to us because we grew up skiing here as kids and our 3 daughter did as well!! It was exciting to help in this endeavor and give back to our community. We are so excited to see Hickory skiers out for opening day on Friday to put these cubbies to the test!

Transition Of AWI Presidents Begins

Our very own Tyler Cerny will become the 65th AWI President January 2020!  He has been a very involved member of the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) for the past 11 years serving on the board and several committees.  AWI has been a very instrumental organization, providing dynamic leadership, great training and valuable connections.  The Spring Leadership Conference in Asheville, NC and the National Convention in Lake Tahoe, CA will be the perfect backdrop for his term’s theme ELEVATE.  Our team here at Strata Design is ready and willing to fill in the gaps while Tyler takes on this additional role.  Click here for information in the E-Brief


Our Annual Halloween Costume Contest

Happy Halloween!  Our winner for this year’s Costume Contest goes to Spider Man aka Tyler Sika.  He won a $25 gift card to Target.  Spend it well!

Saying Goodbye to our Summer Intern

Meet Kendra VanPolen. She is a college student at Pittsburg State University and was our student intern for this summer.  Kendra heard about Strata Design while attending the AWI Leadership Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.  She had the opportunity to talk with many different companies but when Tyler, the President of Strata Design, realized that Kendra was from Michigan and not too far away, he asked her to contact him for a summer internship. Kendra happily applied and by the end of May started working on the shop floor and shorty after started creating shop drawing for the Engineering Department for the summer. She really enjoyed seeing cabinets being constructed from start to finish.

She was familiar with the woodworking industry, as her father started a custom cabinet shop 20 years ago. His business started as a one man shop where he took side jobs of making furniture for a local furniture store, just to make ends meet.  Through hard work and perseverance, he created a name for himself and a reputation of excellent cabinetry work. His business has grown to 11 full time employees.  It has expanded into creating custom cabinets all across the state and as far as Florida.

Kendra was also drawn to the woodworking industry because of her love of working with her hands and coming up with new ideas to build and create.  Interning at Strata Design has helped her to gain a deeper knowledge of the industry as a whole and understands how jobs flow through bigger companies.  She feels this experience will serve her well in her college classes.

She thinks it’s important to bring a female perspective in this field because for so long it has been male dominated.  She believes women have great ideas on how to organize and create a positive work environment. We here at Strata Design know she is right!  Although she will be missed as she returns to PSU this fall, we are excited for Kendra to finish her degree and continue the tradition of excellent Architectural Manufacturing!  We hope she will return next summer!

Our Very Own Star


Meet our very own IronMan Star!  Jim Wagner!  He took part in Traverse City’s 1st IronMan 70.3 on Aug 25.  He finished 23rd out of 132 in his age group and 511 out of 2200 over all!

  1. What made you decide to participate in the ironman?  I’ve done some shorter triathlons and some 100 mile bike rides, but I was curious how it’d feel to race for five or six hours. When I learned Ironman was coming to Traverse City, I knew it would be awesome, and wanted to compete!
  2. How long have you been training and what would a particular day or week of training look like?                                                                                                                                                                                I’ve been working out fairly steadily for many years. But after signing up for the TC IM, I stepped it up and added some consistency. I didn’t follow a formal training plan, just tried to do three swim, three bike, and three run workouts each week. Two workouts per day was common, early morning swim and a run after work, about an hour each. Another favorite of triathletes is to bike and then immediately run a few miles afterward.
  3. What other competitions have you done in the past?  Local cycle races like Iceman or Cherry Roubaix and running races, anything from 5K to marathons. I’ve done two marathons and they did not go very well, ha ha, lots of walking. I’m not a fast runner so I don’t place well in my age group at running races. I’ve had more success with triathlons because I’m a stronger swimmer and cyclist.
  4. What did you rank in your age group, in each segment and or overall?   My overall time was 5:43:44, good for 23rd out of 132 in age group and 511 out of 2,200 overall. The day went well for me, the swim and bike were ideal. The first half of the run course felt good, but I ran out of gas about 9 miles into the run, took some walking breaks, and managed to run the last mile. I have some ideas to improve that for next time, ha!  Volunteers and crowd support were fantastic.  Very fun to do this in your hometown where you see friends all day. The Ironman brand is more about goal-setting and human achievement for the average athlete than about how blazing fast the top dogs can finish, which is cool.
  5. How did you manage to train with busy work and family schedules? 5am workouts help a lot and sometimes evening workouts would be skipped to be present for family, which was okay by me. It was easier this year because my daughter is away at college year-round and my son was a high school senior, busy/independent guy.
  6. Would you do it again Why or Why not?  Yes, no regrets. I enjoyed both the training and the race. I may do TC IM again on 8/30/2020 because it landed on my birthday so I feel like it’s a sign that I should. I encourage anyone interested to go for it, starting with shorter triathlons. Anyone can do it!
  7.   What was you favorite thing about this IronMan journey? Friendships, definitely. It strengthened a lot of existing friendships and I made a few new friends also. Through the summer I did some longer workouts with a group of friends. We got to know each other better and spouses too. Also we hosted a pro triathlete for the Ironman weekend at our home. Steve Kilshaw placed third overall and he is a great person. It was fun to talk triathlon and other stuff with him.


1645 Park Dr
Traverse City, MI 49686

Phone: (231)929-2140
Fax: (231)929-4958

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