Strength to Continue The Building and Rebuilding of Coastal Supplies and Services Corp.
A Tribute to Roland Canales
In 2004, Roland Canales founded Coastal Supplies and Services Corp. (CSSC), a door, frame and hardware company, with his best friend, Robert Haley, and Haley’s sister, Janet Pena. This was a new venture for the three of them, but doors were a familiar realm for Canales.
Throughout the previous 25 years, Canales had worked in the door industry. Five of those years he spent at Wilsonart learning about door laminates, and then he worked in sales and management for three other Houston-based door companies. Customers appreciated his expertise and dedication to their needs and wanted to work directly with him. They encouraged him to launch his own company. “So that’s what the three of us did,” Pena says.
Highlights of Life and Work with Roland Canales
Not long after that, Pena’s brother ended up going into the oil and gas business, leaving the bulk of the work to Canales and Pena. CSSC supplied doors, frames and hardware to commercial builders. Whenever someone had a question concerning doors they would call on CSSC. Canales would go out to the job site, assess the sit
“Roland, a wonderfully charismatic person, knew everything. He was honest, trustworthy and knowledgeable. As the ‘go-to’ person in the door and frame business, Roland was the face of Coastal Supplies and Services,” Pena reminisces.
Starting out, CSSC worked exclusively with D. E. Harvey Builders, O’Donnell/Snider Construction Inc., and Spaw Maxwell Company LP, which has since been bought out by Balfour Beatty Construction and is no longer in the Houston market. “Roland would sit down and go over each job—tweaking it and looking for value-engineering,” Pena says. “He worked hard, but he also continued building relationships during off-hours by entertaining clients,” Pena continues. Often he invited them to go boating or stay at his retreat on a little island off Galveston, Texas.
Always smiling, Canales loved life and enjoyed many activities, especially giving back to the community. While representing the firm, he attended fundraising events held around the Houston area. One of his favorite projects was to support the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is the world’s largest livestock show and richest regular-season rodeo dedicated to benefiting youth, supporting education and facilitating better agricultural practices. He took Wounded Warriors veterans and their families fishing as well. Helping fostered youth, taking part in community projects and serving others were all a part of Canales’ makeup.“If a nonprofit organization needed doors, and as the accountant I might protest, he’d say, ‘Jan, just give them the doors,’” Pena says.
Creating Corporate Culture
For the first three years of the venture, it was just the two of them, Canales and Pena. Then another door company went out of business. Canales knew someone who had worked there and asked him to join CSSC. The man hesitated because his adult son had just experienced a life-threatening accident and needed extensive care. “Roland said, ‘If you have to, work from home and take care of him.’ That’s how we got Project Manager Doug Goode,” says Pena. She contributes the son’s full recovery to his dad being there to help him. Open to working with everyone, the corporation continues to encourage employees to do the things that are important to their families.
Working from home also offers the benefit of not having a long drive to go see customers, since the group is spread out over the Houston area. “We work a lot of evenings and weekends so we don’t typically get together in one place at the same time,” Pena says. “We keep in touch, coming in and out of the office; but during our weekly meetings, some participate through a conference call rather than coming into the office.
“Roland hired people who shared his same values—ethical, flexible and eager to learn,” Pena says. “He made lifelong friends in the industry from both the customer and vendor sectors.” For Canales, the job didn’t end at 5 p.m. or while on vacation. Because problems didn’t occur only during normal office hours, he aimed for 24/7 availability, and he was out in the field more than in the office.
“Flexibility and enjoyment were the key principles that Roland believed in,” Pena says. “When you take pleasure in your job it becomes your hobby—something you pursue because you love doing it and you do a great job for everyone.”
In 2016, a devastating event occurred. Roland had a heart attack and he passed away. Pena took over the leadership role. “We no longer had Roland to bid and win jobs. We had to go out and do the sales. Through that terrifying time, my project managers and I stood together as a team,” Pena says.
Roland’s wife, Amanda (Mandy) Canales, a retired school teacher, joined as partner and Office Manager. “Because Mandy and I hold the major amount of stock in the company, we have become a Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise MWBE),” Pena says. Currently the company has seven employees. Between them, they have about 65 years of experience in doors, frames and hardware.
Continuing the Legacy
“We have a lot of new customers now—people that gave us a chance because they knew of Roland and of our reputation. We’re very fortunate. It’s a great community here in Houston,” Pena says.
Coastal Supplies and Services has accomplished many projects of all sizes, including Daikin Texas Technology Park, which is the largest manufacturing facility in the U.S. for Goodman Global Group, Inc., a leading air conditioning equipment manufacturer; and the former Foley’s/Macy’s building in downtown Houston, which had over 2,000 doors. The firm has also worked on Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital, Houston Toyota Center, the Houston Public Library Central Library and the Julia Ideson Building, as well as ExxonMobil’s integrated petrochemical complex in Beaumont. The company had completed some developments affected by Hurricane Harvey, so it’s now installing replacements in a lot of those buildings.
“We even provide non-typical materials, such as the Venetian barn doors for the Club at Carlton Woods golf community or the hinges and pivots to hold 650-pound doors at Char Dham Hindu Temple. We also supply bulletproof doors, acoustically rated doors, wind/storm-rated openings and specialty hospital doors,” Pena says.
“Roland gave us the CSSC culture. Through relationship building and constant availability, we strive to exemplify Roland’s motto—‘The Customer’s Success is Our Success,’” Pena says. Everyone answers phone calls and emails immediately, never waiting to respond at the end of the day. “I’ve had to change from the bean-counter paperwork personality to the more spontaneous person, flexible enough to run out and see a customer on a moment’s notice,” Pena says.
The team continues to bring Canales’ values to the table—attention to detail, meeting schedules, competitive pricing and availability. “We take our responsibility to our consumers very seriously, as Roland would have wanted,” Pena says.
“Facing the tragic loss of Roland forced change—a rebuilding of ourselves. Now all of us—our Sales/Estimator Charlie Powell, our Project Managers Doug Goode and Russell Babcock, our CFO Monica Ferrell, our Development Manager Bob Haley, our Office Manager/Partner Mandy Canales and me—have become the face of the company,” she concludes, “but Roland remains our model.” Carol Scott, a Florida-based writer, enjoys listening to AEC leaders and facilitating the sharing of their stories with others in the AEC industry.