NWI Contracting Ltd. stands behind their simple, but effective message, ‘No problems. Only solutions.’
The White Rock-based general contracting firm is helmed by Enrique Ponce De Leon, and with 15 employees celebrating 15 years in the business, the President couldn’t be prouder of his team and their success.
“Our forte is working for high profile clients with the need for custom residence care, from construction to maintenance,” says Ponce De Leon. With his client’s privacy first and foremost, he’s unable to share any of his customer’s likely recognizable names, but one peek at his company website’s ‘private residences’ image bank would have most of us whispering ‘dream home’ in a heartbeat.
NWI are considered trusted specialists in building homes, high-quality renovations, and ongoing maintenance. One-stop-shop may be an overused descriptor, but in this case, it’s the truth. With NWI’s direct access to a variety of qualified, experienced tradespeople – creative solutions are a given.
Ponce De Leon’s father is an architect in South America, and Enrique learned the ropes in construction working for his dad’s company “starting when I was 12 years old, learning painting, framing, electrical, and plumbing.
He shifted gears and took hospitality management in 2003, then worked at Disney World for a year “as a lumberjack, a Canadian ambassador wearing a plaid shirt,” he laughs. Graduating from Disney University in 2004, he was faced with a big decision, “work in tourism, or construction.”
NWI was born, and the firm considers itself a “boutique general contractor,” says Ponce De Leon. “We’re passionate about what we do and we have really good people. I push my entire team to continue their education. If they stay with me, they need to keep an ear to the rail. We have master electricians, carpenters, and plumbers on payroll. We are not doing run of the mill renos.”
Always growing to meet customer needs, NWI presently has a project manager taking a course in restoration. “The reason we did this is because people trust us with their properties. We don’t allow anyone we don’t trust to enter their homes.”
With lumber and gas prices soaring during the pandemic, solutions for the company were needed, and quickly. A full millwork shop was created that goes right to any work site, and diesel vehicles became part of the fleet.
NWI has built penthouses for a number of residential clients based in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, but they also do institutional, industrial and commercial builds for Workers Compensation Board and YVR.
A recent restoration in Whistler involved “25-foot Venetian vaulted ceilings and we had to work around incredibly expensive finishes, plus demolish part of the home to bring it up to standard,” says Ponce De Leon. “That first test subject was as scary as it was exciting. But it worked out really well. Now we have millworkers just pumping through all our projects, which is better for the client, it’s cheaper, faster and helps move the project forward.”
Maintaining NWI’s roster of subcontractors and trades is crucial to the company’s success. “I bring my own team with me everywhere we go, it’s more expensive but arguably better, which is why people choose to use us. We have been working with our set of trades, for 15 years, the same people. We treat our team well, pay well and care for them, and that allows me to have loyal trades and employees that will answer the call any time of the day or night.”
When asked what plans he has for the future of NWI, Ponce De Leon laughs and says “world domination! The idea is for our clients to use us as a trusted resource not just once but forever. People don’t want to let us go.” When asked how they go that extra mile, he explains. “One of our clients just arrived back from Hong Kong after being away for some time. I dropped off milk, eggs, butter and bread the night before so she had breakfast in the morning. We made sure all her cars’ batteries are working, and that the place is clean.”
“My team is clean cut, well spoken, very comfortable with what they know and how they do it, and that makes our clients really like us. They know their homes are being taken care of.”
“I love working with my clients, as we share a passion for real estate and design. We always look forward to working with new clients who share the same passions.”
NWI Contracting is featured in the 2023 Profiles of Excellence Magazine