Chad Foster leverages technology to grow Gator Millworks, plans new headquarters
Growing up amidst the sawdust of his father’s cabinet shop, Chad Foster always envisioned the family business in his future—which arrived sooner than he expected, as Business Report details in its new Entrepreneur feature.
During Foster’s junior year at Southeastern University, his dad fell ill. To keep the business running, Foster abandoned his finance degree and a year later became the sole owner of Gator Millworks Inc. Foster recalls how nervous he felt taking the reins in 2004.
“I thought I still needed my father, but he kept telling me, ‘Son, you don’t need me. I’m in the way,’” he says.
Looking back, Foster knew his dad was right. He quickly embraced the future of the cabinet industry by leveraging new technology to grow the company.
Today, the 23-year-old architectural woodworking company is among the most well respected in Baton Rouge, landing work on massive projects like the IBM Center, LSU’s Patrick F. Taylor Hall—which included 20,000 square feet of wall paneling—and the renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome suites.
Coupled with a state-of-the-art design center, investment in the latest technology and the ability to service both residential and commercial markets, Foster has positioned Gator Millworks to raise the bar for cabinetry in the region.
Next year, he plans to break ground on a new 60,000-square-foot headquarters at Florida Boulevard and Juban Road in Denham Springs. The headquarters will house the company’s full manufacturing capabilities, a brand new showroom and design center, as well as a training center that will provide continuing education to designers, contractors and architects in the area. “We want to be a resource to explain and show what is out there,” he says. “Nobody is doing that here.”