7/14: Peter Rehme, Rehme Steel Windows & Doors

Texas Energy Lab
Saturday, July 14th

Peter Rehme, the founder/owner/president/CEO of Rehme Steel Windows and Doors, tells hosts Kyle Frazier and Whitney Torres about discovering a passion for the metal arts, how he transitioned his tradecraft into a successful, thriving manufacturing business that handcrafts 100% American-made products using 100% net-zero solar power, and why his sustainability initiatives help his bottom line and desire to protect the environment.

00:24:31

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This energy lab on Austin's talk thirteen seventy covering sustainability. Innovation across the lone star state. Friday by freedom solar freedom solar power dot com as the title sponsor show. You can listen to this podcast this this this web stream on Texas energy lab dot com if you're not listening lines that's where you can find it. When that stated today on this sunny Saturday evening with Micah as to any Torres and she is gonna tip our guest for today. Count as of today we are here with Peter Green of green steel they are me. Think it's very rainy. Oh sorry that's a link you for correcting me I appreciate that the sideways glance and Winston I promise I'm. Very perceptive he picked on very well. I hope it's important because you left the. I'm very used to it it's I tell people it's like dough ray me no perfect Allen never forget I was sad Nana that that'll really make it has that have been helpful for me and I'll. So Peter you are the CEO. And is that right and have rainy steal you guys manufacturing creed windows and doors when she tell us a little bit about. Which you do who you are how he got here on that gets. Yeah thanks for having me. And yes it's Peter Amy and I alone rainy steel windows and doors. And I operate that company as presidency yeah. That we manufacture. Custom steel frame windows indoors. And ask them one at a time we've. Primarily our serves in high end. Residential. Market when a whole lot of commercial. So we're really but these windows and doors and really high end homes. We manufacture everything in spiced with and a half hour west of Austin and we build. Our product from a 100% American steel. And a 100% American labor. And now we're producing it with a 100% American son as nice as opposed the senate everybody just gets. Correct them threats says so how did you get to use today to this article we don't before Amy Steele. Yes so I'm when I graduated high school I went through resents it was your read right across the street here right across the street behind me. I graduate high school I went to Austin community college sort of on a whim to play for the summer and I took an arm sales class. It really lit a fire in me its ally and them. You know I just realize that's what I wanted to do his work with metal yeah I'm so lucky in that regard yes. Anyway the next mr. I was back. Pursuing. & Associates degree in technical welding and our medals and just fell in love with everything metal. Shortly after that I began. Doing decorative artwork so curtain Bronson coffee tables for ranchers miners here in Austin now. That grew into doing. I am guard rails and very decorative driveway gates on soma. Real high end homes in Wesley kills. Terry town yeah. Scene have artistic. Ability as well as. Yeah the business side is yeah that's correct I mean I was I was a metal artist before idea where is related business or. But I grew up. In sort of entrepreneurial family my mama and a number of business has gone out and choose self employed so that that was a natural young path for me is to go out and say how to make money doing them. Do with that skill that half. Or craft. You know has chosen his artistic. But. Never really excelled at painting or drawing or anything just liked you or Aaron. He says than when I found metal as medium. Don't know with and realize that I make money doing so. That's really lucky lot of people don't find their passion until you know 101520. Years after high school or may be never just kind of like. Well and in doing different stuff and when you're doing kind of wanted to crafts arts it's hard to transition from just kind of a labor of love to one who can actually economically sustain somebody in in this case. Many somebody's in and others that have come into this. Sure now how I feel very fortunate to have found. You know my. Career that are yeah no doubt. So. Anyway after. You know do in the decorative iron works thing. And really it's the common sort of one of the premier. Metal artisans shops across. If you are architecture builder and you wanted to. Have some crazy bill you know in. Four million dollar house we were the folks produce yeah. And anyway I didn't had won among builders approached me and say in security doing on my hand out our probably our place. Watching abilities steel what is worse. And I was scared to build a windows or because. A window and door asked to stop air and water there's. A guardrail just tests stop human uranium following. Which is easier yeah. But he said if I'd give it a shot then. He would look the other way on any mistakes made in so I sat down on them and he's. I I sat down and begin to design a system Doran windows system from off she'll still components. Which is not how you design and norm and a system it's how he makes about yeah right so. I. Designed a system out of flat aren't you being an environment channel. And your jacket well it all together like that make it or swing close and and it would look advocate you know so actually didn't have the space in my shop two parties that. So actually went Mexican and I outsourced production you and door factory you know about. In moderate. And I did after awhile. Quite a few years and you know that first or went assists and I built a builder. We put it in it was is pretty successful there a couple of lessons learned on it but that builder and the architect likes what we did and then. Use just on that on the next house and on the next house and on the next and so our product. The product demand for the door and when the system. I out grew the decorative work segment of my business so much so that it can do about. And cheese. And a we stopped producing all the Decker and work whistled all the Waxman the equipment. Propane forge animals are hammer and songs are hammers and we traded all that for big flat tables. Welding equipment and so as. He's like as as you can have made that transition so you're going in now doing more production styles. Is their party to kind of misses the tongs and whenever things go well and in the facts is that what says yeah I get that question ought. I don't really miss it. I'm passionate about. Solving production problems ya so to me. Whether he I'm trying to figure out how to make. You know. Curtain rods in the hole as beautiful and satisfy us client or trying to figure out how to. More. With resources have in the department has parliament that those are. Those are created challenges for me that this past or bring production from our backs is priceless yeah exactly would rights which is probably big deal. Or gonna stop right there we've got. Will be back and Austin's top thirteen seven he's just a few months. Thirteen seventy. Hi this is if Torres with Texas energy lab and today we're here with Peter Rainey have rainy steel. Before the break we were talking about he. How Peter got started in this and that. Medal artisan industry and how he found his passion and and how that led to. What is today aid Texas. Based manufacturing. And steal windows and doors. Operation and so and and also how you are powered. And how you power that operation by the sun and your focus on sustainability so. A little bit of the origination of that and where you are today's appearance you land kind of fill in the details from from how he began to where we are today even skis. Yeah perfect so we knew we were manufacturing steel and is indoors in Mexico and did for awhile longer got really tired of depending on. Another factory in Mexico to deliver quality product. Appropriate price on yeah. Different different interests there yeah definitely I mean. I didn't have the control that I needed of the quality product windows going to be finished and how much cost. Plus heading across the border. And I'm a metal worker and I was not producing the steel doors it's so that didn't sit right. With me and so I parted ways with. The factory in Mexico and brought production to spice Texas and upset today we produce. Our product is on percent American made every piece in part is may states. It is the steel come from all over his air place and I just don't know like in America restaurant. Yeah so emphasis steel produced in the United States comes from you know the Rust Belt you know in Chicago Detroit area so we purchase are still from a company called. Jorgensen. And there Chicago they stock are immaterial east and Alice earnings. Apps through. Is forces sustainability program I guess of almost a year ago we installed. 240. Solar panels on the roof of my manufacturing facility and I'm. Very excited about the fact that we are now way net zero manufacture. We use in zero. Energy out of every bit of power weakens him on. That factory campus is produced on site. Which is extremely rare eat you're starting to see solar pop up more more places been getting to and n.'s hero plays is difficult to get to. Sure well it's difficult because it's expensive yeah around and it and it made sense for me because of the two main reasons one is. Since summer room a rural. Commercial business. Had access to something on every program and our eap witches rural energy for America program thank you. Which is a fund that comes out of US federal. And you can apply for an iPod for a receive this federal government pay for 25%. Meyer solar. Is and then it in addition to that there is federal tax rate to the tune of thirty hours you know so. 55%. Of every dollar spent on red it was back pocket year. So and this is this brings a bigger point is some we talked about right before the show kicked off which is you have. Sustainability. As it will get more into this but as it is a core value for use as an individual how you run your business that. One thing we talked does this concept of economically sustainable and that you brought up as. It's it's great that there at the benefits to this are obvious that if you're if you're. And it has to also make economic sense for you to talk to us a little bit about. How you approached decisions like solar and and also recycling and certain things and how you know that that has been. A benefit your business not just here sole purpose of war and also into the bottom line. Yeah so I mean it'll be a lot of it is is one to be green now it's about being against her good you know earth were on that. As a business. Decisions. And I'm so. If you look at that. Pro forma on solar it makes sense long term it is expensive it. You know my electric bill last month was negative ten dollars while. It was allowed that to. You so long term makes sense in diplomacy of July 25 years of the solar panels about. 335000. Dollars while ours is and I'm. So you know bit and from from a broader perspective you know we recycle tons of metals. Recycled steel stainless lemon copper alloys. Those all generate revenue as well as of that money is back. On costs. And and are you just recycling the materials that used to that waste materials that you generate on Saturday also collect those from customers are builders are others I'm right so. Currently we are only recycling. Products based on campus and we're. One of them actually that was him mentions is removing to a greener. Packaging system so we have to wrap these with this horse to protect him in transit. And her current system uses quite a bit of Polly found which history and so you know that's. So we're gonna move to. A cardboard based system as far less thumb on bugs eaten. Religious little bits of oh actors bumpers you know but that particular cardboard profile weekend. Harvest at the job site and bring back to our factor literally reused multiple times. I'm so. It's it's generated by us but you know. Instead of it going to this. Shah exercise and going in the dumpster there yeah we're actually able to bring back. So this is maybe just a tactical question how do you do that the UN package the windows there or do you just have to build her stack at Stephanie come back retrieval later yes and account but typically. We are involved in the installation in many cases yes so. Yes oftentimes it's just it's actually on raping them and knowing them so it's very easy for us that actress. And if we have a builders willing we can ask them packet mirage and I'm. Sure. But that's great and integrate later reuse materials and minimize waste and insurance also helps with cost. Sure. He I don't have to bite that hard work again yeah. You know it's expensive to buy that harbor because custom profile Scarlett printed on it's on so I can res it once more ya. So let me ask this system on the recycling so that the poly found stuff that she used was on a less expensive products if for assuming a one time years. Like with a cardboard you really banking on being able to use this multiple times to make. This economically sustainable concept. Work. Re using it is a significant. Money saver but the big money saver is the labor to wrap actual product ketchup polish is quite expensive. The card orders more expense. But the labor that it takes to wrap an assembly. Or. We and with the Polly phone is tremendously larger than labels really that it takes a wrap it carport so. My big expanse being an American manufacturer is not to immaterial them. Until labor yeah OK yeah so we're constantly focused on how can we work smarter and we utilized these these human resources that. Well before we catch a break when asked his and about that the skill labor so Randy is is not a an army of one there's quite a few people there how many people do you employ what kinds of skills and traits and and you have surely we play anywhere from 2030. Individuals. At a given time depending on work. Recruiting it's on do you have internships. Morning with a loss community collars to develop one extra trying to work with them. You know and I would Avila and paid internship by intentions pensioner. You know I would be happy to pay. Some younger or at least you're not always young interns. You are welding students. Two coming in my factory and learn what we do yeah I think. Not only to help them but as a recruiting tool obviously. If they see what we do. I think they're more likely to finish school who won but then finish it and that may work for a yeah. Yeah we'll hey we're gonna catch a break real quick you're listening to Austin's top thirteen seven he has got Peter rainy from Randy steel. Top thirteen seventy. Back to the Texas energy labs you can find us at TX energy labs dot com Hamas has talked thirteen seventy here in the studio with Peter rainy from rainy steel. And you can listen you can continue listening as you are now or you can you can check out this podcast TX energy that dot com. Okay so we went to break we were talking about just. While we're trying to lob the one thing that we we continued covered in debris here was kind of entrepreneurial spirit that. That led to not only tough final you love to do that understand more or less how to do it right and tell your mom had a big part in that so. Well liked it is kind of talked about how you are using that. And the platform achieve bill to go forward from here so you've got a successful business in Austin near the guys that people call when they need something built at a steel and most cases. And so you've got to focus on sustainability with the recycling programs that you have with the energy that's being produced a 100% on site even exporting that many months out of the year. Where do you go from here but that's to sustainability of it all. That is your business grows. Yeah so. You know it's about constantly innovating with the teachers are using the cardboard talking about yeah statement. Is is coming. I think we just constantly look and how can we. Waste lasts a actually recycle more. Cardboard plastic whatever. And it's just being vigilant and constantly. Having our message arc. From a business employment next steps. You know spent a lot of time developing new sales channels. We. So our dorm and new products to dealers. And so Oren and show rooms and so we set up dealers in different markets. Group product. It's so. You know. We are looking. You expand. We have to expand Smart yet sell more than the news so we're looking at. Colorado. They're looking at Louisiana. Some of the higher markets in those areas if you're in Colorado you're gonna go to Denver. You know every yet. I am president should. So we would movement by partners since last time developing age and are you going into those markets to kind of just. Competitive Intel type stuff for you do a lot of research. Via a leveling worldwide web yeah so we get a lot of leads through our website so we have. You know address on our contact us page malice from. Number New York Florida and what is that website. Amy Steele dot com Amy is spelled RC. HM. Steel back of any steel and these individuals that are building homes are days dealers as you say that are like a we're looking for a high quality steel under. Issa Steele is in demand it's it's hot tip of stealing your house yeah it's a good look lots of glass. Little divisions beautiful views looking out over the pools on. A country. So the homeowners are. Are demanding so they're gonna go to dormant issue currency unit steal and sell me two hours so. Those dealers come to us honest line. People Clement or with plants one. In fact it's in the plans us and he's got to produce it yeah exactly as specified as steel and sometimes it's specified as an east even in markets in particular interest in Mike as far as California and New York expressed by product of there while there. That's that's gray. Gina. As. As the stuff is being solely with the dealer level or people are coming to you. Do you think that this that you yells commitment to sustainability. Has any kind of impact on and on and the success it's are having or do you think that's just sort of saved an outflow of of just being the best that is that what you did. Well it resonates with a lot of people and so it's a great. Marketing position to communicate said and users then we care and work zero mean truly fascinating. People really excited about the fact it achieved. So but but on the other hand doesn't matter to everybody so we don't see people that are not excited about that but I'm for the most part people are. Blown away at the fact that we're here now run on solar power ups. Which is great so afraid for our producer manufactured in ads here as difficult it is the fact that your that your you've done that puts in a category I think that's pretty unique across any vertical not just in steel right it's also and in anything right whether its climate control story insurers and hospitals whatever we deal. You know we we've we've talked to people all the time that are that have done this and in very few of gotten to that point of dad's hero. It's a just a part of summarize kind of what we've talked about today that the the fact Internet exporter power of the recycling programs that you guys have have developed and are continuing to develop. The the emphasis on sustainable packaging and things that you are doing going forward. Sounds like. Sustainability is is pretty much permeates everything that you are doing so. We are. Wrapping up our time on a show that there's anything else he'd like to add or share besides a website in a way that we can keep track of what you're doing or place if you go by some really stellar steel windows and doors. One to tell us how we find you were again and and they're seeing us goodness. Yeah so item again my website is a rainy steel dot com and if you go on that website you can see. This beautiful photographs of our and our gallery of product. In some really beautiful Hawaiian homes. You counselor contact us page and find a dealer in your area. Whether that in Dallas Austin. And so. A pessimist finest. Very cool. Well Peter thanks for coming on the show we appreciate avenue we love I hear about what's going on their left have you back on the year Senseo what went all you've accomplished in that. In the meantime you can listen this podcasted TX energy lab dot com thanks for listening to the Texas energy lab. And we'll talk to you next week.
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