Joal Roshko: Building a Business

Joal Roshko ‘10 grew up helping his dad on projects around the house. Knowing that he enjoyed building and creating, finding a career where he could apply these skills was important to Roshko. As he was looking to enroll in postsecondary, it seemed meant to be that was the year Mohawk introduced a new program, Construction Engineering Technician – Building Renovation. “It was tailor-made to what I wanted to do for a living,“ says Roshko. “It was perfect for someone like me who was looking to get into the home renovation industry.“ 

While working part-time at Home Depot throughout college, Roshko met his eventual business partner, Nick Mancini. It was through working odd jobs together that they found they had similar goals and ambitions. Right after Roshko‘s graduation in 2010, the two launched their own business, Heartwood Renovations. 

Over the years, Roshko has stayed connected to Mohawk by attending Meet the Grad nights on campus and hiring recent graduates. Roshko attributes a lot of where Heartwood Renovations is today to his instructors at Mohawk, especially Brad MacDonald, Program Coordinator, who was a great support for bouncing ideas off of in the early days of starting the business, and who has become a great friend to both Roshko and Mancini. 

Now nine years later, they‘ve found their strengths, splitting responsibilities within the company. Mancini primarily handles project management while Roshko takes care of client relations and billing. Roshko says this allows each of them to do their best work permitting their business to continue to grow. 

As a younger company, they have focused on staying knowledgeable with the latest trends in building supplies and techniques while also seeking innovative ways for their clients to stay up-to-date about their projects. One important tool they‘ve incorporated into every job is cloud-based software which allows clients to see timelines and receive updates throughout the project. “If our clients are at work and their countertop goes in, they can get a glimpse of what it looks like,“ says Roshko. 

“Not only is this technology great for our client communications and relationships, it helps me stay informed about all of our projects day in and day out.“ 

Having received numerous accolades from the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders‘ Association Awards of Distinction, including the Renovator of the Year Award in both 2015 and 2018, Heartwood Renovations is recognized as an award-winning construction company in the Greater Hamilton Area.  

Today, the company has 14 employees—about half are Mohawk grads from the same program Roshko graduated from—working on home renovation projects in Hamilton and the Halton Region. 

Next steps for the company include a luxury home renovation and kitchen showroom, set to open at their new Ancaster-based office in January 2020. This will give their clients a place to see the newest products and trends to help them make decisions for their home renovations. With this new level of service, Roshko, Mancini and their team are excited to be able to help their clients in more areas of custom renovations while continuing to build on the success they‘ve already achieved. 

By: Meaghan Drury

This story was originally published in Fall 2019 of the Mohawk Alumni In Touch magazine.