When Jeff McCallum began working as a carpet cleaner in Victoria around 1990, he answered many calls to extract water from flooded homes.
This was a time when restoration work following a flood, fire or other disaster was not yet an organized business.
When he moved to Summerland in the early 1990s, he quickly focussed on restoration work, responding after property owners have suffered damages to their properties.
The calls have included damages after a body has been found in a building, cleaning up mold and water damage and restoring properties damaged by fire.
As the restoration business has grown, so has McCallum’s business, ABK Restoration Services. The company began in Penticton in the early 1990s to serve the Okanagan Valley but 10 years ago expanded to Kamloops. Some of the staff he hired in the 1990s are still working with the business today.
McCallum said the industry has evolved and today, certification and specialized training are required for those providing the service.
New technology also allows him and his workers to quickly measure a house so they can determine how much time and effort each part of the restoration work will require. This is needed in order to work with insurance claims.
However, McCallum sees good customer service as the most important facet of restoration work.
“You’re dealing with traumatized people all the time,” he said. “This is a social work business. It’s about being humble and having empathy.”
He teaches his staff to be polite and to communicate well with the clients they are serving.
Today, McCallum and his children are operating ABK Restoration and NorHaz Solutions, removing hazardous materials from buildings.
The two companies have 60 people on staff and while the businesses are based in Penticton, McCallum and many of the staff live in Summerland.
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