Kenneth J. Kobarg
My career path:
My mother owned and operated a 10,000 Sq Ft fabrication shop that designed and manufactured custom cabinets and furniture. This was a consuming task for a single mom with three kids. As a result I spent much of my youth in that shop. I was never the type to sit still. I wanted to work on the line even before I was a teenager. The men in the shop where true “old world” artisans, each eager to teach me their skills. It never occurred to me that this education would turn out to be the foundation of my career. Before graduating high school, I had the skills and talent to proficiently fill any position in the fabrication process, but my passion was in the highly custom work. I was always drawn to computers. Since my first Commodore 64, I started to design with them. It was not long before I merged the two interests and was one of the first to employ what is today the most commonly used kitchen design software. My passion for design grew and became my primary role for some time at the shop. As the retail division of our shop grew, I was not fulfilled with only designing and building the kitchens and cabinets. I wanted more.
After taking business courses at Farmingdale College, I embarked on my first startup company which I named Proud Designs. For years I worked as a tradesman for builders primarily doing their highly detailed finish carpentry while absorbing all the knowledge I could. I started to manage the intricate structural work of extensive renovations for these same contractors. Then I’d leave and return to their projects when it was time for the finished carpentry. Through 100% referrals, my client base grew to the point that I was too busy to work for contractors. The next block of years was spent building relationships with exceptional trades and vendors, with whom I completed renovations we were quite proud of. The natural next fit was that of a builder and I did not start small. My first home was a highly custom 7,500 SF Hampton style house that we completed on time and in budget. From there each home we built or renovated were homes of distinction. These experiences have informed my vision and aspirations.
In January of 2006 I partnered with my talented protégé from Proud Designs Inc., James Vassallo. Together we created Artisan Design Build Remodel. Artisan DBR is different in that, with the help of continued education and peer groups, we have created a business that no longer operates purely on sheer will, hard work, and talent. Artisan DBR deliver those attributes through well designed systems, processes and procedures. It is this structure that has enabled us to provide exceptional customer service and project management while maintaining that important balance of family, my four amazing kids, and friendships. I have always had a deep entrepreneurial spirit and strong sense of self-motivation from the pride that comes from each successful build.