Behind the Build: Ed Holmquist

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce superintendent Ed Holmquist. An avid fisherman and father of four who enjoys music and a hearty Italian beef sandwich, Ed first joined Gallagher and Henry in 1983 as a laborer. He has been a Gallagher and Henry superintendent since 1999.

What does your role as superintendent entail?
After the framers stick build the houses, I am in charge of scheduling all the vendors to complete the home, which includes everything inside and out – from the exterior brickwork and cement for the driveways and sidewalks to the mechanicals, electrical, cabinets, flooring, and everything else that brings us to closing day. I am available to homebuyers throughout the construction process as well to answer any questions they might have. For so many, this is an entirely new experience and my job is to help guide them through this process and keep everything on schedule to ensure it’s as seamless as it can possibly be. Upon closing, then, I’m with our homeowners through the one-year warranty period to service any needs that might arise.

What’s the most rewarding part of this job?
We spend 4-6 months hammering out each day and keep moving forward to put together a home we are proud to have the Gallagher and Henry name on. When people are smiling at the final walkthrough and happy at closing, that’s rewarding. After all, that’s what we’re here to do. Beyond that, I have worked with some really fantastic people over the years at Gallagher and Henry. When you work with others you can trust and rely on, that makes for a wonderful professional life.

What is one of the more unique projects you’ve worked on over your 20-year run as a Gallagher and Henry superintendent?
It’s not every day – or even once a decade – you get asked to put an elevator in a home, so that was one request that really stands out. It was fun to tackle a project so far beyond what we’re accustomed to doing.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the last two decades?
When I came back to Gallagher and Henry in 1999, fax machines and pagers were the big thing. Then, we moved onto email and, now, smartphones and texting. The technology has changed rapidly, while regulations in the same time frame have grown exponentially. You just take it one day at a time, digest things as they come, and educate yourself as best as possible so you’re always the best professional you can be.

When you began working for Gallagher and Henry in 1983, company co-founder Bob Gallagher remained an active presence. What has it been like to see the transition of this family-owned business from Bob Gallagher’s leadership to a second generation of Gallaghers?
Bob Gallagher was as devoted a business leader as I’ve ever seen. He was absolutely committed, intense even, to building sturdy, durable homes. Bob’s sons embrace those same principles and work ethic. You can see they honor what he was all about as an individual and what he wanted Gallagher and Henry to stand for as a company. That might seem cheesy, but it’s really the case.

Behind the Build: Valentina Plastiak

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce Valentina “Tina” Plastiak, the current sales manager at the Goodings Grove and Kingston Hills communities in Homer Glen. A die-hard Chicago Cubs fan who enjoys cooking and gardening, Tina is now in her 37th year with Gallagher and Henry.

When did you start working at Gallagher & Henry?
I started with Gallagher and Henry in 1983 on the construction side. It was part-time work cleaning the finished homes prior to closing. I also did housekeeping for the Gallagher and Henry model homes as well. Working on the construction side was great for me because I saw firsthand the building of a Gallagher and Henry home from foundation to finish – the quality, the workmanship, the materials, and the care that went into each new build. That was invaluable for me as I made the move over to the sales side in 2000.

And it’s been a family affair at Gallagher and Henry for you, correct?
Yes. My husband, Vic, has worked at Gallagher and Henry since 1971 and I have loved working with him over the years. I learned everything about sales from him, which was a good thing since he’s a perfectionist who believes in doing things right the first time. Vic and I have six children and, at one time or another, every one of them has been engaged with Gallagher and Henry – working as a hostess, watering new sod, or even watching over newly poured cement. My two sons will tell you watching cement dry was the best job they ever had.

What do you most enjoy about working for Gallagher and Henry?
Each customer walking into our sales office or our model homes presents a new and exciting challenge. They all have different needs and wants, and their individual stories are fascinating. I love helping each customer build their dream home – first on paper and then in reality. And I enjoy having a beautiful model home as my office.

How would you characterize the experience of working with a multi-generational, family-owned company that is now in its 66th year?
From the company’s founders, Bob Gallagher and Dan Henry, to the present day, Gallagher and Henry has never wavered from its mission of constructing quality-built homes. The business was established on that principle and the new generation has only improved on the quality and designs to meet the needs and lifestyles of each era.

What’s one particularly memorable experience you’ve had while working on the sales side for Gallagher and Henry?
Just as each client is memorable, each sale is memorable to me in its own way as well. I’m working with a new homebuyer regularly over 6-12 months and relationships naturally blossom. I’ve gotten to know them and their families and some of my customers have become lifelong friends. I can drive through Gallagher and Henry communities today and be welcomed by not only past customers, but friends. That’s something special.

Closeout Condos in Woodridge

The Farmingdale Village Condominiums in Woodridge is ready to welcome its final residents. The remaining two units (8505 Woodward Avenue – Unit 104 and 8515 Woodward Avenue – Unit 104) in the upscale condominium development from award-winning homebuilder Gallagher and Henry are now available for immediate occupancy.

Priced to sell at $274,500, each of the spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos are first-floor end units packed with high-quality features and modern amenities designed to create comfort and convenience.

“Our goal from the start with the Farmingdale Village Condominiums was to create luxurious, no-maintenance living and the fact that only two units remain speak to our success in achieving that mission,” Gallagher and Henry principal John Gallagher said of the three 16-unit buildings that comprise the Farmingdale Village Condominiums community located north of 87th Street on Woodward Avenue.

Embracing a contemporary open-concept layout, the two Dover floor plan units cover 1,540 square feet. A gourmet kitchen featuring granite countertops, ceramic tile flooring, a custom-built five-shelf pantry, and stainless steel Whirlpool appliances opens to a large living room anchored by a gas fireplace with ceramic surround. The primary bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet and bathroom with a soaker tub, shower and granite-topped vanity.

“Everything is brand new in these Dover units, so buyers can settle in quickly,” Gallagher and Henry sales associate Tina Plastiak said.

Gallagher and Henry, which has been building homes in the Chicago area since 1954, took great pride in the details to ensure high-quality construction, in-demand amenities, and dramatic design elements.

In the family room, for instance, insulated glass-pane sliding doors lead to a spacious concrete balcony that provides residents an intimate outdoor living space, while a defined laundry area includes a full-size Whirlpool washer and dryer. The formal dining room is punctuated by a tray ceiling, energy-saving insulated glass windows flood the units with natural light, and white-painted doors and trim lend a crisp, clean look to the new condos.

Architecturally, Gallagher and Henry eliminated the long hallways that define other multi-unit developments, instead designing octagonal common spaces that provide instant access from the elevator to each floor’s individual four units. Each condominium residence, meanwhile, is surrounded by the sturdiness of concrete floors and brick construction, which heightens privacy as well as energy efficiency.

“We truly focused on the details here and creating dynamic environments that provide comfort and a sense of home,” Gallagher said, noting that each of the available units also includes a heated indoor parking space.

One of the community’s longest-tenured residents described the Farmingdale Village Condominiums as “a comfortable, peaceful, quiet place to live.”

The Farmingdale Village Condominiums reside amid a vibrant Woodridge community that has welcomed a burgeoning array of shopping, dining, and entertainments options over recent years, while swift access to major transportation thoroughfares such as I-55 and I-355 ease travel throughout the greater Chicagoland area.

“Woodridge has seen tremendous growth in recent years and that’s made the village a lively, energetic, and convenient place for its residents,” Gallagher said.

For additional information on the final move-in ready units at the Farmingdale Village Condominiums or to schedule a tour, please contact Gallagher and Henry sales associate Tina Plastiak at (708) 301-1999.

4 Steps to Maximize Outdoor Living

Parents watching kids chalk up the driveway or ride bikes down the block.

Families involved in backyard games or enjoying a family meal on the outdoor patio.

Residents strolling the sidewalks, inhaling the fresh summer air, appreciating a neighboring home’s blooming flowers, and sharing hellos with those they encounter.

For the last six decades, such scenes have played out regularly in Gallagher and Henry communities across the Southland – and they remain just as commonplace today at Gallagher and Henry’s eight new home communities in Homer Glen, Lemont, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Tinley Park, and Woodridge.

For many homeowners, the outdoors stand an important extension of the home. Outdoor spaces not only contribute to one’s physical and emotional health – research has tied outdoor time to increased energy levels, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and heightened creativity – but can also strengthen our sense of place.

With the positive impact of outdoor experiences generating widespread attention in recent months following government-mandated shelter-in-place orders due to the novel coronavirus, more and more homeowners – not to mention prospective homebuyers – are putting fresh eyes on how they might better capitalize on the spaces right outside a home’s doors.

Step #1: Know Your Purpose.
The first important step to better capitalizing on your outdoor space is to reflect on purpose, which is to say: How do you want to use your outdoor spaces? While some desire a private oasis to relax and unwind, others favor lively environments designed to entertain or a cozy front porch that sparks random interactions and fosters a deeper sense of community. With a clear understanding of what you want a space to accomplish, you can then begin putting the necessary puzzle pieces together.

Step #2: Factor in function – and Mother Nature.
With purpose in hand, begin crafting a space that efficiently and effectively creates that environment. To do so, put functionality top of mind. An outdoor dining area, for instance, should be accessible to the indoor kitchen. A dog run, meanwhile, is best placed in an out-of-the-way area. Consider how a given space will interplay with Mother Nature as well, including how sunlight or wind patterns will impact functionality. After all, you don’t want your dining area in a wind tunnel or under a tree that birds love to call home.

Step #3: Create for Comfort.
Select furniture that’s appropriate for the space you’re creating and its intended use, whether that’s dining, relaxing, or entertaining. If the seating, in particular, isn’t comfortable or conducive to its intended aim, then it’s unlikely you and others will want to spend large chunks of time there. Have spaces for people to place food and drink, limit the impact of Mother Nature and its creatures, and design a space that prioritizes comfort.

Step #4: Add in Some Flair.
Don’t be afraid to bring your indoor style outdoors. While nature offers its own beauty, it can be enhanced with some creative flair. Use colors, patterns, outdoor textiles, and art to enliven a space with your personal style. Incorporate lighting, which can improve safety and add drama. String lights running across a front porch or back patio, for instance, can add a touch of whimsy. Blending different hardscape and softscape elements, such as seating walls and vivid flowers, blends aesthetic diversity to an outdoor area as well.

Love the Great Outdoors
Whether it’s rocking chairs placed on a covered front porch to watch children partake in summertime fun or an expansive outdoor kitchen for the entertaining you love to do, embracing the potential of outdoor living can bring added joy and quality to your life. By considering how you want to use your outdoor property, thoughtfully considering how an outdoor space will function, and investing in a space that embraces both comfort and style, you can create outdoor retreats that enrich your life and boost your sense of place.