“You know, it’s about being good to people that matters,” Al says. He goes out and cuts a Christmas tree for one of his customers, every year. It’s become a tradition. He’ll tell you about being an impromptu handyman for an elderly woman who would pay him with fresh-baked cookies. Not many CEOs do that nowadays.
He doesn’t shy away from the hands-on work that he started out with in his early days of framing houses and doing renovations. He was a young guy who knew his way around a toolbox, much like his father who was also a well-respected doctor in Cobourg.
“My dad was really good at tinkering with things, really handy,” he says. “So maybe that’s where it comes from.”
Like father, like son: the Rose tradition
Handyman skills and great bedside manner were passed from father to son back then, and now Al has his son, Aidan Rose, on the Stalwood team.
Aidan returned home in the fall of 2016 after running a house-building company out west. He started working for his dad when he was eight, driving a Bobcat to clean up the construction sites. Sitting in Al’s office in Cobourg, the two clearly have a close-knit bond.
“He’s my best friend,” Aidan says. You can’t help but admire the camaraderie between father and son.
“He’s a good kid,” Al admits. Aidan recently put down some permanent roots, with his own custom built Stalwood home in Cobourg.
That’s a good thing for Al who’s been trying to pull back a bit from the company so he can spend more time with his horses, confident his son and Anthony “Dewy” Dew, Stalwood general manager, can take over.
The company is a team effort where they all hold each other accountable. And Aidan says he doesn’t want his dad to ever leave, so they’ll just retire together.
“There isn’t anyone on the team that I don’t have the ultimate trust in,” Al says. “Most of them have been with me a long time.”
Then there’s Chris, Al’s wife, who does all the bookkeeping out of her home office. She’s another key to the company’s success, but a little more behind the scenes. The family dynamic of Stalwood is running smooth, without the usual tensions of trying to blend work and home life.
“You know, we didn’t start out with much and worked very hard over the years, but Al is gutsy. We both are, ” Chris says of the couple’s early days when she drove a school bus and waitressed part-time and Al drove a cement truck until midnight and then got up in the morning to work on home renovations.
Now they like to go horseback riding together and take a vacation every so often. “We do have a lot of fun,” Chris says. “We’re great friends.”
Aidan sums it up best: “The thing about my dad is that he cares. And he’s nice to people, not to get anything in return—just because that’s the way he is.”
That’s why the world needs more Roses.