Matt Sinclair begins term as 2017 CCCIA president

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On January 1, Cape Coral builder Matt Sinclair began his term as the president of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.

Being sworn in at a ceremony held in December, Sinclair becomes the forty-sixth president to preside over the organization that began in 1971.

Sinclair's ascent to the organization's top position was a swift one after joining the CCCIA only four years ago, "

Funny how things started out. I started as a director. Then, there was a building contractor that stepped back, and they approached me to fill the position on the board. Then I was asked if I would be interested in becoming Vice-President and that led to becoming president," explains Sinclair.

Seeing Sinclair make his way up the ranks of the CCCIA in the past few years, becoming president of the organization was something of a no-brainer for those involved, "Matt is a guy's guy, who is willing to put in the work needed to get anything accomplished," says CCCIA Executive Director Bill Johnson, Jr. "It is refreshing to see when a person buys into the association and gets involved can rise up to the ranks. It shows, with dedication and hard work anything is possible in our organization.

While not all members get as involved as Sinclair has during his time in the CCCIA, he says it wasn’t a matter of whether or not to get involved but, instead, how much they needed him to, "It was great, I wanted to do something to give back to the industry that has given me so much over the years."

The years in the industry Sinclair speaks of began as a youngster growing up in Windsor, Ontario, when his parents had a new staircase installed in their home. Sinclair says he was fascinated by the wood finisher working on the staircase, "I was always good with my hands, and watching him turn the staircase into the finished project amazed me."

The fascination transformed into a profession as Sinclair was soon working as an apprentice and eventually worked in the industry as a Master Wood Finisher, which became his ticket into the United States.

In 2003 Sinclair made his way to Cape Coral where he worked as a painting contractor, and at the same time working to acquire all the licenses required to open his own company.

During that time, Cape Coral along with the rest of the country was hit by the worst recession seen in many years. While many in the construction industry were unable to survive the downward turn in the market, Sinclair, drawing on his experiences of growing up and working in the building industry in Ontario, not only survived but, thrived, "Where I am from there have been many recessions. Southwest Florida has been sheltered from other recessions. I benefited from those experiences and bought houses at the courthouse steps, renovated them and putting back on the market."

Sinclair used the profits made during that time to open his own company, Sinclair Custom Homes in 2012. Today, the company is thriving due to, as Sinclair says, being a little unique, "We have in-house painting and carpentry. We have our own cabinet shop that allows us to provide custom cabinetry. Those things have allowed me to separate our company from other builders and create a successful niche in the local market."

While the company has successfully grown in just a few short years, Sinclair says he remains a hands-on owner, "I still work on all the jobs. My clients get my personal assistance and overview while I am building each home."

It is that hands on approach the Sinclair says he will use as president of the CCCIA to help move the organization and industry forward over the next year, "I am the first builder president of the CCCIA in over ten years. I believe that background will allow me to touch on a lot of topics that affect the industry as a whole."

One of those topics is the lack of construction related workers.

Sinclair says one way to infuse workers in the construction industry is to relax a little-known law that hampers construction companies on hiring from the younger generation, "Right now it is a felony to hire anyone under 18 years of age to work on a construction site unless they are family," says Sinclair.

He says he has been working with State Representative Dane Eagle to make changes in that law, "We want to target high school dropouts. I dropped out at 15 years old. If you can get a good trade under your belt, I am proof that you can be successful."

In addition to that initiative, Sinclair says he is working with the Lee Country Sheriff's Office to bring in more potential workers by creating a training program for released inmates, "The program will include working with the Sheriff's Department to vet the inmates through a two-phase interview process. We are also looking into possible bonding through the state that will help builders with insurance rates. It could be a great way to make a dent in the lack of workers in the industry."

At the same time, Sinclair and the organization works through those initiatives, increasing membership in the 46-year-old organization will be paramount, saying his goal is to show the benefits of joining the CCCIA that he learned first hand, to those in the industry, "I have met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet had I not been in the CCCIA. It has helped me build my company because being in the construction industry is more than getting up in the morning doing a job and coming home. There are rules, regulations, and best practices that the CCCIA can help a company work through. The CCCIA can help with all that, as well as provide networking platforms unavailable to the average contractors and sub-contractors."

As he settles into his new position of leading the CCCIA over the next year, Sinclair is looking for to not only the challenges but, the accomplishments he is confident the organization will see moving forward, "This is a great organization filled with great people. We are all working together to ensure the construction industry in Cape Coral continues to grow and build a solid foundation for the future. As we continue to recover from the recession, this year will be an important year to establish the tone for construction in Cape Coral for years to come."

For more information about the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, visit www.cccia.org.