From repainting apartments to restoring churches seems like a gigantic leap, but it didn’t happen all at once. For Don Wendt, Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons, the journey took a while. After moving from New Jersey to Missouri with his mother and brother, Don (a teenager at the time) worked at repainting apartments. In 1973 he began working with his Uncle Mike who was in the church restoration business. “I knew from the very first day working with my uncle, restoring churches was what I wanted to do for the rest of my working career.” said Don. Shortly thereafter, Don’s uncle retired from doing entire churches to doing only statuaries. Don joined the union and hired on at A.T. Switzer in Kansas City. He worked there until 1989 when he decided to start his own company, Ecclesiastical Studios. He was finally going back to what he was passionate about – restoring historic churches throughout the Midwest.
Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons became a PDCA member in 2012. When asked what motivated him to join, he answered “We wanted to join the PDCA to build our credibility and employ the most efficient means and methods for obtaining and finishing projects in our niche of the painting industry. Furthermore, we wanted to get up to speed on all the details of paint and application processes that are changing at a lightning pace nowadays.”
Don cites Contractor College courses as being the most valuable benefit of PDCA membership. Don’s son, Alex, has been primarily responsible for the recently completed accreditation of the company. “We feel this [accreditation] will help us get future projects and generate more revenue for our family business.”
When we asked Don how his son, Alex, became involved in the family business, Don chuckled and said “Alex has been hanging around the job since he was three years old. We would give him a little bucket of paint and a brush so he could ‘help’.” Alex has grown up with a paint brush in his hand and has become an integral part of the business.
According to Don and Alex “The best way to secure your company’s future is by being a PDCA member and taking advantage of all the wonderful things PDCA has to offer. If you’re not a member, you’re going to get left behind.”
As you look at the fantastic photos accompanying this article and the spectacular attention to detail, keep in mind that these projects take months to complete and all work is completed by Don, Alex, and Cliff Foth (employee). The huge amount of scaffolding required sometimes necessitates more than one trip. Since each church is unique, all scaffolding in the ceiling area must be fashioned on-site.
Ecclesiastical Studios and Sons is a splendid example of PDCA’s tagline –Ethics –Education-Excellence, and PDCA is fortunate to have such a fine representative of the association.