Meet James Baker, 38, vice president of Heritage Renovations Windows & Door and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2021 recipients
AS VICE PRESIDENT of Heritage Renovations Windows & Doors, a company he runs with his sister, Shannon Baker-Ruffell, James Baker has led the firm to dramatic growth through the expansion of sales and services in both the commercial and residential components of the business. Over the past five years, the strategies have enabled Heritage to add more than 30 new jobs, including over 10 during the pandemic, and significantly expand its geographic footprint in the region. A committed advocate for the industry at large, he was instrumental in creating a first-of-its-kind window and door installer program in partnership with Fanshawe College, bringing a much-needed boost to the region’s skilled trades labour pool.
What would you call your biggest business achievement, and why?
In my industry there is a significant skilled labour shortage, which was an obstacle to achieve my aggressive growth plans. I focused on creating sustainable growth within my industry by creating the first ever collegiate Window and Door Installation program in the country, along with partners Fanshawe College and North Star Windows. Through securing Ministry of Labour approval and funding, creating the curriculum from the ground up and being selected as a lead facilitator, I was able to encourage and educate newcomers to the industry to help fuel the growth of both Heritage Renovation as well as the industry
as a whole.
Who, or what, was your biggest business influence?
That would be my father, Steve Baker, retired president and CEO of the London International Airport. From a young age, I watched and learned from my father — what it meant to be a strong and confident person, a hard worker, a leader, a communicator and the importance of family. There was never a task or job I heard my father complain about; he never said something was too hard, beneath him or impossible to complete.
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What advice would you give your younger self?
Work hard, work fast, set goals and timelines — then do it again!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, my focus is always family first. I enjoy spending time with my family, watching my kids play competitive sports, taking them on new experiences and travelling. Interview by Kieran Delamont