The Founders
Each of Tego’s owners have decades of industry experience and an enduring passion for their craft.

Mike Aubrey

John Manzo

A Q&A with Mike

Why did you choose this industry?

It is fun. There are always new challenges and different opportunities to innovate and create.

Why did you decide to go into business together? How do your
strengths compliment each others'?

John and I grew up together. We share a trust that has held for decades. You can’t find that kind of trust in business these days. John has excellent people and management skills. He always understands and has an amazing ability to work with others to synthesize new ideas. I have an engineering background and have always been building and fixing things. I was four when I was once caught taking apart all the bolts from the engine in my uncles’ Corvar. We have a diverse but overlapping skill set so we can understand what each of us does and respect each other’s contributions to the company.

What about your career inspires you to go to work every morning?

There is always something new to do and learn. It never stops. The work is always fresh and exciting.

Are there any extraordinary challenges you've faced? Do you have any interesting stories? What are some creative and/or innovative ways you've solved problems? How have your challenges helped you grow as a business and people?

Hardly a week goes by without a challenge. These challenges are often the nucleus for a new product. We never shy away from anything because it is too challenging. We tackle problems head on since that is how we learn and innovate.

How have your innovations changed things for you, for the industry, and for your customers? Why and how did these innovations take place?

We started the company with an idea. A seamless laminate wall surround (the Tego). Then came the Muralam wall panels, handmade at first, then by CNC (computer). We have had CNC capability much longer than most. We were making our cabinets by CNC before most people had even heard of it. Our most recent innovations include stainless steel shower bases with hardwood inserts and one piece soapstone shower bases. Our most recent work is a heated soapstone seat outside of a shower – just like sitting on the warm rocks after a swim. Every innovation begins with one thing, an idea. In our case, we are a company that is based and runs on ideas.

In a sentence, how would you summarize your passion for making beautiful, functional bathrooms and kitchens.

I love it. I did my first bathroom and kitchen when I was 15 years old. It just keeps getting better and better.

What is the best response you've ever gotten from a happy customer? How did it make you feel?

The best responses are the warm glows that emanate from happy customers. The proof is when referral customers make the statement “Tego is doing my bathroom; why would I go elsewhere.”

Where would you like to see Tego go in the next 5 years?

We have a great team of enthusiastic people at Tego. I would like to grow this culture of excellence to meet new challenges and keep innovating.

A Q&A with John

Why did you choose this industry?

Working in this industry is challenging. We are able to work with many different types of clients such as individual home owners, custom builders, architects, and engineers. Each requires a different approach to address their needs which forces us to be creative. Work in this industry is never boring.

Why did you decide to go into business together? How do your
strengths compliment each others'?

We grew up together and already had some shared rental apartments before we started Tego. Mike was already in the renovation business and I wanted to move out of Toronto to Ottawa so I had approached him with the idea of manufacturing some products which we still make to this day. We initially never planned to be in the installation side of business but with the custom nature of many of our products it was what the customer wanted. We expanded on that and introduced more design installation services as the customer wanted complete turnkey services.

What about your career inspires you to go to work every morning?

There are many challenges and many aspects of the business that never get dull.

Are there any extraordinary challenges you've faced? Do you have any interesting stories? What are some creative and/or innovative ways you've solved problems? How have your challenges helped you grow as a business and people?

We are always willing to take on the most difficult tasks. Many of the new concepts we come up with are a reflection of the ideas the consumer asks us for as well as our own ideas and innovations. Our challenges and successes have shaped us into the company we are today and we gladly share our wealth of knowledge whenever possible, for free. We actively contribute to the improvement of our industry through our involvement with associations such as the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association and the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

How have your innovations changed things for you, for the industry, and for your customers? Why and how did these innovations take place?

Some of the products we invented are unique and only available from us; there is nothing else available out there like them. Products like the Tego tub surround and the Muralam wall panels just don’t exist in the market. Those products started with a vision; we wanted a quick and easy installation piece with few maintenance requirements to last a lifetime. At one point, these systems were individually made by hand. This was slow and tedious so we were one of the first to adopt CNC machines in the workplace. These innovations and technologies established us as industry leaders early on and would see us through more difficult times later on.
We also educate consumers on potential flaws and difficulties with past tiling methods and installations. We’ve been developing systems and methods to improve longevity and quality long before home improvement shows popularized particular methods. Our work involves supporting Algonquin College’s Kitchen & Bath Design Program and has helped produce the original steering committee that established the National Kitchen and Bath Association in Ottawa. Our involvements also support the GOHBA RenoMark program which educates consumers on best practices in finding a suitable contractor.

In a sentence, how would you summarize your passion for making beautiful, functional bathrooms and kitchens.

It’s great! The amount of creativity and detail that go into a project these days as compared to the early days when we started is unbelievable. I would never have believed you if you told me 25 years ago the things we are doing today. The technology and products that are available to today’s customer are incredible. We are building rooms that are much closer to being a home spa than a bathroom.

What is the best response you've ever gotten from a happy customer? How did it make you feel?

We regularly get notes and cards from past clients or visits to let us know they still love their bathrooms and think of us while enjoying their rooms years later. Many of them are repeat customers that seek us out when they move to a new place. Most have referred family and friends over the years.

Where would you like to see Tego go in the next 5 years?

We have a very enthusiastic staff and I would like to see them continue to improve and create new products and participate in the future of the industry.