“Home is the place that provides shelter, comfort and safety. It’s the place where we connect with the people we love the most. It is the place where to the full extent of our resources, we make beauty to surround ourselves.” – Rich Tyas
Working with people, for their families, in their homes
After over thirty years in the construction business, the art of the trade still excites Rich Tyas. From forming concrete and framing walls to hanging sheet rock and fitting trims, he loves it all. But if you ask him about what’s the most important element of his business, he will tell you that it all comes down to friendly, competent service: “It’s about working with people, for their families, in their homes.”
Rich founded Tangent Construction 1985. When he decided to start the business, former co-workers teased that “Rich is going off on a tangent” and he cheerfully named the company accordingly. For the past 30 years, Tangent Construction has performed home remodels for countless satisfied customers throughout the greater Seattle area. The jobs have ranged from kitchen and bathroom remodels to porch carpentry to full-on renovations.
Extraordinary personal care is key
Whether the job is small or large, complicated or straightforward, the common denominator throughout is the heart and soul that Rich brings to the job. He says, “It has always been about getting back to making home.” To that end, extraordinary personal care is key. To Rich, this means making a connection with each and every customer, listening to their needs, dreams and concerns and paying meticulous attention to details, right down to taking care not to let the family cat out during the upheaval of a renovation. Rich also works collaboratively with other industry specialists to make sure that all aspects of the job are performed expertly and efficiently.
Rich’s first taste of the construction business
When Rich was 9 years old, his parents moved from Bellingham, WA to Chico, a small town just outside of Bremerton. Soon after, his family found themselves included in a neighborhood church congregation. When rerouting of Highway 3 forced the church to relocate, the congregation decided to buy land and construct a new building with volunteer labor. Rich, his brother Dennis and their father were part of the construction crew. He still remembers the process: clearing the land and burning tree stumps, laying the foundation and his favorite part, rolling floor joints and fastening subfloors.
The young Rich liked being around the pipe fitters, welders and other men on the project but sometimes felt impatient when they took breaks to drink coffee and eat cookies. “They talked a lot,” he says, “I just wanted to get back to work.” The church project, which lasted two and a half years, was Rich’s first taste of the construction business.
He’s been hooked ever since
Full of enthusiasm and a strong desire to learn, Rich was eager to get more experience in the industry and throughout high school and college, he worked numerous construction jobs. After spending three years in college in San Francisco, Rich returned to the Northwest, where he continued studies at Seattle Pacific University. The father of one of Rich’s classmates was a contractor. Between terms, Rich worked for him, building custom homes and gaining valuable experience in the construction business. Within a week of college graduation in 1976, Rich landed a construction job.
At the urging of his neighbor, who was the secretary of the local carpenters union, Rich took his oral exam in front of the Union Trustees. Although he describes himself at that time as a “strong, overbearing, overconfident imbecile,” Rich breezed through the test. He not only earned his journeyman’s card but was also offered an upgrade class, which gave him the opportunity to learn some of the finer points of the construction business.
Rich approached the program with voracious curiosity and gleaned everything he could from his instructor Mike DeWitt. “I was trying to own his mind,” Rich playfully recalls. After receiving his journeyman’s card, Rich worked as a carpenter on housing construction for families on the Bangor Naval Base. In 1978, Rich joined the Howard S. Wright Construction Company and spent seven years as a carpenter, carpentry foreman and general foreman, working on high-end residential and commercial projects.
“…we make beauty to surround ourselves”
Outside of work, Rich keeps busy tending a lush garden with blueberries, thornless blackberries, grapes of seven varieties, cherries, plums and “Autumn Blaze” ornamental pear trees. He enjoys sharing the harvest from his garden, especially with the neighborhood children who like picking blackberries over his fence. Rich believes that “home” extends beyond the confines of a house and thinks a lot about how to improve the Seattle cityscape. “It’s time to make it better. We can make it home,” he says with a smile.