Our History

Our Executive Project Manager (Tory Strege) started working summers as a carpenter apprentice in 1987.  He worked for a large company framing apartment buildings.  He also worked part-time in a cabinet shop building custom cabinets during the school seasons.  In 1989 he began working for a housing development contractor framing houses.  From 1991 to 1995 Tory worked for a general contractor doing residential and commercial remodeling and additions.

Education & Formal Training

Tory went back to college full-time in 1995 for a Construction Management degree.  At the same time in 1995 he got his MN General Contractor license to offer part time home improvement services.  The company quickly grew into a fulltime operation with several employees.  In 1997 he incorporated the company to Creative Carpentry and Construction Inc. in Mankato MN.

In 2002, Tory sold Creative Carpentry to go manage crews building very large assisted living complexes in the Twin Cities.  From 2002 to 2006, Tory also built restaurants such as Chipotle’s and Starbucks, and Jack in the Box.

Tory attended college part time until 2006 when he finished his college degree.  He then became a project controller on large projects such as the new Xcel Energy High Bridge power plant in St. Paul and several new hospitals in the Milwaukee area.

<strong>1995: Strege Home Improvement & Repair</strong><br> Tory Strege, owner of Skill-It! has been in the construction industry since 1991. Above is a photo of Tory in 1995 with his then company truck for Strege Home Improvement & Repair.
1995: Strege Home Improvement & Repair

Tory Strege, owner of Skill-It! has been in the construction industry since 1987. Above is a photo of Tory in 1995 with his then company truck for Strege Home Improvement & Repair.

In 2010, Tory came back to Minnesota to be a project manager for Xcel Energy.  In 2013 he earned the credential of Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the International Project Management Institute. Tory spent most of his time from 2002-2015 as a project manager and carpenter foreman.  He did occasionally step back into the lead carpenter role for projects requiring a high degree of skill.   Some examples of this were steel framing the more complicated roofs in the Arbor Lakes Shopping district of Maple Grove and making and installing the custom woodwork for the new home of Best Buy founder – Richard Schulze.

Our Family

Tory Strege and Family

Tory and Jen Strege.


In 2015, Tory decided to go back to his first love of running his own construction company again.  Tory prefers to be a hands-on project manager and carpenter.  His career in industrial and institutional project management had taken him too far from what he loves.  Tory formed the company Skill-it LLC with Jen Strege.  Jen brings great people skills and a good eye for design to the business.  She serves as design consultant, business coordinator and customer relations manager.

Tory has seen a lot of poor quality workmanship in central Minnesota since his move here in 2010.  He is convinced there are many contractors working in the area who have less skill than ambition. Many appear to be more interested in turning a fast profit than in providing an excellent product.  This is why Tory chose to name the business Skill-It!  Safely demonstrating skills and installing quality products are our top priority. We keep the cost down by maximizing efficiency rather than by cutting corners or deploying under-skilled workers.  We will not likely be the lowest bidder, but we are sure we will cost you less in the end because we promise to do it right!

Our Company Motto

Don't just do it, Skill-It!