2011 Champions

Champions by Year

Toni Wendel

“I'm 71 and as I've aged, I've become a more confident, complete person.”

“I’m 71 and as I’ve aged, I’ve become a more confident, complete person.”

On May 12, 2011, at age 70, Mrs. Ilone “Toni” Wendel led a visiting delegation from the American Institute of Architects on a tour of her most recently completed project—a spectacular renovation of the Cotton Mill clock tower in downtown New Orleans. Once a deteriorating, vacant reminder of bygone grandeur, Toni meticulously transformed the clock tower into a breathtaking, four-story residence. Copious praise from the visiting architects affirmed what Toni felt in her heart—that this renovation was her best work to date.

Toni Wendel, owner and president of Olde World Builders and Remodelers, assumed control of the business from her ailing husband in 1989. Although she knew little of the construction business and was raising four young children at the time, Toni was determined to do everything she could to keep the family’s sole source of income alive. It turned out she could do quite a lot. Forced to compete in a male-dominated, traditionally chauvinistic industry, Toni endured incessant taunts and even struggled for respect from her suppliers and crew. Ironically, Toni found strength in the hostility and was inspired to prove the naysayers wrong. After a full day on the job, Toni cooked dinner for her family while she studied the business and pored over plans. Her preparation and dedication paid off, through satisfied customers and a rapidly growing business.

Toni Wendel broke through barriers and earned the respect of her peers as evidenced by her election as president of the Homebuilders Association board. Increased demand for her construction and remodeling expertise led to bigger projects and new challenges.

It’s no surprise that the clock tower, Toni’s most recent project, is her best work to date. Everything Toni Wendel does, whether construction, painting, gourmet cooking or tennis, gets better all the time.

Toni Wendel … Peoples Health Champion.