PEORIA, AZ — The crack of thunder and a crash of lightning is how inspiration sparks for one West Valley man.
His business, Chequest Millworks, is built on the monsoon, a season that is now just weeks away, beginning in mid-June.
Todd Langford builds live-edge wood tables from the trees that come crashing down during a storm, giving them life beyond a landfill.
"Mother Nature's awesome. You know, it's real and it's raw and it's unique," said Langford.
Langford served more than 20 years in the military. Now, the monsoon serves his passion.
"A lot of the material that you see that comes down in storms, they're very mature trees that have been around 60, 80, 100, 200 years," Langford explained. "So, when that comes down traditionally, that's all taken to a landfill."
But, Langford has created a relationship with those all across the Valley and when city officials go to pick up trees after a storm, they often call Langford to see if he can use them.
"It's amazing...amazing material," Langford said. "Here in the Valley alone, a very conservative number... probably close to a million dollars of hardwoods a week that are going to the landfills."
Last monsoon, Langford recovered nearly 500 logs and made over 300 products.
Each one has a brand on it: CM. CM does not exactly stand for Chequest Millworks.
"Caroline Malcomb is my grandbaby," Langford said as he began to tear up. "When she was 6 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer... I don't know if I can do this part."
His granddaughter did eventually fight off that cancer.
"But, 17 rounds of chemotherapy for a little person... you know... they're amazingly resilient," Langford said. "I'm really proud to have her brand on everything."
From his family to the trees he saves, resilience is just part of the business. A business that needs a storm to create something new.
"It's completely unique," Langford said. "There will never be another like what we build."
If you would like to visit Chequest Millworks, they are located at 9044 W. Deer Valley Road in Peoria. You can call 623-337-6556.
You can also visit their Facebook page for photos of their work.