The Ironwood Philosophy
We know that choosing a builder can be a daunting process. We hope that providing you with information about our guiding philosophy will help you to understand who we are as a company and what we believe in.
At Ironwood Builders, we carry a deep and lasting commitment to green building, which includes a passion for energy efficiency, natural materials, and healthy finishes. We do this because of our respect for our environment in a broad sense, as well as the built environment where we spend much of our time. We feel that this care extends to our employees, where we are committed to paying a living wage. We have also worked long and hard to develop positive relationships with all our subcontractors, who are integral parts of our projects. We do not conduct our work by simply seeking the lowest possible price. Instead, we operate with our clients' best interest in mind to keep our projects on budget, and achieve lasting results.
I started my career in residential construction in 2001, as a carpenter on a crew in the PacificNorthwest. Since then, I have worked on projects all over the US, in Mexico, and in Australia. These projects have ranged from strawbale houses to log cabins to contemporary Passive Houses.
My passion is being involved with a project from sketches on a piece of paper to foundation and framing, and through finish trim work. Experience every day in the field coupled with clear communication and knowledge of building systems has given me the skills to be part of Ironwood's design consulting team, general business manager, and the main contact for clients.
My discerning eye ensures the craftsmanship and quality of each project are up to the Ironwood standard. I also maintain informative communication with our clients, making sure their needs are met in a timely and economic fashion. Being a leader at Ironwood Builders has allowed me the opportunity to create buildings that meet people's needs aesthetically and functionally, while helping to preserve our environment and conserve our resources.
I have been a carpenter for as long as I can remember. My career path started in shop class ingrade school with the requisite penholders, letter holders, and tool boxes (still in use today),to my first design/build (a picnic table) in 8th grade. I drew the plan, made a cut sheet, figured materials, bought them (well Mom did), borrowed a circular saw, had my older brother make all of the cuts (I was too nervous), and assembled it. Mom still has it, but don't let anyone talk you into grabbing an end to move it, it is way too heavy for a two-person carry.
I love to be creative and bring this to my everyday problem solving. I learned this as I worked side by side with a master carpenter (concrete, framing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, painting, trim, cabinetry, roofing, truck mechanics, you name it) right after high school for a few years, then worked my way up the ranks with a building and remodeling crew in Indiana (kitchens, baths, houses, remodels). I moved back to Ithaca and worked for another master carpenter (framing, finish work, built-ins, cabinetry, etc.). After giving a go of running my own business, I realized that a team approach was the environment in which I work best. Thus Ironwood Builders was born, as a collaborative effort of a group of dedicated craftsman each working to their strengths. As the estimator, I am tasked with figuring out what will go into each and every project. I think that you will find our estimates very thorough and detailed. I am also the site foreman. Once there are blueprints it is my job to mobilize our team to turn them into the complex system that we call a HOME. I take great pride in the work that we do, and the friendships I have made, with Ironwood Builders.
Ever since I was introduced to the concepts of passive houses and sustainable buildings at Bard College, I haven't been able to stop thinking about them. I have always enjoyed building useful things and growing my own vegetables. Before moving to Ithaca I was living in Portland, Oregon, where I was bombarded with eye catching and innovative natural buildings, cob bus stops and benches. I later moved back to central New York to be closer to my family and friends, hoping to hone my carpentry skills and find a fun, knowledgeable group of people to work with. As luck would have it, I found Ironwood.
Growing up in central New York I found that many of the existing buildings, new and old, were not able to perform effectively or efficiently in this extremely variable climate. I am glad that with Ironwood, every house that we build makes energy efficiency both affordable and more attractive. As a part of Ironwood's framing crew, it is my job to help build the house’s skeleton and skin as well as giving it a nice watertight hat. Along with the other members of the framing crew I help prepare the building for the trim crew to finish up.
Working outdoors is always a rewarding experience and I try to spend most of my free time hiking, gardening and swimming in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter.
I was born and grew up on the banks of Fall Creek outside of Ithaca. My family lived in a rustic and beautiful log cabin that my parents built from scratch, with the help of their family and friends. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with building things. I spent many hours as a boy in my grandfather's basement woodshop, sweeping up and helping on my dad’s construction jobs, and reading books and magazines about fine woodworking.
I studied Fine Art and Environmental Conservation in college, where I learned much about balance and esthetic, natural ecology, and the state of our world. After travelling the country with my future wife, the finger lakes region pulled us back, where we started a family, and that was when I jumped into working seriously as a carpenter. Over the past 15 years I have had the privilege to work with many skilled craftspeople in almost all phases of the construction process, so I bring a wide range of skills to the Ironwood team. I have always enjoyed detail oriented finish work, so I am excited to be part of the finish crew. I am also extremely happy to be involved in building green and energy efficient homes, because it feels like being part of the solution, and that feels good.
Outside of work, my wife, three kids, and I live and play in the Shindagin hills. I have been a nature mentor with Primitive Pursuits, Earth Arts, and Camp Earth Connections for the past 10 years. Whenever I can find the time, I also enjoy singing songs and playing guitar.
I came to work with Ironwood in 2011 when I moved to the Ithaca area from Brooklyn, NewYork. It was in New York City where I began my carpentry career, building custom shelving, cabinets and other fixtures for commercial storefronts. I also worked for myself remodeling,updating and restoring a number of Brooklyn's famous brownstone residences. My passion for energy efficiency and conscientious living inspired me to design and carry out several urban sustainability projects in the New York City area as well.
Arriving in Ithaca, I wanted to expand my skills and knowledge into whole house construction so I was happy to join Ironwood. I was also happy to find myself not only in the company of seasoned craftsmen, but dedicated stewards of the environment.
My duties at Ironwood include executing daily operating tasks, maintaining Ironwood standards of craftsmanship and ensuring that lines of communication remain open between employees and management.
After high school, my passion for outdoor adventures led me west, to Fort Collins, Colorado. While living there, I worked as a framer on new homes. I grew up being exposed to carpentry by way of family members, but fell in love with the craft during my time in the Rockies. I eventually moved back home to Ithaca, and started working with an uncle who was a trim carpenter. The interior finishing process was frustrating at first, but with practice and a lot of patience, I began to master this type of detailed work – the work that made other projects (furniture, cabinetry, stairs, etc.) possible.
For the past 10 years, I have honed my skills as a trim carpenter while completing various projects in the Ithaca community – from commercial storefronts and restaurant remodels to custom home interiors. My interest in finish work led to me to discover other avenues, including welding and decorative concrete, which has been my main focus for the past two years. Designing one-of-a-kind concrete elements for local spaces led me to Ironwood Builders, as I was commissioned to cast a countertop for an owner’s personal home.
As conversation progressed, I was hired to do some finish work on an Ironwood project, and quickly realized that the company’s mission and the integrity of the team was something that I wanted to be a part of long-term. I was soon hired as a permanent part of Ironwood Builders. I currently live in Newfield with my wife, Janessa, and daughter, Mary. We’re designing our family’s new home that will be located on Ithaca’s South Hill.