As an employee owned business, TimberHomes has recently accepted Andrew Catlin as its fifth member-owner. Having recently passed the three year work threshold, Andrew has made the commitment to “stick around”. Given the importance of Andrew’s current roles as project manager, designer, lead carpenter, and all around “go-to” guy, the other TimberHomes partners are breathing a sigh of relief.
Andrew grew up in the Rochester, NY area, where he from an early age on was interested in wood working and building things. After the completion of his home based high school education, Andrew worked for a couple of years with some close friends doing carpentry, while fitting in his own wood working projects, and some workshops at the Yestermorrow Design/ Build School, in Waitsfield, VT.
Also during this time, Andrew developed a keen interest in sustainability by becoming involved with the Natural Building Colloquium of the Northeast. With time, it became clear to Andrew that he could actually enjoy the physical and mental challenges of building, and at the same time, honor the environmentalist within him. It was during this time, Andrew first took a timber framing workshop with Sarah Highland, who introduced him to the art of cutting heavy timber with hand tools.
The collected experiences culminated in Andrew’s decision to go to Alfred State College, where he did a two year trades program in residential carpentry. For Andrew, the college experience was not exactly the idyllic life period that it was for many of his peers. He struggled to cope with many of the social and structural aspects of the trade-school setting, but he remains grateful for a few good teachers, and having been exposed to many aspects of construction. His college experience was highlighted by a semester in the New Orleans area, where he and a small team spent a semester working on Habitat for Humanity homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Upon graduating, Andrew returned to the Rochester area where he resumed construction. With new skills under his belt, he built his first timber frame barn in addition to remodel and cabinet projects. In the Summer of 2014, Andrew decided to try some thing different by coming to volunteer with TimberHomes at Dartmouth College’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, on the class of 1965 Bunkhouse.
Andrew’s talents were immediately recognized by TimberHomes, and he was invited to continue on with the company. After spending the winter working at TimberHomes’ Vershire facility, Andrew returned to Moosilauke as the project lead for the construction of the class of 1966 Bunkhouse. This was followed up by the 1967 Bunkhouse the following year. Currently, Andrew is designing aspects of and planning for the 1978 Bunkhouse which will be built this Summer.
With these Dartmouth experiences, Andrew has proven that not only is he a great lead carpenter and designer, but that he’s also quite adept at managing large number of people who often have limited construction experience. This combination is rare in a person, and TimberHomes is ecstatic that he’s decided to make the commitment to ownership.
In describing the experience, he wrote, “When I started working at TimberHomes three years ago, I assumed I’d work here for a couple years, then move on to other jobs and places, maybe even start my own business some day, because that’s just what you do when you’re 25 and it’s only your first full-time job. It’s almost unheard of for my generation, to find a company that early on and stay with it. Then, within my first couple weeks here, we had our first whole company meeting about becoming a worker-owned coop, and less than a year later we officially made the change. It was striking to me that, here you have these founding partners who have poured so much of their own skill, sweat, time, and money into building this awesome little company from the ground up, and now they’re excited to give away some of the control over it, because they see that as the best way to make sure it survives beyond their own careers. So yeah, there are many other design/build companies I could be working for, but don’t think I could find a better bunch of people, or have such an opportunity to shape my own future. I know there are a few other coworkers of my generation here, who feel similarly. With all that in mind, the decision to buy in as the 5th partner/owner was an easy one, in the end.”
Andrew now lives in Montpelier. In his free time, he enjoys most of all snowboarding and motorcycles.