The smell of sawdust in the air or walking through a framed-out house still brings me straight back to my childhood. My father was a carpenter and I was immersed in the trade from the very beginning. Naturally I too wanted to be a carpenter, to follow in my father's footsteps. In time, I found myself building with blocks, erecting forts and tree houses, working with wood, and loving every minute of it. By the time I started high school, I was fortunate enough to have a job working for my father. At the time, though I was eager to learn, I always thought of myself as just his laborer, his cut man. Looking back, I realize that I was his apprentice. Working one on one with a master carpenter who was willing and eager to teach me not only the inner workings of his trade but that of the larger construction industry was invaluable. My father always said to me, "You need to keep the big picture in mind when doing a job- no mater how big or small the project." I still think of his words of advice on a daily basis. Testing the waters of construction when I was a teenager was an important part of my current journey. Working as a laborer on commercial jobs and in many roles in residential endeavors has allowed me to incorporate the best of both worlds into my current business.
This was a time when I found myself working for landscapers, painters, carpenters, and builders while on school breaks, on weekends, and part-time during the school year. I was trying to view construction, and carpentry in particular, as more of a hobby as I neared completion of college. The thought of not having a career as a carpenter saddened me but the future after college was exciting. I graduated from Sterling College in 2008 and kept my job with Wild Branch Construction, LLC, where I worked as a carpenter for the next eighteen months until I found myself in graduate school. I graduated from New England College in 2010 with a Masters in Education. I, once again, joined John Smith working for Wild Branch while concurrently looking for a full-time teaching position. Being able to go back to my old job was amazing. John entrusted me with increasing responsibilities, which I loved. I enjoyed the time I spent working and learning to build and renovate houses. As I pursued a full-time teaching career I began working as a substitute teacher nearly full-time. It became to difficult to substitute teach and work for Wild Branch. I said goodbye to John and, with the skills I had honed under John Smith, started working for myself doing carpentry. A teacher by day and a carpenter by night. I continued to try to convince myself that carpentry wasn't necessarily going to be my career, although it was definitely a driving force in my life.
The year of 2012 was one of reflection and it was one of the best yet most trying experiences of my life. The fall of 2012 was promising: I was once again working as a substitute teacher and building my carpentry business when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. I immediately placed my professional goals on hold. One of the many side effects of chemotherapy is a suppressed immune system. My doctors told me that I was not allowed to work in school, nor should I work in other peoples' homes doing carpentry. I was given a gift of time and I spent my winter beating cancer. Prohibited from school and work, I was able to explore a life-long goal of learning to make furniture and cabinets in my shop. I spent the entire winter in my shop which opened my eyes to the many skills I had learned and the bright future I had ahead of me as a carpenter. At the start of chemotherapy, I fully intended to return to teaching when I was able. By the time spring rolled around, I felt that the stars were guiding me to carpentry. I finally stopped fighting what I knew in my heart I truly wanted. Transitioning to carpentry was the best decision of my life and I am truly lucky to have a career that I love. I am no longer a student or a teacher in the technical sense of the words, but I am constantly learning. I have come to the realization that I will be both a student and a teacher for the duration of my life. The skills I gained in college have integrated seamlessly into my business. Though it was a circuitous path, I would not change my destination. My business has been growing consistently since I fully invested all of my energy into it. I currently have over 15 years of carpentry and general construction experience.
My wife, daughter, son and I live in Jericho and I am looking forward to spending many happy years working in Vermont.