Why? From Professional Engineer to Yoga Teacher?

Almost 35 years ago, after graduating with a Master of Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, I became licensed to practice Professional Engineering. Today, as my license comes up for renewal, I notified the state professional licensing board that I am essentially retired from engineering; I will officially go on “inactive” status this month.

Why? Why retire from a highly-respected profession in an era when technically-skilled and analytically-minded people are in demand? Why move away from a profession in which I found intellectual-stimulation and achieved business-success?

For those of you who know me, you will understand that this “letting go” of my engineering identity has been happening for over 20 years, ever since about the time that I sat on top of a mountain in the Cascades with a National Outdoor Leadership School group and was asked to tell the group, “who am I?”.

It was around the time when my business partners looked at me with disinterest when I spoke about sustainability that these wheels started rolling. Momentum picked up when I moved to our current community here in Manchester, VT, 15 years ago, and design professionals looked at me blankly when I inquired about sustainable design opportunities. Sure, I found some like-minded professionals to work with in Brattleboro and Burlington, but the thrust of my work was always dictated by the wishes and priorities of the client, the person paying the bill. And then, especially here in Southern Vermont, the perceived completed-project-value provided by a structural engineers seemed to be discounted.

I found myself designing energy-efficient timber framed homes (and quietly designing sustainable-features into the houses I worked on), which was satisfying and creatively-stimulating. But, year after year, the houses got bigger and bigger, and less and less in line with my sustainable design interests. My builder and timber-framer clients were great to work for, and they afforded me the flexibility in my life to pursue multiple interests and maintain family-priorities, but their clients were demanding bigger and bigger houses which started pushing the limits of my personal capabilities and interests.

I realized that in order to influence the sustainable design priorities of the home-building public, I would better spend my time being part of a community that helped bring more and more awareness to the impact of the day-to-day choices we make, whether in construction projects or in how we interact with one another and with nature, in order to sustain life here on Earth. I remembered that my initial interests in pursuing “civil” engineering were motivated by aspirations to help people and communities. I saw new meaning in the business name that I had chosen when I started designing homes in Vermont 22 years ago, Gaia Structures. Gaia, Mother Earth, a concept that all living organisms on Earth are inter-related and will naturally affect the nature of their environment in order to make the environment more suitable for life.

And by cosmic design, I was introduced to yoga – a way of living wherein we “yolk” what we might previously have seen as separate (our bodies, our minds, our physical existence, our higher purpose in life) into daily practices of holistically living in the moment with full awareness, celebrating the joy of community and mutual-support… and making our environments more suitable, more fulfilling, for all of our lives.

So, teaching yoga for me is more than introducing asana practices, alignment, and individual-body modifications and healthy-living regimens. It’s about raising awareness, increasing ability to see truths more clearly, so that individually-motivated choices from a perspective of separateness turn into community-motivated choices from a perspective of interdependence and togetherness. It’s about inspiring choices that aren’t so much about building monuments to reward personal achievements often made at the expense of others, but more about building thriving communities which reward our abilities to make our lifestyles more sustaining and suitable for all of us.

From my perspective, yoga is entirely about living sustainably. Yoga is totally about Gaia, living in harmony with Mother Earth.

What I continually remind myself, as a yoga practitioner and as a teacher, is that positive change happens one relationship at a time, one moment at a time. If I re-member that all of life is indeed inter-connected, I will always know that each single thought, action, and word that comes from me, influences the world. And with practice, I might also be able to see more and more clearly how my day-to-day choices are indeed influenced by the world. But it is my responsibility to make wise choices. Yoga helps me see this higher perspective. Yoga helps me live with more awareness, more connectedness… and make wise choices.

Teaching yoga feels like the right way for me to influence the world, one class at a time, one person at a time… with a deep, heartfelt sense of humility towards the auspiciousness of the Universe and the Earth we inhabit. To me, this work is intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually stimulating! For me, success is not so much about day-to-day accumulation of assets; it’s more about making day-to-day heartfelt connections with people and with nature, and maintaining a big-picture perspective of helping to make our communities more suitable for all of us.

The problem-solving engineer in me has not died. It has only moved towards the source of the problems we all face, and away from fears associated with feelings of personal separateness and attachment to personally-motivated goals for the future. It takes courage. It takes faith. It takes humility. And it takes work.

Yoga is now my vision and my practice. For me, so far, it has taken 22 years of practice to have the courage to finally let go of one perceived  identity and to trust another. Of course, I am realizing that it was never really about my self-perceived identity; it was (and will be) always about realizing who I really am!

Who am I? That’s really the question…

Photo Credit: Ali Kaukas




Connect, Cooperate and Collaborate

I believe it is our natural, indigenous tendency to get along with each other: to connect, to cooperate, and to collaborate. It is at least the way I work best. From my perspective, we are responsible for ourselves and for each other.

It seems that we live in a world of specialization, separation, competition, comparison, and blaming others for things that occur in our lives. Things happen. But we are all in this together, aren’t we?

Who-we-are, in my opinion, is NOT the story of what-happens-to-us. Who-we-are relates to how we practice living in our daily lives, how we do what we do. Are we practicing living our daily lives in a manner consistent with our life’s purpose? Are we paying attention to our intentions, individually and collectively? And, are we missing out on real opportunities for expressing our higher selves and living full lives by separating ourselves and not connecting with others?

It is with these thoughts and feelings that I will try to better focus the work I do, again. I have believed for a long time that my work should be a true expression of who I am. In an economy based on competition and comparison, it seems natural that most workplaces promote attitudes of competition and comparison, specialization and separation, sometimes requiring daily work defined by the needs of others or an employer. It is so easy to be caught up in the race…

One of my skill-sets is problem-solving in the professions of building systems, structural and architectural engineering. I have found challenging and engaging work in these fields. I have accomplished much for which I am very proud. But, it is difficult to express myself fully in this field of work alone, to approach my work in my natural wholehearted manner, when I am defined by someone else’s definition of my scope of work and my job responsibilities. I don’t want the business needs of someone else (an employer, for instance) to define who I am.

It’s time to take charge of my work and my career, again, and to find like-minded, inspired individuals and organizations with whom to connect, cooperate, and collaborate. I am confident that I can find ways to better practice living and working in a manner more consistent with these intentions here in this southern Vermont community.

I am so very fortunate to have a few people in my life who see the bigger me, the real me, and who have consistently believed in me and my work. Thank you Rob and Besty Wadsworth of Vermont Barns and The Wadsworth Company, Jo Kirsch and Andrea Ross of Heart of the Village Yoga Studio, Linda Walsh and Larry Geller of Ability Plus, Eva Belanger of Warriors Live On, and Paul Jensen of Albany Therapeutic Massage and Sports Performance Center. Thank you also to my yoga teachers, especially Beryl Bender Birch, Biff Mithoefer, and Eoin Finn… and Jo Kirsch… and also every skier and snowboarder with whom I’ve ever shared the slopes… for helping me see my light. Thanks also to my parents, Alex and Natalie, Jo (again), and my warrior brothers and sisters, for accepting me and standing with me… even when I walk astray. And thank you even to my engineering peers, who have continually given me the chance to perform valuable and important community-building work, albeit somewhat specialized, even when I randomly walk in and out of their business world!

So, I am announcing that I am re-re-retiring from my work as an employed professional engineer! I will continue to do some project development and design work as a self-employed consultant, working on projects and collaborating with organizations doing timber-framed and sustainable home design/build work, but I will also focus more and more on working with non-profits and educational organizations as a coach, a teacher, a visionary, and a team leader and facilitator, too… connecting, cooperating, and collaborating.

Here we go again. One life to live…. celebrate impermanence!


Consulting vs Coaching

Years ago when I was in high school considering college options and thinking about career choices, I knew I wanted to do work that benefited people and the planet. I was good at math, science and art. I was more attracted to being outside than spending time indoors. And, I seemed to enjoy figuring things out on my own. My dad was an engineer. My neighbor told me about civil engineering (engineers solving people’s civilization problems). So for me, it was a decision between architecture and engineering. Within 4 years of graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in engineering (civil/structural), I was a professional engineer working with architects on building design projects. Within a few years, I was an associate and by the time I was 30 years old, a principal (part owner) in a top-ranked structural engineering firm in New York State. I was on a fast-track for sure.

My work gravitated to project management, client relations, and more and more, human resources and staff leadership. I enjoyed being a mentor. I enjoyed exploring personality styles to consider ways to improve office communications. I enjoyed building a sense of team and improving the quality of our services by taking advantage of multiple talents and areas of expertise.

All during these years, from the time I was a sophomore in high school, I taught skiing on weekends. I became full-certified as an instructor while still in college. My spirit has always soared outside, in nature, in the mountains, in the trees… skiing, riding, hiking, biking, camping…

After more than a dozen very successful years doing engineering work, I decided to take a year away. I felt the desire to take a time-out. I had never really taken an extended vacation before. Things in my personal life were in a bit of an upheaval as I went through a divorce, and I just knew inside that there was something more that I was destined to do.

During these years of renewed career decision-making, I rode my bicycle around the south island of New Zealand; I competed in triathlons and bicycle endurance events; I took a month-long NOLS course in the Washington Cascade Mountains; I led mountain bike tours. I was offered full-time employment in a ski school as a manager. I met Jo and Alex and Natalie. I moved to Vermont.

Since that time, my life has been in a continuous state of change and exploration, exploring consulting engineering work and outdoor education work, being a step-father, and learning more and more about myself as I was thrust back towards my original childhood vision… helping people.

My consulting work in Vermont is a little bit more hands-on and directed more towards earth-friendly pursuits- timber framing, sustainable design, community revitalization projects, home design. In Southern Vermont, however, people don’t often value the services of structural / architectural engineers; the people of Vermont are little bit more hands-on and self-empowered to do their own design and construction work.

My coaching work seemed to build more and more upon my strengths-based perspective learned first during my engineering work, later magnified when leading a snow sports program founded on strengths-based principles, then ultimately coming to fruition while coaching adaptive sports later on.

I’ve learned also that if we want to ultimately live in a more sustainable and earth-friendly way as a society, it is going to start with an aware and motivated society. It seems to me that I may be of more value to society (and the earth) helping coach people to be more aware and motivated to take care of themselves (which in turn necessitates taking care of others and the world they live in) than waiting for the aware and motivated client to look my way for sustainable design services.

So, more and more, I try to limit the consulting time I spend on design projects that are not complimenting my idea of a healthier society, and more and more time coaching people towards a healthier state-of-being. For me, it’s similar work in that I try to “connect the dots” (figure out solutions to client goals), whether for people-coaching-type work or for building-consulting-type work. For me, it’s also interesting to reflect back on the choices I made, and the paths I followed, and how they all tend to fit together. Original childhood dreams and talents… discovered strengths and abilities learned through many career paths and personal explorations… tough times and more joyful times… logical choices and intuitive choices… all have unfolded in mysterious and magical ways. There has been something learned, something valuable, from each step of my life.

The NOLS educational experience was a game-changer for me; people having heartfelt, team-building experiences in nature, then going back to their own real worlds inspired to make positive nature-sensitive and people-helping-people changes in their local communities. It seemed like a good model to me! I feel like since that time, I’ve been pulled towards creating similar-type educational experiences for people.

Maybe my consulting will be more and more about coaching. Hmmm.

Time for another time-out? After all, the learning is in the reflecting…

Reflecting upon Blissology YTT Van City 2014

Bobopelli in VC City 2014

I arrived home last night at 2:30 am after attending a 100-hr teacher immersion with Eoin Finn and Blissology in Vancouver, BC. I wrote down the following reflections on the first leg of my trip home.

The group of 20-some participants discussed their personal missions in life. Mine has ebbed and flowed around certain themes over the years as I uncover more and more of my authentic nature, but I wanted to expand upon my “ribbon-sized” shared statement. It is enhanced by the interactions I’ve shared with each of my YTT partners; I thank each of them from the deepest part of my heart. 

My expanded “Life Mission” statement:

To Live, Love, Learn, and Lead… For the ultimate benefit of Earth and our Oneness Nature, but beginning with the experiences and interactions I have each day along each step of my journey.

My definitions:

Live- to experience the richness of a full life, each day as a soaring spirit and as a grounded soul;
Love- to nurture life; to demonstrate care and attention towards all things on Earth, beginning with myself and radiating unselfishly both outwards and inwards,
Learn- explore with a sense of wonder and joy the interconnectedness of all things and of all my experiences;
Lead- With a sense of humbleness and awe, plant seeds of Illumination and walk a path inspiring Dignity and Divinity.

Earth- our planet viewed as a single organism; Gaia.

Illumination- to raise consciousness; to help others see their light and to thrive.
Dignity- an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.
Divinity- Our collective consciousness, raised through deep feelings of presence, connectivity, peace and Love.

Oneness Nature- Each of us is but one piece of a magical natural puzzle called the Universe. However, each of us is also a powerful piece of the puzzle, for the puzzle is not complete without us. In community, together both as One individual organism, and with each other as One collective organism, we Live.

One Living Universe- the unexplained mystery which connects us all, the flowing structure within the chaos, the changing puzzle, the wonder which always has and always will inspire us towards a more magical state of bliss and joy…. often called Enlightenment or Heaven… It is found both within us and outside of us, in the present moment, with each soothing breathe, with each mindful step we take.

Some other reflections:

Everything happens as it’s supposed to, following natural flows and attractions of energy within us and all around us. Ever since the days of my youth when I would lay below the stars in open fields and feel connected in a multi-dimensional way, I believe I have known this deep within. Reflecting in a mindful way on past experiences, I see the many connections and teachings along the way. Here are some reflections and intentions written on my plane ride last night:

A dozen years ago, I started a consulting business called Gaia Structures, LLC, intended to help people design earth-friendly, timber framed homes. I studied sustainable design at a post-graduate level; I’ve designed many healthy and energy-efficient homes. After this immersion, I am reminded that I know that my mission extends well beyond the mental processes of my current work… this immersion has helped validate my natural strengths in other more humanistic, holistic, and yogic ways.  I will set my intention to transform my company to a consulting organization which better supports my life mission to include work as a Life Coach, Consultant, and Group Facilitator or Leader, based on principles of yoga, sustainability (Gaia), experiential education, and integrated health. I will combine healthy living leadership work with my healthy home consulting work; I will continue my current educational interests in nutrition, strength and conditioning, and integrated wellness, and expand my study of yoga. I will start teaching and facilitating wellness events at Heart of the Village Yoga Studio (as the Owner allows). Maybe even one day, I’ll also be an affiliated Blissology teacher or workshop facilitator!

For the first two dozen years of my professional career, I pursued work geared towards my life mission, but from more of a place of career building, family support, and personal attributes of responsibility and integrity. I successfully performed work which was very fulfilling, in leadership roles, yet usually intellectually-based. I am after-all a problem-solver or solutions-finder, relating present challenge to future vision, finding clarity or structure in the multitude options or variables. (See previous post on Structural Engineering written one month ago.) In Eoin, I saw a mind that finds solutions in a similar way, from a yogic perspective and with an innate inquisitiveness.

Marrying Jo, Alex and Natalie more than 17 years ago exposed me to a world of emotions that has helped my spirit soar in ways previously not experienced. We’ve soared together, high and low, through lightness and darkness. We’ve experienced life to its fullest; we’ve experienced life as it fades away. Recently, for a period of 3 years, Jo and I were blessed to have the opportunity to serve others as a result of what we learned from our darkest days with our work at the Adaptive Sports Foundation and with the Wounded Warrior Project. Through it all, I have come to know me better. After this immersion, I have a greater sense of the valuable insights I personally already have regarding helping others heal and find happiness in their lives. For us, healing and finding happiness through yoga is real.

My father passed away one year ago; he was a hard-working man of high integrity, dedicated family values, and community service; he was mourned by a community that had previously recognized him in the naming of a new school library and media center. I slept by his side on his last night, held his hand as the morning sun rose, and watched as his spirit left his body alongside my siblings and his wife of almost 65 years, my mother. I had helped care for him in his last years. I have come away from this event feeling like it is time for me to expand my wings, using both the strength of his spirit and the freedom from his earthly care.

Natalie graduated from college last year; both kids are happily employed in Boston. Jo has successfully started a new yoga studio, Heart of the Village Yoga Studio, and has found a new sense of peace and connection with the community and with our one-year old dog, Emma. She already shared with you how she felt the power of these relationships and their personal value while being away from them on our trip to Vancouver. During the immersion, I suspect she also validated the power of her previous experiences and her yoga teaching expertise. I think we both have come home with a new sense of clarity, confidence, and connection with our Manchester home community and being out in nature. I feel like I can now give myself permission to expand my wings and ” let go of the reigns” somewhat at this point in our lives.

On our trip, I had time to practice, observe, feel, and participate away from the intellectually-based world of structural engineering. Like Jo, I was also reminded of the power of my previous life experiences and teaching insights. I found a yoga mentor in Eoin whose teachings resonated with me and my inner wisdom… I have always found my spirituality in nature, in the mountains, helping others fly and find happiness. I was inspired by what I learned from Eoin about the physical body, it’s alignment, and the relationships between my understanding of yoga asana and current strength and conditioning methodologies. I see consistency in the balancing of stability and mobility approach in the Blissology concepts, whereas before I saw yoga placing too much emphasis on just mobility. I come away wanting to practice and learn more; I am no longer frustrated by the limitations of my own physical body.

I am my father’s son; I care for my mother; I am my wife’s partner and my kids’ step-father; I am the mentor of some and have inspired some more. I have done my best, and that is good enough. I am now giving myself permission to let my wings expand in ways that may be risky and more variable, emotionally and economically, but in ways that may help me soar higher and better fulfill my life mission… A mission that I believe has been within me forever.

To Eoin, Dylan, Steph, Alissa, Insiya, and my fellow YTT partners- THANK YOU! These reflections come to me as a result of our personal and group interactions. I ask for your continued loving support; I will feel it across the Universe, wherever we are. I will carry your influences forever; our individual pieces of our infinite puzzle have come together and will be forever linked. I am very grateful for that. Remember, if 1 + 1 = 3, than our Universe is expanding!!! Thank you! I love each of you. Be Inspired. Be well. Now life goes on…


My tattoo of Kokopelli is intended to remind me of my intention to plant and nurture seeds of life and joy in whatever village I visit… The wings remind me to keep a heavenly perspective. I got the tattoo with the first wounded warrior I met 5 years ago. He got one on his chest that said, “Let Love Live”…. I pray each day that it does… That he does… And that I do.

To steal the words of a great philosopher friend of mine named Zach: Love + Peace!

Structural Engineering

“Structural Engineering is the Art of molding materials we do not wholly understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot really assess, in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.”

The origin of the quote is not known, though it is often attributed to Dr. A.R. Dykes (1976… the year I graduated from high school) and thought to have been popularized in the U.S. by James E. Amrhein.

Structural engineering is one of the things I am trained to do, and one of the things I do in my professional life. Many people ask me what I do in my work… imagining that it is a profession involving many hours analyzing mathematical output and staring at computer-generated structural models.

Engen CT

I must say, there are many paths to follow in a structural engineering career, and some of them do indeed involve many hours analyzing computer-generated mathematical models. Many years ago, I chose a different career path… or you might say, many different career paths!

Looking back, I believe I understand a few things more about myself and the world I live in as a result of these multiple career pursuits and experiences. I have a different perspective on what I do as a structural (and architectural) engineer. I like that the definition above starts with “… the Art…”.

Engineering is problem-solving. Civil (structural) engineering is solving people’s problems for the benefit and safety of the general public. For me, it’s connecting the dots: take the information I know (or what is available), look at the goals (or what is possible), and use my judgment to create solutions. Judgement includes knowledge, intuition, integrity, foresight, confidence, and the ability to draw upon many sources of information. Creating solutions includes creativity, artistic mindset, logical thinking, decision making, and the ability to work with others to communicate solutions in a manner that are clear and synergistic. Basically, I see structure and clarity within the multitudes of information and options… and try to form an educated opinion or recommend a possible solution accordingly.

Personally, I succeed when I am in a position to understand my clients, help them determine their goals, and work with them to create clear, understandable, achievable, and sustainable processes (or solutions) to satisfy their goals. I thrive when these goals relate to a vision for a better world and when I am engaged in the creative solution-finding process. (Sounds a lot like my other work in coaching, training, outdoor education and adventure, and therapeutic yoga and wellness mentoring.)

In my work as a structural engineer in Vermont, a typical week includes: working with builders and architects to figure out ways to re-frame or reinforce old building structures for new uses (then performing calculations or doing research, recommending- and then drawing- solutions); reviewing construction work in progress to analyze challenges and determine economical, durable, and safe solutions; working with architects and designers to recommend efficient building systems (structurally, sustainability, economically, aesthetically, functionally, adaptability, etc.); working with timber framers and owners to design people’s homes and to integrate framing; working with in-house architects on downtown and community revitalization projects; performing and writing structural assessments; designing new structures for new buildings; and coordinating payment for my services.

Most of my time is building working relationships with people. Most of my work requires a keen sense of responsibility and deep knowledge of mathematics, materials behavior and engineering mechanics. Most of my success depends on timely, reliable, and innovative solutions that make sense. Most of my reputation depends on my integrity and my ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and with a sense of respect for everyone (and everything) involved. Most of my motivation is driven by a desire for a healthier planet.

My experiences teaching snow sports have broadened my interpersonal communication skills. My experiences leading backcountry trips have broadened my teamwork skills. My experiences competing in endurance races have broadened my abilities to persevere. My adventure experiences (bicycle touring, tandem hang-gliding and para-sailing, mountaineering and canyoneering, skiing and snowboarding, snorkeling and scuba-diving, third-world travel) have broadened my perspective. My experiences facilitating therapeutic recreational workshops have broadened my abilities to understand people of various abilities and backgrounds. My experiences as a business manager and program director have broadened my sense of self and leadership. My experiences as a yoga teacher and wellness coach have helped me understand holistic health and the importance of positiveness, supportive human relationships, and community. My experiences participating in research work and continuing education workshops have broadened my desire to learn more. My experiences working with combat veterans have broadened my understanding of trust, brotherhood, common good, and dedicated service. My experiences in nature have broadened my sense of awe, spirituality, and my connection between whatever choices I make each day, professional and personal, and the health of our planet.

With Jo near Escalante

I am defined by who I am, and how I do what I do… and the decisions I make. And how I persevere through the challenges of living. And how I help and support others. As an engineer. As a coach. As a mentor. As a person engaged in whatever career role I’ve chosen .

Structural Engineering is the Art… of molding materials we do not wholly understand… into shapes we cannot precisely analyze…

By the way, I first read the quote above in the early 1990’s, when a young engineer who I had been mentoring gave me- as a gift- a photo he had taken of the Manhattan skyline taken from the Brooklyn Bridge. It had the quote inscribed on the photo. At the center of the photo were the World Trade Center’s (and structural engineer Leslie Robertson’s) Twin Towers.

…so as to withstand forces we cannot really assess….

It seems that my life is inspired by understanding these forces... by weaving lifetime experiences together… by working with people to find synergistic solutions… by being inquisitive, creative and idealistic… and by being positively inspiring… for a healthier and more sustainable world.

…in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.

Long ago, I let go of the idea that there is one right answer. Computer models are only tools for engineers working on projects for real people. There are many answers. Life is hard. We only know what we have learned (and what we KNOW already). And life goes on. With each answer comes a new question. For me, living a full life (as a structural engineer or as a wellness coach or as a spiritual leader) is about asking questions… and learning from as many experiences as possible!

The Next Chapter

Because I have devoted my last 4 or so years to full-time work in outdoor education and adaptive sports, it may come as a surprise to some of you that most of my professional career has also been devoted to structural and architectural engineering. The window of social media in my life has exposed my health and wellness-orientated work over the last few years; indeed, my social network is largely based on this recent work. There was no social media for me a half-dozen years ago!

But yes, I do have a creative mind; I have a thirst to help people find solutions…

So, yes, I’m back at it. Designing structures for buildings, especially timber-framed structures… finding solutions for structural deficiencies in existing buildings… working to revitalize community infrastructure, sustainability and resiliency.

2008-10-19 11-29-04_0088_resize

More than a dozen years ago, when looking to get into sustainable and green building design, I was introduced to Stevens & Associates in Brattleboro. Their office at the time was right below the offices of Environmental Building News, leaders in the green building movement . I actually did some work with Stevens then, but chose to move along when we were faced with moving due to the local school situation for our kids. That work, however, actually inspired my graduate-level sustainable design work later at Boston Architectural College.

When I decided last month that it was time for me to get back on my personal path, I called upon Bob Stevens. He offered me work! They now have engineers, planners and architects on staff, so it is a perfect fit for my architectural and engineering interests. They even do planning work for ski resorts! They are very busy right now re-designing and restoring the important Brattleboro historical landmark, the Brooks House… a former multi-story masonry hotel recently damaged due to fire… so I’ve been busy designing structural reinforcements.

And another recent client, timber-framer and home-builder Rob Wadsworth of Vermont Barns, also had work for me.

Red Tail

So, full-speed ahead! I started working for Stevens & Associates a couple weeks ago, working a few days per week in Brattleboro and a couple days from my home office in Manchester. My work at Stevens will allow me to do my design work, pursue my timber-frame and sustainable design interests, accommodate many of my previous clients, and be engaged in meaningful work here in local Vermont communities again!

And for the first time in 40 years, I will not be working every weekend at a ski resort. Hmmm. A little weird, but change is change… and I know I’ll find a role again somewhere in outdoor education and leadership, health and wellness, and adaptive sports… only now perhaps on a part-time or volunteer basis. We’ll see. The next door will open when the time is right.

Antique Heart Pine Frame

The next chapter begins… getting my feet back below me… and trekking forward! I’m so grateful to have this new opportunity. I’m also thankful as well for all of my past experiences, recent and not-so-recent, that have led me to this place.

Living and learning… appreciating the present, looking ahead.

Rebak 3