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I always make sure my clients realize that I am not an architect -- that I didn't go to school to learn how to do what I'm doing. I did go to college for four years and became a geologist. During the late 60s and early 70s, while I was going to college (geology major, chemistry minor) and after I finished, I was involved in the exploration for copper and nickel, working with two different companies in northern Minnesota, mainly in the Ely area. That kind of work goes through boom and bust cycles, and when the economic bottom dropped out from under us, I made the conscious decision that I wanted to stay in this area and do whatever work I could to be able to stay here. After several short term jobs -- including a little geology consulting, working for an outfitter (for canoe camping and fishing), cutting pulp wood (for paper), and working in a sawmill -- I was hired by a neighbor who had recently started a construction business.
I had started out pounding on rocks but, after a transition period, I found myself pounding nails and, through on the job training, I became a carpenter -- a career which I stuck with for a total of about 13 years. For most of that time I worked for the same contractor, Bob Tholen of Tholen Construction - who is now retired. I also worked a little with a couple of other local contractors, and I was also a union carpenter for a while, during which time I helped build a nursing home, and also a theater and interpretive center addition to our local community college. Later on, I was mainly working on my own, doing small carpentry jobs. It was during this time that a new opportunity presented itself. In 1982 some friends asked me if I would help them design their new super-insulated home and produce the construction drawings for it. I said "Sure, I can do that" and I did.
It wasn't long before someone else heard that I had done their design and plans, and then someone else, and then .... a new career was born - by popular demand. Soon, Barry Bissonette, a local log home builder (now retired), started coming to me with virtually all of his projects. I was given an old drafting machine which I refurbished and used for a short while until, in 1987, I bought my first computer (a Mac Plus) and CAD program (MiniCad 3). I taught myself how to use both the computer and the CAD program and I've been doing all my design and drafting work digitally ever since. If you're interested, you're welcome to read more about CAD and computers on another page.
For many years, my work was split roughly half and half between projects which were standard frame construction and those which were hand scribed log construction, mostly for new homes and cabins, but also for some remodeling and additions. Along the way, though, I have also had opportunities to work on some other interesting projects. And in more recent years, log home building has fallen off considerably, so now I work mainly on standard stick-built homes although some of them incorporate log work in various ways - mostly as beams and posts.
At the point of this writing, I have been doing architectural work for 28 years and I have never had to advertise for work -- all of my jobs have come to me through word of mouth. Sometimes the clients come directly to me, other times the clients choose a contractor and the contractor brings them to me. It works either way, and either way it keeps me working. Is this web site advertising? Well, yes and no. I say "No" because I have never gotten a job because of it being here for people to read.
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