2023 Conference Session: TFG Community Builds

TFG Community Builds
Steve Lawrence, Bill Sturm, Chris Koehn, Jim DeSantis

A discussion of the development and execution of the TFG Community Building Projects Program. What are Community Building Projects and how do they happen? How is the Guild delivering on its mission through these projects? How can members and friends of the Guild develop a Community Building Project and bring it to life? This session will feature a lively discussion regarding this essential Guild program, with a focus on interesting recent projects. 

About the Speakers:
Jim DeSantis:
The Timber Framers Guild has been an essential part of my life since I joined in 1997. Since then I have counted on the Guild for inspiration, camaraderie, and education. I have volunteered and instructed on Guild projects, attended every Western conference and one Eastern since ’97, and kept up on best practices through our excellent publications. As both an educational organization and trade organization, we are unique in the way we interact; the spirit of cooperation rather than competition defines us. I currently serve as the Chair of the Community Building Projects Program Committee. 

Chris Koehn:
Over the years, Chris Koehn has had the great fortune to wear lots of different hats within the timber framing universe. He's worked with companies that transitioned from hand-cut to automated operations with the advent of the Hundegger. He's worked with start-ups that are hyper-local, done historic restoration, and worked for himself in partnership with his wife Ruth, a talented designer. In truth, Chris has done as much general contracting as he has hands-on timber framing, and that balance has always felt right to him. Of late he's formed a partnership with a local design/build carpentry firm, doing fun and challenging stuff for good folks, including lots of traditional and contemporary timber work.

The consistent theme throughout his career has been to identify how timber fits into the entire build program: what are the client’s goals; what is the budget; how does the team interface and harmonize with other elements of the build while being sensitive to the vernacular mores, local conditions, and materials that (should) drive the design and the build. 

Chris recently served as Project Manager for the St'at'imc Nations Arbour Community Building Project in Pemberton, British Columbia. 

Steve Lawrence:
I have been timber framing since 1990 with Carpenter Oak and Woodland Co. in the UK. Moving to Canada in 2005, I founded and operated Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Framing. I now work freelance as a part-time contractor, consultant, and project manager and am based on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I joined the Guild in the late 90s and have been a member ever since and a semi-regular Community Building Projects participant. I was a director of the Guild from 2015 to 2022, mostly as treasurer, and am now proud to be Community Building Projects Program Director and running the Community Building Program with the help of many others.

Bill Sturm:
Bill Sturm began his career as an architecture student at Georgia Institute of Technology. He spent a year in Paris studying design and architecture. After returning to the states and a subsequent 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail, he decided to get to work building cabinetry. Life led Bill to Bend, Oregon, in 1997, where he began to discover timber framing. After several years in the field, he created Oregon Timberworks.

Bill recently served as Project Manager for the Oso Memorial Park Community Building Project near Darrington, Washington.

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