Whatever good things we build end up building us.
—Jim Rohn


Ethan Beck

Ethan was born and raised in Vermont. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1996 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geology. After school he spent his time building homes in Nantucket, Mass. during the summer and coaching ski racing in Colorado during the winter. In 2002 he moved to Portland, OR., and began working as a project manager for a local builder. In 2007 he founded Ethan Beck Homes LLC in order to pursue his interest in sustainable and green building practices.

James Thompson

Plumbing, 24 years experience,

  • Specialty or trade: Ace Plumbing
  • Years of Experience: 24
  • How did you decide you wanted to do this? It really kind of fell in my lap. I had an ex-employer whom I had done some temporary labor work for come to my door and tell me he loved the way I worked and if I would come back to work for him he would get me into the plumbing apprentice program. I said yes and that is how it started.
  • What is the most challenging problem/case you’ve ever worked on? I don’t believe there are any problems only solutions.
  • Within your field, what is the most enjoyable work that you do. What brightens your day?Seeing both my step-sons following in my footsteps.
  • What do you like to do for fun? Golf, wakeboarding,(when weather is warm),watching pro football and basketball,spending time with my grandkids.
  • If you could be any animal what would you be and why? Velveteen rabbit because I love the feeling of being really loved.
  • Are you native to Portland?If not, what brought you here? Originally from Springfeild, MO, a good friend of mine had the great idea to move to Denver while at a party. So away we went with $20, a full taknk of gas, and a case of beer. The next 2 years I spent exploring the Wild West, working construction, and finally settled in Portland.
  • Tell me about your family? I have a beautiful wife of 20 years, five kids ages 32 to 20. 3 grandkids, all of whom still live in the area. We feel really blessed that we can see our kids and grandkids whenever we want.


Mark Landafazzo

Framing Contractor, 30+ years experience,

  • Specialty or trade: Framing contractor, Landmar Construction
  • Years of Experience: 30 + years
  • How did you decide you wanted to do this?, My grandfather started this family business, and I continued it.
  • What is the most challenging case you’ve ever worked on?: All jobs have different challenges and knowing how to work through them just comes with experience.
  • Within your field, what is the most enjoyable work that you do. What brightens your day? Rafter cutting, building stairs, and stepping back for a minute to see the work I have done.
  • What do you like to do for fun? go to cozumell and scuba dive
  • If you could be any animal what would you be and why? A bald eagle, so I can fly to new heights.
  • Are you native to Portland? If not, what brought you here? I moved here from Southern California to enjoy a better lifestyle
  • Tell me about your family? I’ve been married to my wife Kelle for 27 years with two boys Marcus and Garrett ages 17 and 14.
Matt Burri

Concrete & Foundation Construction, 35+ years experience, Burri & Sons Construction Inc.,

  • Specialty: concrete construction (foundations)
  • Years of experience: 35+ years
  • How did you decide you wanted to do this? We are a family business (3 generations of tradesmen).
  • balancing work hours and family time. Ongoing juggling act
  • working with nice organized builders who are good at what they do
  • hunting, fishing, spending time with family
  • If you could be any animal what would you be & why? An elk – majestic, powerful, and free.
  • From where do you hail? I’m a Portland native.
  • Tell us about your family? We have a great, close-knit family. Family comes first for us.
Ben Baurer

Master Electrician, “BFP Electric, LLC”

  • Years of experience13+
  • I was interested in working with my hands and got my degree in building trades. In high school I worked at a machine shop using laths, mills and cnc machines, but didn’t like the smell of metal. In college I was able to get a taste of all the construction trades and I really liked the challenges that electrical work provided.
  • As an electrician you run into many challenging projects. Most projects go smoothly if you do the proper preparation by turning over every rock before you just jump into a project.
  • What I enjoy most about being an electrician is when a job is all done and either the costumer or inspector raves about the work that was done.
  • For fun I love going rafting in the early spring and summer. There’s nothing like going through a class 4 or 5 rapid with five other people in a raft, all relying on each other to make it through.
  • I would love to be a racing horse. I’m a very competitive and hard working person and there’s nothing I would love better than to be a top ranked horse running against other great horses. I would be one of those horses that stared down other horses and tried to intimidate them with bucking, kicking, and snarling.
  • I was raised in a small town 45 minutes from Portland called Colton. I think the first time I went into Portland was as a senior in high school for prom. Now it seem I’m in Portland everyday working as an electrician. I would rather stay away from Portland but all my work and the Blazers are in Portland.
  • I have a lovely wife and three beautiful kids. They all take after my wife Karen. All three are very smart the oldest Kaitlyn, 13, will most likely be Valedictorian. Dominic, 10, loves building legos, models, and skeletons of dinosaurs. Crista, 7, loves playing with barbies and getting homework to do.
Peter Brown

Green building & verification (Earth Advantage), Residential program manager at Earth Advantage Institute,

  • Years of Experience: 25+
  • How did you decide you wanted to do this? (Is there an interesting story behind it?) I was a custom home builder my entire career until I concluded, about three years ago, that I wanted to shift the focus of my life’s work to helping builders produce truly high performance homes that had a very small environmental footprint.
  • What is the most challenging problem/case you’ve ever worked on? How did you solve it? Working to get a 14 acre parcel of land through the last steps of the complex entitlement process in the Washington, DC suburbs (which can take an average of 7 years), while finalizing the brand new home designs for the community with our architects, and coordinating the construction budget with the land development costs our LD department was giving me, all as the market for new homes was beginning its historic decline in the spring of 2006, presented an economic challenge of epic proportions. We solved it by value engineering every aspect of LD that was not mandated by approvals, redesigning the homes at the last minute (but after the first model was built) to take out every possible exterior corner, reducing the square footage and standard amenities, and thereby significantly lowering the sales price of the homes.
  • Within your field, what is the most enjoyable work that you do. What brightens your day? The most fun I have is seeing the A-Ha moment when one subcontractor begins instructing another subcontractor on the finer points of building high performance homes in our introductory meetings to describe program requirements for building a green home.
  • What do you like to do for fun? (I love details) A good release for me is a hard cardio workout. But what I find more rewarding is playing fetch with my dogs so they get the benefit of a hard workout. This also results is several hours of rather predictable peace and quiet in my home.
  • If you could be any animal what would you be and why? 🙂 I would be a dog living in Peter Brown’s house. Talk about perpetually spoiled!
  • Are you native to Portland? If not, what brought you here? Where are you from originally? I moved here almost two years ago specifically to take this position with Earth Advantage. I’ve spent most of my life in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. I was born in St. Louis and split my childhood between there and Milan.
  • Tell me about your family. Two brothers, a sister, three nephews, three nieces, and parent’s who are still active and in good health in their 80’s.

I considered that the homes that people live in exactly describe their lives.—Douglas Sirk