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Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 0 comments

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

  Colorado needs a renewed vision of the craftsman. Lately, everybody is talking about workforce development. This week the Biennial of the Americas featured a discussion on the topic. Careerwise Colorado continues to make headlines placing youth in apprenticeships across the state. The Denver City Council’s economic and workforce development group is hosting a series of roundtables to address the woeful shortage of construction labor. And for good reason. The Association of General Contractors of America says that 85 percent of Colorado companies are having a hard time filling craft positions, like carpenters, concrete workers, and electricians. Though good paying jobs are in ample supply, technical and “middle skill” labor is sorely needed. To meet this need, noble efforts like Build Colorado emphasize career paths and high pay to try and fill the thousands of pipefitter, mason, and management jobs. But there is a critical gap in the trades pipeline: our k-12 educational system. Greg Schmidt, CEO at Saunders Construction, says, “Though we have carpenters making over $40,000/year and superintendents making $75,000-$100,000/year,...

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Architecture and Design, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor | 0 comments

Buildings Shape Your Soul

Buildings Shape Your Soul

  That may be hard to believe, but I think Stratford Caldecott, in his excellent book Beauty for Truth’s Sake, has convincingly made the case that architecture is under girded by distinct understandings of the world. And in the modern world, due primarily to materialism and utilitarianism, beauty has been mostly lost in our buildings. And with this loss in beauty, “ugliness” has warped aspects of the human soul. Again, that may seem extreme, but Caldecott is worth hearing on a few points. The first relationship that he explores is the vertical and the horizontal in architecture: “One way of describing what happened to architecture is that the vertical dimension was devalued, or else that the link between the vertical and the horizontal had disintegrated…. These two dimensions are integrated in the human body, which, as the medievals rightly perceived forms a “microcosm,” a compact representation and sampler of the cosmos as a whole. We stand upright, and this very posture hints at our potential role as a mediator...

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Architecture and Design, business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Economy, Work | 2 comments

Affordable Housing: What You Need to Know About the Most Critical Issue Facing Colorado Today

Affordable Housing: What You Need to Know About the Most Critical Issue Facing Colorado Today

  Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine you and your new spouse have been outbid on four straight houses in two months. Instead of buying your first home in Denver, you finally decide to work remotely, move back to the Midwest to be closer to family, and leave Colorado. Now imagine you’re a business owner at lunch with a real estate developer who is fighting off three simultaneous lawsuits from trial lawyers representing a homeowner’s association. He tells you, “I’ll never build condos again. Never.” Finally, imagine you work construction and rent an apartment near Five Points. In the past eight years, your rent has increased from $900 per month to $1600. Exasperated by rising costs – and stagnant wages – you move to Frederick, 40 minutes from friends, family, and your job site. Dejected you grab a beer with a friend after work. Your friend tells you that back in 2006, his grandma gave him $5,000 for down payment on a $175,000 condo. Today, that condo is...

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Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 0 comments

Let There Be Light: How Karla Nugent Is Transforming the Trades

Let There Be Light: How Karla Nugent Is Transforming the Trades

“Come, let me show you around.” As we rise from the conference table, Karla Nugent—cofounder of Weifield Group Contracting, a commercial electrical company in Denver—leads me into the pre-fabrication shop. Coils, wires, and electrical boxes are being assembled for installation. The only woman in the room of more than a dozen men, Nugent introduces me to employee Justin Hales. “Electrical work is art,” Hales, an electrician’s apprentice, tells me. “Two years ago, they put me on the platform at Union Station. I would lay out the floors, locate everything, like a switch or outlet on the wall. “When you turn your pipes, make them uniform—that’s art.” He pauses. “It probably goes unnoticed to the average person, but we see it. We take pride in our work.” Nugent co-founded Weifield in 2002 alongside three business partners. Since then, the company has grown to 250 employees and has emerged at the forefront of electrical construction. For example, Weifield was behind the Net Zero, a LEED-Platinum research facility at the National Renewable...

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Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 4 comments

Want an Affordable Home? Thank a Craftsman

Want an Affordable Home? Thank a Craftsman

  What is causing soaring home prices in Denver right now? This is the question on many would-be buyers’ minds. In June, the average home price in Denver was $366,419 — the highest in Colorado state history. The Denver City Council has spent significant time trying to find solutions to the shortage of affordable housing. (Recently, The Denver Post reported that Mayor Michael Hancock wants to raise $15 million a year to subsidize projects as part of a much larger plan.) But how did we get here? My wife and I asked our real estate agent, Trish Hopkins of RE/MAX, the same question. As we sat down to coffee, expressing our woeful prospects of ever finding a house we could afford, Hopkins said at least one problem is obvious. Inventory. She told us the average number of houses on the market for the Denver area is around 12,000 at any given time. Right now, it’s less than 3,500. With Colorado’s population boom, it just comes down to math. So...

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Art, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Culture, Economy, Education, Finance, Media, Nonprofit, Politics, Science, Technology, Theology, Work, World | 0 comments

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Announcement: Launch of the 5280 Fellowship

Today is a big day. Today my colleagues and I at Denver Institute for Faith & Work, in partnership with Gordon College, announce the launch of the 5280 Fellowship, a 9 month experience for emerging leaders beginning in the fall of 2016. After years of planning, design and forging partnerships, each element of the program has fallen into place. And now what we are now offering is, I believe, one of the best faith-based fellowship programs in the US, and perhaps Denver’s premiere leadership experience for young professionals. I know those are big claims. But I believe the 5280 Fellowship has the potential to deeply impact Denver for generations to come. And I’m not alone. Some of Denver’s finest pastors – like Robert Gelinas (Colorado Community Church), Brad Strait (Cherry Creek Presbyterian), Rob Brendle (Denver United), Brian Brown (Park Church) and Hunter Beaumont (Fellowship Denver) – believe the Fellowship can be a life-changing experience for young professionals who want to deeply engage themes of calling, work, and culture. Young...

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