A Bachelors of Fine Art
Mac Alyea joined Smithouse because “building is creative!” After seven years of working in the world of photography and receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Arizona State University, Mac followed his love to the state of Maryland. When he met the team at Smithouse and found all the people to be unique and interesting, he decided to apply his creative skills to a new industry. “The company culture really stood out to me,” said Mac. At home, his creativity extends to the kitchen by firing up variations of Mexican street tacos.
Communication is Key
Kevin Atkinson, a Smithouse Project Manager, knew in college that “building things” was going to be “his thing.”
What he loves most about his job is seeing a project come together and knowing he had a part in its overall creation and success. Older homes and historical properties are his favorite types of projects. “The intricacies of this type of work and thinking through the original craftsmanship that went into these older buildings and figuring out how we’re going to preserve it is incredibly gratifying.”
Smithouse as a firm, “has such a positive, forward-looking mindset.” It starts at the top and is felt all the way down to our job sites. This makes it easy to openly discuss problems and their resolutions. Communication, not only in-house, but also on the construction sites, helps in solving the constant wave of project issues that arise on a job.”
Focus on the Details
Aimee Bracken is all about transforming anything and everything to make it better and more visually appealing. Her main role at Smithouse is showcasing the company’s attributes to existing and potential clients.
How does she do that? According to Aimee, it’s all about “focusing on the details and looking carefully at how they will impact the greater picture in order to get the best outcome.” She also loves being a part of the Smithouse family where “everyone genuinely cares about each other, the projects, and the clients!”
Watching the Company Grow
Office Administrator Kristin Caprarola supports Smithouse with her financial expertise. She has enjoyed assisting the Project Managers with their job numbers and watching the projects evolve and grow. “As the projects have grown, so did the company. It has been an amazing thing to see such growth over the years and it feels good to know I am helping and a part of the whole.”
Three Steps Ahead
Mike brings 13 years of construction experience to the table. According to Mike, “there is always a solution. There are always a number of ways to problem solve and combat issues. Approaching things with a positive attitude is a must.” What he loves most about his job is “helping someone enjoy their home even more than before.”
According to his colleagues, Mike is known for always being three steps ahead on a project.
Relationships and Creativity
Assistant Carpenter Andy Green is in increasingly high demand internally as he continues to prove to be an asset to project teams. “What I love most about my job are the relationships and the need for creativity,” says Assistant Carpenter Andy Green. “We are presented with new obstacles every day and at the same time need to make our clients happy. Writing stuff down and collaborating with colleagues allows me to visualize multiple solutions on a given day which in the end makes for satisfied clients.”
Getting Things Done
Assistant Carpenter David Harvey transitioned into the industry because of his interest in “creating things”. “Carpentry allows me to create something,” says Harvey. His teammates call him a “work Horse” and appreciate his “unstoppable” work ethic on job sites. “I have learned so much since being at Smithouse that I am now running small jobs on my own. And one of the best things about working at Smithouse is I have a lot more to talk about with my grandfather, who is a painter!”
An Eternal Optimist
“Keeping calm is key and I’m also an eternal optimist which helps in this industry. Things always tend to work out well when you are able to stay positive,” says Site Lead Chris Klinefelter. He recently completed a whole house historic renovation in Woodstock, Maryland. The project was a terrific experience from a work perspective but what was even better was that the clients were so pleased with their “new old home.”
Nathanial “Kitch” Kitchen
We like to say we hired our carpenter from Syracuse “Nathaniel Evenden “Kitch” Kitchen” strictly because of his name. Considered to be a “growth junkie,” Kitchen says he loves “handling the materials we use to build beautiful and awesome things! But it becomes quickly obvious to those that see him with power tools and saws that his ability to transform wood and spaces actually goes way beyond his very cool name.
“I love handling the materials we use to build beautiful and awesome things! It’s also pretty neat working with and for people who have great skills and from whom I can learn a lot.”
Danny brings to Smithouse a level of expert craftsmanship that is second to none. He steps in day after day to apply his talent and craft to all of our projects and is in constant demand amongst all of our teams. He works away in silence (or while listening to tunes on his headphones) and creates the most amazing things for our clients. His work inspires his co-workers on a daily basis. Every morning he has coffee and a donut before he hits his job assignment for the day. Whatever is in the coffee and donuts he is having for breakfast works for us!
Keeping It Light
Maura supports the design and cabinetry teams and also regularly steps in to help others when there is a need. Her upbeat personality and levity in the work place keeps things light and fun even when the going gets tough. She is a strong supporter of Smithouse’s “core values” and “loves the fact that she enjoys the people she works with which makes coming to work easy every day!.”
Passionate About Collaboration and All Things Art + Design
Merritt came to Smithouse first as a client and soon after, joined the design team. She brings a very special eye and taste sensibility to Smithouse projects. This, coupled with her other job, as an owner of an art gallery, allows her “to be creative every day.” Her reputation in the office as being an ongoing driver of collaboration has brought good vibes to the office and of course in the end led to strong client satisfaction.
Focusing on The Details
A love of building is what drove Project Manager Andy McGrath to move into the construction industry from his previous field of social work. Andy brings 13 years of project management expertise to the table and loves seeing a space go from the design phase to reality. Even better is “watching clients see and enjoy their new home.”
When on the job, if there isn’t a “best practices” solution to address an issue at hand, then Andy likes to look for “out of the box solutions that require creativity.” His colleagues claim his attention to detail is one of his winning qualities – as well as his sense of humor. Is there anything he doesn’t like about his job? “Yes! I don’t have enough time to hang out with my cool co-workers!”
Creating Warm, Inviting, and Functional Spaces
Amber brings over 15 years of architecture, building and design experience to Smithhouse along with keen attention to detail and a level of thoughtfulness towards processes that continue to elevate the level of work we provide our clients.
“What I love most about my job at Smithouse is creating warm, inviting spaces that function just as our clients need them to. Our clients are lucky because we have so many great brains on our staff, and we are always collaborating as a team on everyone’s projects.”
Kyle brings 15 years of building experience to Smithouse. Like many in the industry, Kyle finds satisfaction in transforming spaces and working through the different challenges that surface with each new project. This Site Lead makes sure to always gather the opinions of all people working on a job before choosing the best solution for implementation. Says Kyle, “the more information you can gather, the better chance you have of making the best decision for all that are involved.”
Mark Passerelli, a Site Lead, has been in the industry for 10 years. His interest in construction started at age 10 when his family renovated their house. Working with different clients and seeing a project progress is what keeps him interested and engaged on job sites. “There is nothing better than completing a task that shows another step towards the end product.” “Colleagues enjoy working with him because of his humble spirit, humility and good teaching skills.”
What started as a friendship in college has resulted in a valuable career path for Production Manager JP Pototschnik. JP and founder Dave Smith were friends in college and when Smithouse launched, JP was the company’s first hire.
JP’s steady character, intuitions, sensitivity to clients and doggedness in finding the best solutions for the daily challenges that present themselves in the field have resulted in great success for Smithouse’s clients.
It’s no surprise with his personable nature that the collaborative nature of working with clients, colleagues, and different tradesmen is by far what he loves most about his job.
JP’s colleagues consider him to be “the glue” here at the company. According to Dave, “he works hard to make sure the Smithouse business is running like a well-oiled machine.”
Say No to Cutting Corners
Darin is our “California Boy.” If he doesn’t remind us daily that he is from there, then we feel it because of his relaxed, relational demeanor. Like many within the firm, Darin finds joy in transforming clients’ living spaces and leaving them with a beautiful end product. Darin’s daily mantra? “Incorporate a way to complete all steps of the construction process 100% before moving on. It makes each of the next steps easier.” Darin is also an electrician by trade!
Friendly, Genuine and Authentic
Rittler, a recent grad from Radford University, with a degree in psychology, found his calling while working at Smithouse during a college Summer. When school was done, he knew he was looking for the type of work environment Smithouse provided. And lucky for him, Smithouse was hiring! When asked what it was that he liked about Smithouse, Rittler responded by saying,”I love all the people..the team! Every interaction is great. It’s a friendly, genuine and authentic group!” Josh supports the Project Management team and is looking forward to helping Smithouse create amazing spaces.
Client Satisfaction = Loyal Smithouse Supporters
After working in the construction industry for almost 20 years, Shawn still gets jazzed about “working and collaborating with great co-workers, local families, architects, designers, trade contractors, and other related professionals. Each project brings a new mix of needs, personalities and experiences. “Continual Smithouse client satisfaction has created a group of seriously loyal Smithouse supporters,” says Saffran.
“Saffran is known for his consistent and organized approach to project management, but what he isn’t known for are his “hidden talents.” Next time you see him, ask him about them. What we do know is that he has milled his own tree and made furniture from it. What other talents does he have?
In addition to being a talented carpenter, Luis’ expertise includes quality client service. Before going into the construction industry, he spent years as an assistant golf pro and worked in banking, teaching him the necessary skills to manage and listen to clients. “It really is all about pleasing the clients,” says Luis. His affable personality and skill set is a perfect addition to the Smithouse team.
You will often find Courtney sitting at the front desk with a big smile on her face. Hired to support Smithouse’s project managers, Courtney focuses on the finances of individual client projects making sure billing is on time and accurate. She is known for being super organized and keeping the back office organized. She enjoys being involved in the implementation of new office systems and helping roll them out to the greater staff.
She loves working at Smithouse because she is able to find the support and guidance she needs when she needs it and feels she has “found a growing company that she can grow along with!”
Building Homes, Building People
I love design and building. I love beautiful spaces. And I love even more that what we do improves peoples’ lives.
Smithouse officially opened its doors in 2005 and I often define Smithouse as a “building homes, building people” type of organization. We invest in our people and in their learning. Seeing growth internally, maintaining a positive work environment and providing a top in class construction experience for our clients is what Smithouse is all about.”
It’s all About the Process
Site Lead, Dave Stevens, brings 17 years of experience to Smithouse. What he likes best about his job is that he gets to “work with cool people and on new projects with different clients all the time which provides an ever changing work environment.”
Dave is known for his unwavering adherence to process and sequence. A job is not successful unless you follow the right steps in the right order. He also won’t hesitate to tell you he is “not meant to be in an office chair and likes to get things done – the right way!”