For fifteen years I worked in EMS as both an EMT and Paramedic. Towards the end of my career I spent three years working overseas as a Paramedic. My world view was deeply changed by the experience. This would be a time when one chapter of my life ended and another began. What follows is a brief glimpse into how I got here.
The years I spent working overseas were good years. They were eye opening years in regards to where I was in life and where I truly wanted to go. The year I spent working in Afghanistan as a Paramedic on military bases is an experience I would not want to do again, but one I also would not trade for anything. Some experiences challenge us and stretch us. This was one of them.
My years in Saudi Arabia working as a Sr. Paramedic for an oil company were fun years. Here I was able to experience a great deal of traveling and experience cultures that were uniquely different from my own. These are experiences I will deeply cherish for the remainder of my life.
Although all was well on the outside, these experiences were creating seismic shifts within me. Ones that would change the trajectory of my life.
The original plan was to come back home with some overseas experience on my resume, work as a flight medic for awhile and then apply to grad school and work towards becoming a Physician Assistant (PA). However, who I was upon returning from overseas work was vastly different from who I was when I left. For the first time I was giving serious thought to what it meant to live well. To what my vision of a good life looked liked. What I soon found out, what really shattered the illusion I had been living with, was that making a lot of money and the material comforts/experiences it brings was not making me any happier. Everyone has to determine to what extent material goods play in their vision of the good life. For me it turns out to be very little.
Shortly after I returned home I bought a foreclosure in Louisville. Having no experience in remodeling a home I took a year off work and began to learn. Although there was a steep learning curve to navigate, I was enjoying the process. I was building things with my hands and enjoying the act as well as outcome. Bringing beauty, or at least new life to old things, was and remains a great joy in my life. Little did I know this was the beginning of The Fence Guy of Louisville and from both would spring my deep interest in woodworking. This interest in woodworking and building outdoor projects goes much deeper than just earning a living. There is something fulfilling about approaching something as craft and attempting to improve upon that craft through practice. There is always some challenge to stretch ones abilities and room to consistently improve. The Genius of Japanese Carpentry and The Soul of A Tree, as well as The Nature and Art of Workmanship have been a few of the books that have influence my thoughts and approach to the building of things. These books have inspired a reverence for the wood itself, which seems to be a dying approach in an age of commercial forests and renewable resources cause us to believe that waste is acceptable. A respect for the material used and genuine desire to build well motivate me far greater than some arbitrary sales goal. I could be wrong, but this approach influences the outcome of the projects undertaken. What brings meaning to my life, very likely will bring value to yours.
In 2014 I decided to see how “solopreneurship” would fit with my new philosophy of living. One of the great benefits of working for myself has been the unexpected ways I’ve been able to infuse my philosophy of life with what I do. For a guy who majored in philosophy this has been a worthy achievement even if it can’t be quantified in monetary value.
So why did I start building fences? That’s a good question. I considered just rehabbing foreclosures or doing some kind of remodeling work, but fencing seemed a good fit due to the family connection and my previous experience with it. Two uncles and my dad have all owned fence companies. I remember helping my dad as a kid. Then I gradually worked up to foreman with my uncle’s company, and ended by doing sub-contract work when I first started college. Building wood fences seemed like a good fit when I thought of working for myself. A place to start while I learned the business side of things.
Overs the years I’ve continued my interest in building things. Take a peek at my Google+ page and you will see a variety of projects I’ve enjoyed building beyond fencing. I don’t know where this new path leads and truthfully knowing is not a prerequisite for my enjoyment of it. I’m grateful for the opportunities the wonderful people of this city have allowed me to experience. I am content with the journey…
So… when I’m not building things what does The Fence Guy of Louisville do? I enjoy cooking and have gradually improved my abilities in the kitchen. Winter is my favorite time to cook. What is better than a warm meal cooked with natural ingredients on a cold day? I’ve also picked up an interest in gardening. I truly enjoy being able to go to the garden and pick ingredients over the summer for a spaghetti sauce. I enjoy hikes in the woods where I can connect with nature. This seems to be a growing source of my spirituality these days. Spending time with my German Shepherd Kia is also a source of great joy. Reading has always been an enjoyment of mine and I still take great pleasure browsing books at a bookstore. (FYI… Powell’s in Portland, Oregon may be one of the best bookstores I’ve ever been to!) Rounding it all out is time spent with friends and family. In short, I try to live as best I can my version of a Good Life which, put simply, is the recognition that our time is the ultimate non-renewable resource and it behooves us to spend that time in the most enjoyable way possible. It means being mindful of the awesomeness of life, and being grateful for having the opportunity to experience it.
This may seem a little too personal for an “about page”. It may border on being too “philosophical” for a guy who builds fences, but understanding my approach to work and how I seek to build harmony between the work I do and the life I live is very much apart of understanding the values I bring to each project I build. If you’ve made it this far all the other information you find on this site will begin to come into focus. You will get a better understanding of me and my approach to building. This can only help in determining whether I’m a good fit for your project and really, that is why you’re here. Thanks for reading and I hope to get the opportunity to meet you soon. Cheers.