Carpenter is the president of Groveland Construction, a full-service masonry
contractor. Tim was a young 20-something looking for a job when he “fell
backwards into” masonry. He started out as a hod carrier, or a mason’s helper,
moving up to a position with VanWell Masonry in 2002. A decade later, Tim became
a part-owner of VanWell. In 2018, Environmental StoneWorks, a national
manufacturer and installer, acquired the company. As the business model shifted
following the buyout, Tim also began to consider further opportunities to
expand. Tim branched off on his own and into subcontracting, opening Groveland
Construction early this year.
became active with ABC of Western Washington around 2007, and having previously
chaired the Leadership Council and served on the ABCWW board.
recently caught up with Tim to see how he’s been doing, what it’s like to grow
a new business during a pandemic and how ABCWW has helped him in his career.
How did Groveland Construction
come to be and how have you managed through the last couple months?
VanWell had been acquired by Environmental StoneWorks, I stayed with the
company for a while. But we began to realize that sort of corporate structure
was more geared toward subcontractors rather than employees. So, we began
thinking that it’d be in everybody’s best interest to start turning towards
subcontracting. Last year, we started talking about what it would look like if
I became a subcontractor and put together a plan for that. Now, I’m still
subcontracting the work that I'm accustomed to doing for the last 20 years, but
it has also allowed me to go out and find my own work that will help me grow as
coronavirus hit just as we were taking off the ground. We were off for a total
of four weeks because of the shutdown. I was invested enough that it didn’t
hurt me personally. We all got through it and now we’ve been back to work since
the beginning of May. Things are looking good again.
How did you become involved with
originally got involved as I was beginning to develop professionally. I was
moving up in the company I was working for, and my boss encouraged me to get
involved in ABCWW because he thought it would be good for me. I got on some of
the councils, helped plan events, attended meetings – I didn’t expect to
get a whole lot of out of it at first. But as I got to know the people that
were involved in ABCWW, they were all people just like me. They were there to
learn, grow and better themselves professionally. Rubbing elbows with that sort
of group of people really affected my growth positively.
What have been some of the
benefits of your involvement with ABCWW over the course of your career?
If I was
ever having an issue with a client or needed legal advice, I knew who to call. It's
been a really great resource for me just to bounce ideas off of people. Being
able to get to know the other professionals in the construction industry has
been invaluable. But, far and beyond, the professional development that has been
afforded to me through ABCWW has been the biggest benefit. I’ve taken every
class they’ve offered. You meet a great mix of people that way and I’ve gained
a lot of friends through ABCWW.
years, the safety training has been a huge benefit from an employer standpoint.
As a matter of fact, we're working with the ABCWW office right now to get a CPR
class because we’ve got to get all our guys CPR trained before their
certificates expire. Every year we have to have scaffold training, ladder
training… every year we all sorts of new training – ABCWW offers all that
and if you're a Retro member, it's free.
You also sit on the board of the
Workforce Foundation. Can you tell us about your involvement there and its
connection to ABCWW?
back, we were having a hard time finding good help or finding any help at all.
We were in the middle of a booming economy, we'd post ads on Craigslist, Indeed
and elsewhere – we just weren't getting anywhere with recruitment. I had heard
from someone that we could find employees through work release – people
typically at the end of their sentences that were beginning to transition back
into society after being incarcerated.
Then I heard
about the Workforce Foundation and Danny’s program from someone in our
marketing department. We ended up hiring the Workforce Foundation’s very first
client. After the fact, I found out that ABCWW was also talking with the foundation
and that was cool to see. At first, I got involved because of recruitment but I
then began to grow more passionate about the cause and the vision
– helping people, giving the formerly incarcerated a hand up and hopefully
making an impact on recidivism.
has been helping connect Workforce Foundation clients with employers searching
for workers, and it’s been a win-win for both sides. We’ve also worked to bring
more attention to second chance opportunities and organizations like the foundation.
We were at LegCon in Washington, D.C. last year – which the national ABC
organization puts on every year – and got to speak with our
representatives about what kind of policies we support as an organization. The
Workforce Foundation happened to come up in conversation, and that gave us an
opportunity to connect the organization with supporters of that vision in D.C.
as well as increase awareness around second chance organizations.
In your masonry career, is there
a project that stands out as favorite?
that would probably be my favorite, was the first big project that I ran for
VanWell Masonry as a foreman – a condominium building in Ballard. It had
all this brick detail that went on it, had a ton of brick, a ton of block and a
bunch of block planters up in the courtyard. I think that was my favorite
because I was able to express my talent and I flourished on this project. I was
on that job for about 16 months. Until then, I was a residential mason. Commercial
masonry is a different world. It was a new experience for me and it opened
doors to further professional development.