Ben developed a strong comprehension of conventional and emergency construction techniques from his disaster relief work after Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haitian Earthquake and Superstorm Sandy. Throughout his disaster relief work both domestically and abroad he had the opportunity to see and work on many unconventional and experimental building projects. While working in Haiti Ben designed and built composting toilets for local communities and schools. The opportunity to learn from a plethora of conventional and alternative craftsfolks, starting in 2006, helped Ben become an elastic builder. While working in Haiti Ben stumbled upon natural building and investigated it further in California by taking several workshops and work-trade opportunities. After returning to Denver, Ben became a certified American Clay applicator and worked for local artisan plasterers while developing and launching his own natural building contracting business. Ben is also active in the Front Range natural building community and a proud member of Common Earth
Frank grew up in Massachusetts where his building career began. At the age of 12 he was building boardwalks through National Wildlife Preserve with the Youth Conservation Corps. Frank started working as a carpenter’s assistant at 14 years old, and worked with that same carpenter every summer through his sophomore year of college. Frank attended the University of New Hampshire where he studied Civil Engineering with a minor in Architectural studies. Upon graduation, Frank worked as a field engineer for a bridge and road construction company. After two years, and completing a $36 million bridge and road project, Frank went back into the field as a roofer and carpenter. Frank then moved to Vermont, and while trying to find a better way to build, found himself at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren. There he took a six week intensive in Natural Building and left with a certificate, friends, colleagues, and a renewed passion for building. Soon after, Frank moved to Boulder where he trained under Ryan Chivers of Artesano Plasters. After working with Ryan for almost two years, Frank decided it was time to start his own contracting business that can offer Natural Building as a solution to many of your home construction needs. Frank still works on jobs with Ryan Chivers, and has developed a community of carpenters, and natural building enthusiasts and professionals, much of which is due in part to being a proud member of Common Earth.
Cheryl got her start in natural building in 2010 through a last-minute opportunity to become an intern working on the first straw bale home completed by affordable housing non-profit Community Rebuilds in Moab, UT. With her background in Environmental Science, she was instantly attracted to the common-sense ideas behind building better, safer homes which not only benefit their residents’ health and finances, but also help to reduce environmental impacts. Working in construction also means joining a family tradition: her grandfather designed and built homes in Florida, and her father passed many of those same skills on to her. In 2014, Cheryl traveled to Nicaragua to take an improved adobe and earthen building class with the Asociación de Mujeres Constructoras de Condega (AMCC) and Liz Johndrow of the Nicaragua Pueblo Project and Earthen Endeavors. There she learned how to design and build homes using adobe blocks, cob, and other traditional earthen building methods. Returning to Colorado, she joined Common Earth where she began applying her skills to local projects, while also honing new talents. Cheryl became a member of the board of the Colorado Straw Bale Association in 2016 and is working with that group to promote straw building and other natural construction methods.