Beaverton builder runs own company, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity
- Kristen Forbes
- The Times - Features
Robert Wood has been working in construction since he was 12
Beaverton's Robert Wood has building in his blood.
Growing up in Pendleton, he always looked up to his father, a general contractor. He started working for him at the age of 12, eventually going on to get a degree in civil engineering from Washington State University. He paid his own way through college, building and remodeling homes along the way.
Since then, he's worked in the residential home business. He worked for J.C. Reeves for two years and Renaissance Homes for 10, overseeing construction activities at a company that started small and then exploded.
When the economic downturn led to a layoff from Renaissance Homes, Wood decided now is the time to begin his own business. He started Mountainwood Homes in October of 2008, a general contracting company that specializes in building new homes, remodeling existing spaces and consulting.
'One of the things we do is custom homes,' says Wood. 'We'll do large custom homes or small custom homes. Because of my background, we can go in and take on tracts of land.
'We can do subdivision work and build multiple houses. We can do multi-family townhomes and condominiums. We're involved in green building. We have the ability to work with our clients if they want their homes certified at any varying level, whether it's Energy Star, Earth Advantage or LEED.'
The economy, Wood says, has not stopped people from wanting and needing to get projects done on their homes.
Wood and his team often work on various projects with designers, including his wife Heather, an interior designer.
'Together, we collaborate a lot on that side of it,' he says. 'But at the same time, she has other builders she works with, and I have other designers I work with.'
Business is a family affair, with Wood's 20-year-old son often helping out as well. Spending time with his wife, son, and three daughters is Wood's favorite way to unwind. He also enjoys golfing, bird hunting, hiking and being outdoors.
Wood is also involved with Willamette West Habitat for Humanity, both on the board of directors and construction committee. The Willamette West Habitat for Humanity mission statement is to 'foster home ownership and improve the community by building simple, decent, affordable housing with a neighborhood emphasis.' From 1988 to 2009, more than 50 homes have been built in Washington County. (The WWHH Web site is www.habitatwest.org.)
'The homes are always going through constant improvement processes, the last of which is becoming energy star-certified,' Wood says. 'I am proud to be associated with a great organization that helps people become homeowners.'
Meanwhile, while working on projects for Mountainwood Homes, Wood hopes to be part of the team that people will want to turn to.
'One of the things we're trying to put out there for people is that we want to be their builder,' Wood says. 'People have attorneys. People have accountants, doctors, and dentists. We want to be their builder, so when they have a project, whether it be small or large, they have somebody that they're comfortable with, that they can call up and take care of their building needs.'
Wood says the most challenging aspect of running a small business is having to do everything, from finding clientele to bidding to managing to accounting to marketing.
'That's also the fun part of it, too,' he says.
Wood estimates he's worked on more than 1,500 homes in the Portland area, including three award winners for Street of Dreams while at Renaissance Homes. He's technically been working in the industry since he was 12, but he says even if you don't count it until he was 20, he still has 25 years of experience.
'To know it's something we did on our own,' Wood says, is highly rewarding. 'To make those decisions, to not have to worry about bringing more people in, and just take care of people ourselves - it's up to me whether it makes it or breaks it.'
The Mountainwood Homes Web site is www.mountainwoodhomes.com. Information can be requested at salesmountainwoodhomes.com or by calling 503-746-7338.