Profiles in Green: Jason Anderson and the Building of Green & Main

Jason Anderson and Family

Jason Anderson and family.

Pausing in the Green

If you want to meet the man behind all that’s happening at the Green & Main project site, you’ll have to first wait for him to find a good pausing point from whatever project is currently tying up his hands. You must be patient as you get interrupted for a multitude of construction questions, and then make sure that you’re able to squeeze in a time between the meetings he holds with everyone involved in the project.

Even as I’m sitting under a shade tree, probing the brain of Jason Anderson, manager of all on-site things Green & Main, we are distracted by the rush of water flowing full-force from the water hydrant on the corner. It’s an idyllic neighborhood situation – taking a break on the ledge of a retaining wall, chatting about Anderson’s work (and sanity) on a warm, breezy summer day.

However, our conversation is just as purposeful as the water escaping from the hydrant; the flow is actually being tested to determine the pressure capabilities for the water sprinkler system that will be installed in the Green & Main building.

Leading a Vision

Brick masonry wall addition, looking to the north.

Brick masonry wall addition, looking to the north.

I ask Anderson what it takes to head a project of such magnitude and he replies honestly, ‘lots of patience.’ Three years ago when Anderson began reviewing the plans for the building, he was set to be the on-site manager for construction. But as the other team members and leads had to be pulled off the project to satisfy other demands, Anderson quietly slid into the role of the On-Site Manager, or as I like to think of it, Manager of All Things Green & Main.

“Projects and processes are constantly changing as I’m doing things,” he explains. I think of the gushing fire hydrant, the accumulation and technicalities of his work load, and all I can think is, thank goodness that’s not me. This is the real story of Green & Main.

Anderson does his best to explain to me the complexities between blending historic renovation with modern green technology.  It’s “a long tedious process” filled with many LEED compliance meetings and the delicate dance of trying to make everyone happy. The historic preservation team is fighting for the integrity of the building while the environmentalists are defending their position to make this 80-year-old building more energy efficient than 99% of current buildings.

Anderson explains “I design the windows to make them last and then I have to wait 90 days for the preservation committee to review.” If he’s lucky enough to satisfy that group, he still has to make sure he’s fulfilling his promises to others.  “You have to be really open-minded. Technology is always changing. There are times when something is being developed and the project changes right in the middle. You have to be willing to accept the changes.”

Site Source Separation Bins Inside the Building

Site source separation bins inside the building.

Anderson states he is not an expert in LEED processes, though he is learning rapidly from all the LEED advisors on the project, as the process is a constantly evolving one that involves the contributions and mentoring of many. “I have a much greater appreciation for the technical aspect as it regards historical and green building design.” That’s the polite way of telling the story. Taking a 1930’s masonry building and aspiring to restore it while simultaneously reaching for LEED Platinum certification is no small feat.

The Patience and Energy of Green

We move into conversations regarding his home life, where he and his wife are managing the chaos of raising an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. I ask about the similarity between the project and home, to which he replies, “My kids, like my job, require lots of patience. You never know what it’s going to be like from day to day.” Still, he says, “My home life is a lot more relaxing than here.”

Separating work from home life can sometimes be a challenge. However, Anderson is finding that the blend is pretty good. The kids go to school and learn about sustainability which they incorporate into their home recycling programs and water conservation. Not only is he teaching them the value of turning off the water while brushing their teeth, he likes adding more details to what they are learning. “I enjoy expanding on it. A lot of what I say comes from the knowledge and resources from working on Green & Main.”

So while there are definitely days of frustration and difficulty working on-site at the Green & Main project, the reward is great. “I have a passion for remodeling, not just building. I like to give the old stuff new life and keep it there for many more years.” I would like to add that I think it’s a pretty cool adventure. Not too many aspects in life present us with the opportunity to embark upon such a journey of exploration.

You’ve just met our top astronaut.

 

– Michelle Peiffer is director of communications strategy for Indigo Dawn. She daydreams of her recent year backpacking through 22 countries, longing for days of village explorations and weaving in and out of markets.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks for the insight into the man behind the construction at G & M. I feel like I know him a little now. Congrats on his hard work, patience and perseverance. I appreciate the realistic perspective of the article. Thanks, Michelle, well written!

  2. Marc Black says:

    Wow – what a great article on Jason & the work that he does! He’s a special person and well suited to run this project. Nice job Michelle!

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