Keep Craft Alive: Scott Simpson, builder and founder of Revolution Workshop
This craftsman's love of carpentry and desire to get more people prepared for the construction industry is why he helped create a revolutionary design and craft training program.
A carpenter by trade, Scott Simpson has been building custom homes on the north shore of Chicago for 25 years. Unlike many builders, he followed no family footsteps into the industry—he’s just driven by a love of craftsmanship. It wouldn’t be until after pursuing a 4-year psychology degree at Loyola that he’d turn his attention to the trades as a profession. “I had my eyes on graduate school, but I just love carpentry,” he says. “I still love it all these years later.”
As Simpson built out his business, he experienced the dearth of skilled men and women to do the work he needed done in the way he and his clients expected it to be done. So he started a training program, originally conceived to feed talent into his business. It has since grown to be much more.
“If one student ends up with a successful career in the trades, I’ll be thrilled. I just know that they’ll all be better and more motivated people for going through this program.”
Revolution Workshop sits on the west side of Chicago and trains young adults ages 18 to 30 in the skills necessary to enter the construction workforce. Backed by a board of directors and supported by staff, the program is churning out students who not only have the knowledge for entry-level building careers, but who also leave fully kitted with the gear necessary to step onto a job site. Some of the students do end up working for Simpson’s fi rm, now a design/build company. Others follow different paths into the trades.
What motivates a boots-on-the-ground carpenter and business owner to reach beyond the stressful challenges of running a construction fi rm to provide a community outreach and training program like Revolution Workshop? For Simpson, it simply comes down to a mantra he learned many years ago: “Become a man for others.” He certainly builds better for it.
— Rob Yagid, executive director, Keep Craft Alive
Keep Craft Alive is our campaign celebrating those who have chosen to passionately pursue a career in design, building, and remodeling. Find out more and show your support by visiting KeepCraftAlive.org, and use #KeepCraftAlive to share your passion for the cause.