Keep Craft Alive: Josh Salinger, Construction Business Owner
After scaling up and feeling disconnected from the process, a Portland, Oregon, builder refocuses his company with a commitment to building better homes and better relationships.
“It’s a reason why we do attract good people: They see they can be part of something more empowered and shared.”
–Josh Salinger, Construction Business Owner, Portland, Ore.
There was a particular moment when Josh Salinger knew something was very wrong with the way he had been running his construction business, Birdsmouth Construction. He had scaled up the operation that he started years earlier, taking on more and larger projects and adding staff to keep pace with the demand for services. But after one of the company’s projects was sold, built, and completed, Josh realized that he had never even met the clients. And while he valued the trust he had in his team, he felt disconnected from the process and people that made building a joy.
“I look back on those times and I don’t know if I was really happy, and I don’t know if my clients and staff were really happy,” he says now. “I had this real moment of clarity where I needed to refocus on what’s important and not say yes to everything, and not just grow for the sake of numbers and the size of projects, but focus on growth through values, and on good relationships with staff and with clients, and on the kind of projects we want.“
Birdsmouth has gone through several of these existential points in its development to arrive where it is today. With 14 employees, the company is now highly sought after for its carefully designed and built zero-energy homes, and is known for empowering its employees to have a part and a stake in the operation and for offering them a truly competitive compensation and benefits package. To work at Birdsmouth is to have the opportunity to make a passion for building into a livelihood and to create a positive impact on the community where you live and work. It’s a culture forged by Josh and his team—one that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Because of his deep commitment to the quality of the work and the personal aspirations and motivations of the people he works with, Josh now experiences what many builders across the nation long for—top-tier prospects knocking on his door from both the client and trade sides, all wanting to work with and for his company.
—Rob Yagid, executive director, Keep Craft Alive
Hear Rob Yagid’s interview with Josh on the Keep Craft Alive Podcast.
Photo: Asa Christiana
From Fine Homebuilding #297