I’m frequently given the best opportunity in the world: the chance to explore a world I’m not normally a part of. Next week, I’m going to Birmingham, Alabama to speak at Green Building Focus, thanks to some wonderful people, including Mr. Merrill Stewart, who has the dubious fortune to have been the very first non-Human Business Works guest to my new offices. More on Mr. Stewart later.
What I Don’t Know Is the Best Part of What I Do
I know nothing about building. I do know, however, that adaptive reuse has been a passion of mine for decades. You see, I love mill towns. I live in a reclaimed mill building right now, and have lived in a few over the years. That’s part of green building.
Another part of green building is growing community around these projects. In a world where we’re just as quick to tear down the old, to run off and start fresh on some unturned soil, there are people out there reclaiming those frontiers all around us that I’ve talked about before. And whenever you meet someone doing that kind of work, and who also understands how to bring community to bear on such experiences, you go with him or her.
Merrill Stewart is one of those people. I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk about his business, about why Stewart Perry and all the other sponsors of the Green Building Focus event were dragging me down there, and what I could do to help Birmingham and the green building world a little in the process. Mr. Stewart is a smart man, who knows his strengths, who’s overcome his challenges (so far, so good), and who knows that by growing the value of others, he will grow as well.
He sold me on his passion for Birmingham, Alabama, and for the story of a 100 year old city that’s looking to reinvent and rebuild and reuse the better parts of the past, while never losing sight of those parts we all might wish to forget, but never should. And when we talked about social media, Mr. Stewart said to me, several times, shortly after talking about how he was using the tools of social media to be successful in his business, that his job was pouring concrete and hanging steel.
What I Do Know Is What I Share
I don’t know how to build or rebuild a factory building into a home like mine. I know people. I know how to build communities around rebuilding a muddled downtown. And I know that we’re going to have fun in Birmingham, next week.