The Team

THE TEAM (MOSTLY)

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At Heritage we're all about our team. Nothing here could happen without all of us working together toward the common goal of giving antique materials new life, and to have as much fun as we can doing just that. 

EMILY

ME: What’s your title here?
EMILY: Owner.
ME: What do you do?
EMILY: I’m involved in the decision making, the design build, customer sales, marketing, coordinating finishes and installs, overseeing the finances. Steering the course for the company.
ME: That’s a lot.
EMILY: I need to make sure we’re getting enough jobs to support the team. We have a strong team that’s ready to work and grow as a company.
ME: What have you learned since Heritage began?
EMILY:  Oh my goodness! I’ve learned so much about myself, honestly. But I don’t want any of it on the website! I’ve learned a ton about construction and building and I love it. I’ve learned that the weight of decision making is as physically daunting as a really hard workout. Also, the challenge of bringing a company up from nothing and building a good team is incredibly satisfying. It’s making me get old, but it’s for sure worth it.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
EMILY: Committed. Totally. In everything.
ME: What’s your favorite part about Heritage?
EMILY: We’re making something.

SETH

ME: What’s your title here?
SETH: Chicken With His Head Cut Off.
ME: Haha.
SETH: Owner. And President I guess because one of us had to take that title (for tax stuff) but in reality Emily is probably more in charge than I am. I try to make things run. I try to be a good helper.
ME: Describe Emily in one word:
SETH: Diligent.
ME: What’s a life lesson since Heritage began?
SETH: You have to not let the little things get you down. Try and celebrate the good things because it’s not always good.
ME: That’s a good lesson.
SETH: Really. We do try to celebrate because before long we know something heavy will hit. There are a lot of emotional up and down pressures, but I love it. You have to decide every day, “Let’s do it!” I wake up and I try to do my best. That’s more difficult than it seems like it should be, but it’s worth it.

ANGIE

ME: I brought Snickers.
ANGIE: I love Snickers so much!
ME: What do you do here?
ANGIE: A little bit of everything… office assistant, send out pricing, follow up on client appointments, keep Emily and Seth in line and on track.
ME: Emily LOVES you.
EMILY (talking about ANGIE): She’s just easy. Meshes well. Fills gaps, pleasant. Takes care of it. Helps. We’re working on making her the exclusive initial point of contact.  She does everything. A total helper - with a good attitude.
ME (to ANGIE): Describe Emily on one word.
ANGIE: Joy. Warm and welcoming.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
ANGIE: Charismatic. Animated.
ME: What’s your favorite thing about working at Heritage?
ANGIE: Everybody is so easy-going. We have fun, but we get our work done. And I love working in a barn. It’s really cool.
EMILY: Even though there are mice and a porta-potty.
ANGIE: Yes, there are a few drawbacks. But the company makes up for it.

DAN

ME: So you’re the lead carpenter here?
DAN: No.
ME: Do you tell the other guys what to do?
DAN: No. I ask Eric if he will assist me with some projects…
ME: Okay. Describe your job here at Heritage.
DAN: Lead Carpenter.
ME: What do you do?
DAN: I have a blast. I can't imagine taking a vacation from work.
ME: Why?
DAN: Well, I’ve always enjoyed building, and the furniture specs are nice and tight, but it’s barn wood so there’s leniency. Every project is unique. I mean, a door is a door, and a table is a table, but each table is pretty unique.
ME: So your brother works here too? How’s that for you?
Dan: It’s fine. He does his thing, I do mine. I love him like a brother.
ME: What’s up with your romantic life?
DAN: No comment.
ME: Describe Emily in one word:
DAN: Bubbly.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
DAN: Studly.

JOE

ME: Sit over here you don’t want to get in Emily’s way.
JOE: She’ll run me over. She doesn’t mess around.
ME: What do you do here at Heritage?
JOE: Carpenter.
ME: What do you do?
JOE: I have the honor of turning barn wood into something useful again.
ME: Specifically?
JOE: I do the builds. I do the installs. Sometimes delivery. It’s multi-faceted. Usually they just need our muscle.
ME: So your brother Dan works here? How’s that for you?
JOE: Like old times. It’s fun. We work well together. You gotta be willing to give it back to Dan as much as he gives it. Our methods are different because we’re pulling from different experiences, but the end result is the same.
ME: That’s what makes you guys craftsmen.
JOE: Yep.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
JOE: Enigmatic.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
JOE: Conscientious.
ME: What do you like best about working here?
JOE: Honestly, it’s the fact that we’re not throwing the wood away, we’re saving it. It’s nice to see it coming back. And the reward of seeing the finished product. We have to pull from a bunch of experience to figure out what the best way is to get the stuff to work for you, not against you.

CHRIS

ME: How long have you worked here?
CHRIS: Since 2014.
ME: What do you do here?
CHRIS: I don’t know. Everything. Some building. Finishes. Maintenance. Deliveries.
ME: What’s your favorite part?
CHRIS: Everything. I don’t know. Finishes.
ME: Why?
CHRIS: I like to see people’s reactions to the finished product.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
CHRIS: Optimistic.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
CHRIS: Determined.
ME: How’d you get those stitches? (on the back of his forearm).
CHRIS: Doing demo on a side job.
ME: How?
CHRIS: Taking out a shower. The ceiling fell in, and the metal mesh slid down and cut me. Second set of stitches in a month. I just lost two of them at the water park.
ME: Love life?
CHRIS: Lots. Lots of love.
ME: What does Heritage mean to you?
CHRIS: Family. History. Everything.

ERIC

ME: What do you do here?
ERIC: Finishes, materials yard, installs, a general helping hand.
ME: What did you do before this?
ERIC: I was in steel work.
ME: What’s different?
ERIC: Steel is cut and dry. No staining or sanding. Barn wood is more involved labor-wise. The wood has to be aesthetically pleasing.
EMILY (pipes in): He only eats protein!
ME: Oh yeah?
EMILY: He hates donuts.
ME: Is this true? You only eat protein and you hate donuts?
ERIC: I don’t like donuts.
ME: I like chips.
ERIC: I can go to town on a bag of chips.
ME: What have you learned since starting at Heritage?
ERIC: Patience.
ME: Really? Patience regarding what?
ERIC: I guess teamwork. It’s tough coming in when everyone’s growing. Sometimes we get on each other’s nerves and whatnot, but it always works out in the end.
ME: Describe yourself.
Eric: Space case. My mind wanders.
ME: To what?
ERIC: To something shiny. Maybe a butterfly.
ME: Do you have a girlfriend?
ERIC: Nope. Single and ready to mingle.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
ERIC: Tenacious.
ME: Describe Emily in one word. Or phrase.
ERIC: Organized. Meticulous. I love getting a list from Emily. She’s on the head with everything.   She's orderly.
ME: I brought Snickers.
ERIC: No thanks.
ME: Okay.

BEN

ME: What do you do here?
BEN: Photography and video production.
ME: How did you get into this line of work?
BEN: By taking lots of pictures as a hobby.
ME: What’s your favorite part about working here?
BEN: Helping to tell cool stories about the unique stuff Heritage does.
ME: What else do you do in your life?
BEN: Adventurous things like surfing, skiing, backpacking, and parenting.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
BEN: Brother.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
BEN: Joyous.
ME: What does Heritage mean to you?
BEN: Heritage preserves a history at risk of being lost, giving it a new life.
ME: What’s something you would like to achieve in your lifetime?
BEN: Visit every U.S. state.

BROCK

ME: What do you do at Heritage?
BROCK: I am our furniture designer. Emily, Seth, and I put our heads together to think through the customer’s projects, and I render them in the computer. These renderings are used to present the project to the customer, and are also used as blueprints for all of our carpenters to build each project. I also help out in the shop when needed.
ME: How did you get into this line of work?
BROCK: I grew up building things. My father owned his own companies when I was growing up, and I helped him with everything from landscaping to refinishing basements. I ended up going to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where I became interested in Furniture Design, where I learned how to build and create all of my own furniture. Then I met Seth and Emily and the rest is history!
ME: What is something rewarding about what you do?
BROCK: I love being part of every one of the projects that we create. I get to render most of them, but I am also involved with building and putting a finish on some of the projects. It's super cool that I had a hand in helping create these one-of-a-kind projects for our customers.
ME: What else do you do in your life?
BROCK: I design and build my own furniture when I'm not working.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
BROCK: Motivating. Seth somehow is able to convince the entire crew to drop what they are doing and do pushups.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
BROCK: Creative. Emily is the one who dreams up the coolest projects. It can sometimes be a challenge in our design meetings to figure out a way to build everything she dreams up, but that is what makes Emily so awesome.
ME: What does Heritage mean to you?
BROCK: Heritage is all about history. The history of the materials, the history of the barns, the history of the random items we find in the barns, the history of the family that owned the barn. The list goes on and on. Heritage is about taking that history, and giving it to our customers so that the story can grow and change with them.
ME: What’s something you’d like to achieve in your lifetime?
BROCK: I want to retire in the mountains with a wood shop on my left and my family on my right.

HEATHER

ME: Hi Heather.
HEATHER: Hi there.
ME: Did Emily tell you I was going to call?
HEATHER: Yes she warned me.
ME: What do you do at Heritage?
HEATHER: I take care of accounting and human resource tasks.
ME: You do this at other places too, right?
HEATHER: Yes. This isn’t the only company I work for.
ME: What else do you do?
HEATHER: I have three kids- that keeps me busy enough.
ME: Where do you all live?
HEATHER: Eagle, Wisconsin.
ME: Are there a lot of eagles there?
HEATHER: Not really.
ME: Why is it called Eagle?
HEATHER: I have no idea.
ME: What else do you like to do?
HEATHER: I enjoy playing volleyball.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
HEATHER: Charismatic.
ME: Did you know I was going to ask you that?
HEATHER: No. That’s the first word that popped into my head.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
HEATHER: Energetic.
ME: What does Heritage mean to you?
HEATHER: Commitment. Family. Attention to detail.
ME: What else do I need to know?
HEATHER: This place makes me happy. I never dread coming here.

STEF

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ME: Hey
STEF: Hey.
ME: Is this weird? Talking to myself?
STEF: Ya.
ME: Okay. Well, we’re doing this. What do you do at Heritage?
STEF: Mostly all of the marketing copy writing. Web copy, blogs, help Ben with video production (the content part), that kind of thing. I get to interview the fine folks who allow us to reclaim their barns and materials and hear their stories and write about them.
ME: Cool. What’s your favorite part?
STEF: Pulling the stories together in a compelling way so our customers can somehow catch the greatness of these people and their stories.
ME: Describe Emily in one word.
STEF: Fierce. Loyal. Unassailable. Honest. I can’t really pick just one. She’s killer. My best friend.
ME: Describe Seth in one word.
STEF: Oh man, Seth is just a super great guy. Positive. Honest. But that doesn't capture it.
ME: What does Heritage mean to you?
STEF: History, preservation, creativity, community.

Photos by Ben Hanson at Creation Images except the photos of Heather and I. I don't know who took those.