By Natalie Mourton
For Jeff Kloppel, it was a combination of persistence and his wife’s search for organic bedding that led him to Beech Tree Woodworks five years ago. At the time, Beech Tree Woodworks had a neighboring green and organic bedding business. Jeff’s wife, Annie, came out to the store to look at the bedding and noticed that there was a cabinet and woodworking shop next door. When she came home, she told Jeff he should get a job there. Jeff found the website for what was then Beech Tree Building Company and decided to give owner, Nic James, a call. Nic was not hiring at that time, but Jeff continued to call and check with him about once a month to see if a position was available. Eventually, his persistence paid off, and Nic offered him a job.
“I was really impressed with Nic’s website. The materials being used, along with a commitment to using green energy, struck a chord with me. It was also obvious after seeing photos of their work that they were building very nice cabinets and furniture, with exceptional attention to detail.”
Although the terms woodworker and sustainability do not always go hand-in-hand, to Jeff, it is important to know that the wood he is using for a project comes from sustainably-managed forests.
“With the long term effects of deforestation happening around the planet, it’s good to know that we are at least doing our small part to make a difference.”
Prior to working for Beech Tree, Jeff had three years of experience working at a large cabinet manufacturing company. Starting at an entry level position, Jeff worked his way through all departments in the shop. He eventually obtained a spot in the custom department where he built a variety of reception desks, display cabinets, and anything else that required a skilled worker. It was in the custom department where Jeff learned how to go from a set of plans to a finished piece, and everything in between.
During the peak of the recent recession, Jeff took an opportunity to follow one of his passions and enrolled in a boat building course at Bates Technical College. There he studied traditional water crafts, wooden boat building, and modern composite construction. His final project was a skin on frame canoe, that is loosely based on the Inuit kayaks of Greenland and the Alaskan Umiaks. Jeff is also an avid sailor and enjoys being on the water as much as possible.
Jeff couldn’t be happier with his job at Beech Tree Woodworks. According to him, the location, the shop, and the people he works with are all of the highest quality. He believes the shop itself is one of the better ones around, with good lighting, good tools, and an awesome crew of co-workers.
“It’s a great location to come to work everyday. Everyone who works here is a very talented and knowledgeable person. We learn from each other constantly and push each other to continue to learn new things and become better woodworkers. Nic is an incredible person to work with and is a very generous employer. The projects that we get to work on are always something a little different and interesting. I really like that there’s always something new to figure out.”
Jeff and his wife, Annie, have a young son named William, who was born in September of 2012.