By Neva Knott
Paul Gorman is Beech Tree’s new Project Lead. He made his way to Olympia from Los Angeles in 2014 and joined Nic James’s team at BTWW in August 2015. He’ll be working with clients to develop furniture and cabinet designs and manage projects from conception to completion. Paul is a natural fit for this position, having run his own custom cabinet and furniture shop in California.
Before the recession, Paul worked in real estate. When the economy changed in 2008, Paul decided to try something new so he enrolled in the woodworking program at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California, a suburb of LA. He spent three years studying the craft, and then opened his own shop, which he managed until the move to Olympia.
Paul and his wife’s desire to live in a more natural setting inspired the move from LA. Paul is a backpacker and likes to go to the mountains for days to hike and camp, recreation he finds easier to do in the Pacific Northwest. Also, Paul’s wife enrolled at The Evergreen State College to study Environmental Science.
After the Gormans made the move, Paul spent a year working as a land surveyor, until he found Beech Tree. He found the company by getting to know his new community–he landed on the website for the Arbutus Folk School in Olympia and read about Beech Tree in the bio of Bryan Torian, another BTWW employee who is a Board member for Arbutus.
In addition to the skills everyone at BTWW holds–creativity, aesthetic, attention to detail, fine craftsmanship, and a love of woodworking–Paul knows AutoCAD, a computer design and drafting program, a new necessity as Beech Tree expands.
Working at Beech Tree is Paul’s first real experience working in a shop with a commitment to sustainability. In Los Angeles he had a handful of customers who requested sustainably sourced wood–one made an impression on Paul by requesting reclaimed teak for a bathroom in a cool little house up in the Hollywood hills. Paul says he’s liked learning about the environmentally friendly woods and finishes BTWW promotes.
As we ended our conversation, Paul told me his biggest take-away from working at Beech Tree has been the high level of quality. “I make good stuff, but this place has a high level of attention to detail. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to work here.”