Congratulations to EHTcontributing author Robert Robillard, who has a taken a new position with the Boston Globe. He’s charged with writing and responding to readers’ questions on home improvement and construction related issues.
As many of you know, Rob is a general contractor, carpenter and operates a remodeling company located in Concord, MA. He is the editor of ConcordCarpenter.com and ToolBoxBuzz.com and uses his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry.
In addition to his websites and the Globe, Rob hosts the “Concord Carpenter” Cable TV Show, offering advice on home repairs and maintenance.
Below is Rob’s first introduction article to his Boston Globe audience:
Who the hell is Rob Robillard?
I can hear that question being said in my head by many of you, as I write this introduction. “Oh, he’s that new guy that is going to be answering your questions in the Sunday Globe, not sure why they picked him.” Whether I’m right or wrong, that’s the voice I hear as I’m writing this introduction.
Hi, my name is Rob and I’m the new guy.
My parents teased me saying I was born a mechanic and had “hands-on” in my blood, this was often said after I took apart a household item and put it back together again, often with extra parts remaining.
I’m a do-er! Growing up my Mom was the “do-er” in the family, and would tackle all sorts of projects, often dragging my reluctant dad into home improvement and basement remodeling projects. I learned at an early age how to use tools, and looked for every opportunity to buy, use and help people on building projects with them.
I’m not a master carpenter, I consider my carpentry skills to have been acquired by a hybrid of self-teaching, and mentoring, coupled with a voracious appetite to learn the trade.
In my late teens and early twenties I subscribed to every trade magazine and read every building book I could get my hands on. And yes I was, and still am, a weekly fan of Peter Hotton!
Twenty four years ago, at the age of 23, I completely gutted my newly acquired house and with the help of a seasoned carpenter, I began my apprenticeship, rebuilding it.
Later I worked for and apprenticed with some of the finest carpenters and cabinet makers I know, and these are the type of guys that have forgotten more about the trades than I‘ll ever know! About that same time I took building related classes, became a licensed builder and eventually started doing carpentry repairs and small building projects on my own. That was 18 years ago.
I love problem solving, tools, fixing and building things. Hours can go by when I’m in my workshop, and they feel like minutes, it’s these times that I seem to be without a care in the world.
Today, I am a general contractor, carpenter and the principal of a carpentry and renovation business, employing two carpenters, in Concord, Massachusetts. I strive to do quality work, and bring value to my customers. I always trying to surround myself with carpenters that have equal or better skills than me, or bring a different skill set to the table, I am always looking to get better.
I am also the editor of two tool and home improvement related websites called, ConcordCarpenter.com and ToolBoxBuzz.com.
These two websites provide tool and how-to information for professional contractors, remodelers and DIY enthusiasts. I enjoy using my knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry and try to follow Ben Franklin’s quote: “Well done is better than well said!”
I’m big into giving-back, and have been involved in many charitable projects including; Extreme Makeover, Habitat for Humanity, local town charitable building projects, two building projects in Honduras, The Ability Challenge and most recently I took a volunteer position as the tool safety and building trainer for Build America (PushAmerica.org). Build America is a six-week team event, where a college age team travels the country promoting and constructing accessible environments and camps serving the disability community.
Well, you can see I keep myself pretty busy, and this isn’t even all of the “hats that I wear.”
So why the Globe?
When I mentioned the Globe article to my friend Bill, he warned me about taking on too much. He stated, “Rob, when you have a full plate, and you add to it, stuff inevitably falls off the other end.”
That statement got me thinking about the Globe and more specifically, a Fred Pryor Seminar I took a few years back. The seminar was called “Managing Multiple Priorities,” and was basically a time-management class. I liked it so much I took it twice, it completely changed how I operate, in all aspects of life. In addition to learning to prioritize, be methodical and more productive, it taught me to first try to understand before being understood.
I view all my jobs or “hats that I wear” as agents to make me more synergistic, or at least that is a goal of mine. So to quote Anthony Robbins, a well-known life-coach and infomercial personality, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
So why the Globe? I say why not, it’s time to move on and do something different, help people solve problems. Don’t worry, I’m not the type of person that lets things fall off my plate. I’ll remove them myself!
So let’s talk Globe!
In my weekly article, I promise to take your questions seriously, provide you with pragmatic, realistic advice, updated industry information—and who knows? I may even sprinkle in some humor—so beware. I’m not afraid to give my opinion, but when I do, I make sure it’s based in fact—so let’s get to work!
— Rob Robillard
posted by M. Weber