In 1975, John, his late wife Chris, and their five-year-old son Pinto inadvertently landed on the Vineyard. Their arrival marked an end to wandering hippie life and the beginning of South Mountain. Daughter Sophie was born in 1984. After inspiring and leading the development of Island Cohousing in the late 90’s, the family of four left Chilmark and moved in. For 45 years, John has devoted himself to creating, nurturing, and growing SMCo and a variety of public initiatives. These days, he concentrates on building capacity for the 2022 transition and sharing his expertise with others. John’s book Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, was published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2008. That faraway look in his eye means he’s either at a higher elevation, gliding through deep powder, or thinking about his beloved family (or Kim), or imagining what comes next for South Mountain.
Born in Atlanta to a family of (mostly) very loud and loving Italians, Rocco has been a white water rafting guide, pizza-slinger, sous chef, soccer player and coach. After serving eight years on the board of MV Youth Soccer, Rocco now coaches the MVRHS Girls’ Varsity team. As a member of the Timber Framer’s Guild, Rocco has built timber frame churches, barns and houses around the country, and he is a project lead and co-owner at South Mountain. His hobbies include hunting and tracking deer, with his son Gabriel and cooking and serving venison, with his daughter Madia.
Deirdre was born and raised in Europe and spent childhood summers in Vineyard Haven. After graduating from Brown University, with a degree in Computer Science, she returned to the island to work a variety of jobs (and briefly bum around the Caribbean) before settling at South Mountain. Since joining our team in 1995, she has inhabited a variety of roles, including but not limited to: bookkeeper, founder of our interiors department, chair of our management committee and COO.
Like so many of us, she feels enormously grateful to have spent her entire career in a place which allows her to do her best work, contribute in meaningful ways and share days with friends. As designated future CEO, she will focus on paying these gifts forward.
Deirdre lives with her husband, young son and Australian Shepherd puppy in a restored Oak Bluffs bungalow. After serving several board terms for the Vineyard Montessori School, the Oak Bluffs Library and the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, she has now "retired" to the "Small Boat Sunday" club.
As Director of the Architecture, Ryan works with John to oversee design, integrate Architecture with the Production and ET&E Departments, and guide the long-term direction of South Mountain design. He is responsible for all phases of architecture, balancing design inspiration with the realities of construction on complex residential and commercial projects. Ryan has also assisted with master planning efforts for such island institutions as the MV Museum, Island Grown Initiative, and MV Community Services. Ryan joined South Mountain Company in 2002, became a co-owner in 2009, and has been a thoughtful voice on our Management Committee since 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Wentworth Institute of Technology and is a registered architect in Massachusetts.
Son of a Cape Cod contractor, Matt grew up as a carpenter’s apprentice. After Wentworth’s Architecture program in Boston and France, he became an associate in an island-based architecture firm. Through the Martha's Vineyard Vision Fellowship he became a LEED-AP and pursued a diverse sustainability education at The Ecosa Institute (AZ), The Glenn Murcutt Master Class (Australia), and with the Biomimicry Guild (Costa Rica). In 2010, he and wife Christine bought an SMCo net zero home where they live with their two children. The experience deepened his appreciation for high performance design and scored him a job. As an architect for SMCo and a committee member for Island Housing Trust Development, he is focused on the legacy of our island's built environment.
“Married late middle age carpenter seeks ongoing relationship with chiropractor holding Red Sox season tickets, first 20 rows, right field roof deck or green monster. Must have functioning liver.” That’s what he says. We say he juggles more jobs than you can shake a stick at, takes on the tough ones, and keeps all our many Small Jobs clients (and their houses) happy. He lives down the road with wife Margaret and three kids and boy does he miss them when they’re gone.
Born and raised on a cattle farm in Brazil, Jean migrated to Connecticut in 1996. When we met him, he was working for a roofer on one of our jobsites. A hard worker and a fine carpenter, he joined SMCo in 2007 and quickly became a stalwart of our field crew. On weekends, you can find him riding broncs on the rodeo circuit. He loves it when he stays on for the full eight seconds. That doesn’t always happen, but Jean always looks on the bright side, even when he’s eating dust!
Born and raised in Paris, Brice is a graduate of les Compagnons Du Devoir, a highly regarded French institute of the trades. After eight years of studying and apprenticeships throughout Europe, he moved to New Zealand to follow another great interest - the outdoors - and met Massachusetts-raised Becky.
The two lived briefly in London/France (where Brice taught solar thermal, energy modeling, and HVAC design) before marrying and making a permanent home on Martha’s Vineyard.
Since moving to the island, Brice and Becky have welcomed two children, Hugo and Gwen, and moved into their new net zero house that they designed and built with the support of friends and family.
When he’s not unriddling complicated data, you can find Brice kitesurfing the Vineyard’s coves in a stiff breeze.
Mia grew up splitting her time between West Tisbury and the Philadelphia suburbs. As a teenager, she couldn’t wait to break free from the confines of the island. As an adult, she didn’t feel at home anywhere else.
After brief stints in San Francisco, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire, she returned to the Vineyard in 2019, bringing daughter Ada, husband Mark, and many years of bookkeeping experience, with her.
Having grown up the step-daughter of a woodworker, Mia feels right at home among the sights, smells and sounds of our in-house shop. Beyond SMCo, Mia is passionate about bees, baking and most of all, her family.
Phil grew up in a rural town outside of Boston. His path to becoming a craftsman began with working as a farmhand, restoring an old car, and various woodworking jobs. He graduated from college in 1988 with a degree in Environmental Design. Happy to leave school behind, he began a full-time career in the trades. Phil’s arc at SMCo has included carpentry, cabinet making, small wind, solar thermal and solar electric. To each and every task, he brings a positive attitude and commitment to excellence.
When he's not at SMCo, Phil can be found camping in the remote woods of New Hampshire with his wife and dogs.
Angie received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2001 and is a registered architect in the state of Massachusetts. She joined the South Mountain team in 2015, bringing 10 years of high-end residential design and development experience with her. Round our office and jobsites, she is known for her collaborative spirit, passion for modern, regionally appropriate design, and obsessive organizational skills. She resides in Vineyard Haven with her husband James (also an Architect) and two young daughters, Evelyn and Frances.
Curtis was raised on a farm in rural Connecticut. After college in New Haven, he served one year in the Army and five in the National Guard before moving to Boston to pursue a career in architecture. Somewhere along the way, Curtis realized his interest lay more in making than designing. He came to the Vineyard/ SMCo in 2003 as a carpenter, though we soon found out he was capable of almost anything is to do with tools, wood, and broken houses. When Curtis isn’t making himself invaluable to our Small Jobs team, he and wife Heidi, produce MV Sea Salt from their homestead just down the road.
Lin is a structural engineer with a wide range of experience. While his primary focus has been building design, his passion for solving complex problems has led to experience in forensic engineering, transportation planning, geotechnical engineering, and software development. Lin is a registered professional engineer in CT, MA, NY, and RI, and has worked on engineering projects throughout the United States.
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in the town where he grew up, Lin received the following degrees: Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering degree and Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering and Mechanics).
He joined SMCo after partnering with the company on the design and installation of his family’s home PV system, in addition to consulting on several building and energy projects.
Lin lives in Vineyard Haven with his wife Kelly, son Asher, and daughter Ayla, in the home they built with the help of family, friends, and co-workers.
Walking and sailing is where John does his best thinking. It was this love for the outdoors that challenged him to trade a budding finance career for the island where he spent teenage summers.
A decade of seasonal work at The MV Shipyard followed by several seasons at Big Sky Tents, coined “The Century Vacation” - 100 consecutive days off. John spent the early years traveling the America's solo, then with girlfriend Nevette (who became his wife in 2008). Now the two, and their young son, explore whenever possible.
Since 2012, John’s warm personality and detail orientation have been dedicated to South Mountain solar. As Energy Technology Services Project Manager, he is responsible for charting a seamless course from site assessment to interconnection for each and every client; no one is better equipped for the job. When he's not on your roof or touring the Town Halls, John is a meaningful contributor to our safety committee.
Newell Isbell Shinn
Newell grew up immersed in nature, working on timber frames and organic farms and roaming the hemlock and hardwood forests, swamps, and ledges of Hardwick, Massachusetts. Twelve years as a student, planner, and fundraiser at Earlham College, in Richmond, Indiana, steeped him in corn fields, midwestern niceness, Quakerism, and collaborative leadership. A four year turn at the helm of the family timber business back in Hardwick taught him about sales, residential construction, and leading in hard times. Now, Newell coordinates construction for South Mountain and serves on our Management Committee, always aiming to deepen the soul, improve the economy, and increase the ecological integrity of our shared work. He spends his free time playing with wife Jennie and son Jasper, working with neighbors in Island Cohousing, and eating food grown, gathered, and caught as close to the kitchen as possible.
Beth is a registered architect who arrived at South Mountain Company after 10 years as a sole proprietor of her own residential architecture firm. She brings to the South Mountain team a broad range of experience and enjoys the diversity that comes with her position. She is involved in multiple aspects of SMCo design work including lighting, plumbing, appliances, cabinets and built-ins, tile, and finishes. Beth also provides many of our clients with complete interior design services, including furniture and fabric selection, window treatment, upholstery, and custom furniture design. A New York City transplant, Beth has lived on Martha’s Vineyard for over 25 years, in a house of her own design, with her two teenage boys, Sam and Nicholas.
Sail boats (specifically the Shenandoah) brought Jon to the Vineyard in 1977 at the age of 19 - just as he was embarking on a quest to see the world by sail. Whilst waiting for a berth to open up, Steve Sinnett brought him round an SMCo jobsite. We valued his talent. Over the next 20-30 years, Jon worked full time as professional mariner. We wouldn't see him for ages, then, in his words “I would show my ugly face looking for work when I found myself stuck on the beach.” When Jon decided to quit shipping, he came back to SMCo for good, bringing a full complement of skills with him.
Ken laid the foundation of his carpentry skills working alongside respected Vineyard craftsmen in the 70's and 80's. Running his own business for fifteen years provided a deeper understanding of the building trades and allowed him to develop a broad range of technical and practical abilities. He joined SMCo in 1997 – initially doing field construction, then moving into the shop where he now specializes in stair-building and wood-turning. Raised on a farm in Northeast Iowa, Ken continues to honor the ideals of self-sufficiency that were instilled in him there. He and wife Juleann enjoy sharing their West Tisbury home with a variety of species from the animal kingdom.
Primo grew up here on Martha's Vineyard. Working for SMCo in the 90s was his first ‘real’ carpentry job. It didn't work out according to plan that first time, but as life happens, after years of travel, he found himself back on our crew in 2015. This time, we feel sure he’s here to stay.
When Primo’s not onsite, he enjoys volunteering, being a father to his boys, a coach, a friend, and staying grateful for all that life has to offer.
Justin washed ashore in the mid 90's after residencies in Cobleskill, NY and Portland, OR. He's been building things ever since he was a kid and enjoys the sense of accomplishment that comes with hard work and dedication.
Justin likes challenging hobbies among which he includes triathlon, mountain bike races, and marriage. He attributes his successes in the latter to his wonderful wife Akeyah. Akeyah and Justin live in Vineyard Haven, where Justin is also a volunteer firefighter, though he is quick to point out that he hopes never to come to your house in that capacity.
Peggy began working for SMCo as a carpenter in 1987, just out of college. She moved from job site to shop for a stint of building doors and cabinets, and then moved into the office where she continues to work today as a project manager in Small Jobs and production support. When she is away from this Island, Peggy spends time on a much smaller island off the coast of Maine.
John grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his time on the baseball field. In 2010, he moved to the Vineyard and spent six years working in the grocery and distribution industries before joining our solar installation team. Today, John is a veteran installer, working towards his journeyman electrician certificate. Off the roof, he resides in a SMCo house down the road, with wife Sophie and son Rockland.
Rob first heard about the Vineyard from a friend in Seattle. He came to check it out in the summer of 1994, met a girl named Mary and fell in love (with the island and the girl).
His career at South Mountain began in in the field, where he worked in carpentry, solar hot water, windows, doors and HERS rating, before transitioning into an office-based sales role.
As Director of Energy Technology & Engineering, Rob essentially manages a company within a company.
His passion, commitment, connectivity, and competence has allowed SMCo to touch the lives of and provide something meaningful for far more people than our architecture and building does. Additionally, his thoughtful service on the NESEA Board and within Amicus Solar Cooperative has extended our reach far beyond the island’s coastline. He also serves on our Management Committee.
After two decades of raising four kids in Oak Bluffs, the youngest of Rob and Mary’s children is approaching high school graduation.
Greg Milne is a registered architect and has been involved in architecture since 1999 when he began working with a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright. After spending his childhood in Vermont, and studying Architectural History at the University of New Hampshire, he received his graduate degree from the Boston Architectural College before starting his career in residential design. Greg is a talented architectural rendering artist and thoughtful contributor to the future of SMCo. He lives in Vineyard Haven with his wife Reade (the Edgartown Building Inspector) and children Greta and Felix.
Siobhán hails from Athlone, Ireland. Looking to broaden their horizons back in 1994, she and her husband made the huge leap from one island to another and landed on Martha’s Vineyard! Siobhán joined us in 2003 and became an Owner in 2010 when she realized that her roots had been firmly transplanted. She is one of our most passionate and committed owners, a member of our Management Committee, Leadership Team and chair of the Personnel Committee. No matter what she is juggling, we can always count on her for a smile and a kind word. Outside of work, she serves as President of the Tisbury School PTO and member of the Tisbury School Building Committee. She lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband Patrick and their three sons.
Ryan is a a recent MVRHS graduate, born and raised on the island.
Ceramics and running are major passions of Ryan's. He also knows his way around a kitchen, which he comes by honestly as his dad, Jack, is the high school's culinary arts instructor.
In Ryan's first week here, he broke a window, had a wardrobe malfunction (nothing a little zip tape couldn't fix!) and, most importantly, endeared himself to the crew with his willingness to work, his eagerness to learn, and his great attitude. We are delighted to have him aboard!
Marc is well known in the high-performance building world for deep thinking and his ability, as he says, to “never let ignorance stand in the way of expressing a firmly held opinion." He is a longtime student of making good buildings and is responsible for the performance of many of the best buildings in New England. After 20 years of consulting with us, he and wife Jill moved to the Island in 2010. After a life in the far north, he's very happy to have mostly traded driving a car for riding a bike. In the first edition of John’s book, The Company We Keep, he calls Marc “one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and inventive systems engineers I know.” In the second edition, he took out “one of.” He is simply the best, and pushes us all closer to excellence each and every day.
As a young child, Greg enjoyed exploring the woods on his Huckleberry Hound, while wearing a box on his head. He went on to study forestry, working in construction during the summers. After crabbing on a boat out of Kodiak Alaska (for a captain who became a lifelong role model), he returned home to Connecticut, cleared trees for building sites, worked as an assistant to the Westchester county forester, and broke his foot on the job. While in a walking cast, he met a fine cabinet maker. After 12 years working for that cabinet maker, he discovered SMCo through an article on in Fine Homebuilding, and moved with his family to Martha’s Vineyard. He now lives in Falmouth with his wife and daughter, and commutes on the newspaper boat across Vineyard Sound to our shop. He builds boxes but no longer wears them and the rolling rider has been replaced by a plug-in Kia. He has a serious addiction to perfection.
Like many a wash-ashore, Betsy spent most of her childhood summers on the Vineyard. As a result, no other place felt like home in her adult life. She traveled the country for various jobs, never putting down roots. When she finally moved to the island in 1996, she was surprised how fast and deep they sunk in. These days, she rarely wants to leave. She lives with her sweetheart of 20+ years in a cute little house in Vineyard Haven, and is thankful to have found meaningful employment in a place where she can walk to the beach.
Ryan is originally from the West Coast: Berkeley, CA and Seattle, WA. After college, Ryan moved to Montana to help his father build log homes. After bumping around several jobs, Ryan found himself "production framing" in Montana and spent his free time hunting, fishing, and snowboarding. When the chance came to reunite with family on Martha's Vineyard and escape the long, cold Montana winters, Ryan jumped at the opportunity to head East. Ryan arrived on the island in December of 2016 and found work with South Mountain three weeks later. Summer came and he traded his parka and snow boots for board shorts and flip flops. He has no plans of looking back.
DonE has been part of the South Mountain landscape since the age of 24. In his words, “I feel lucky to have grown up in the company of multi-talented people who have created some beautiful buildings together and had good times doing it.” He’s the one who's multi-talented. He not only works with wood in every way, shape, and form, he’s a superb machine operator and creative fix-it guy too.
Jim grew up in a third generation furniture repair and restoration shop on the East Side of Chicago, apprenticing under four uncles. The craft and passion engrained in him there carried him through ten years of challenging work in the Boston’s Vernon Street Studios, followed by a thirty year (and counting!) career at South Mountain. The extraordinary variety of experience he possesses means there’s nothing he can’t tackle. To each project, he brings energy and devotion that is contagious.
When he’s not sharing his gifts with us, wife Layne and children, Pearl and Taza are the main beneficiaries, shortly followed by his up-island town of Aquinnah, where Jim enjoys swimming, cycling, gardening, and volunteering.
Originally from upstate New York, Chris' early love of the outdoors led him to study Forestry and Biology at SUNY ESF. Combining his desire to create and his knowledge of trees led him to the craft of timber framing. For ten years, he worked with multiple timber frame companies, to broaden his understanding and hone his skills before returning to the Finger Lakes to work with a small building company run by fellow ESF Alumni. Together, they built small residential homes that employed better building practices with an emphasis on energy efficiency and quality woodworking. An opportunity to dismantle an old barn, repair it, and reconstruct it into a brew pub, became a catalyst for the creation of Revival Timberworks. Chris founded and operated this small business for three years before answering our "call for carpenters" in 2013.
As a South Mountain project lead, Chris values the opportunity to contribute, in meaningful ways, to a community that shares his love of craft, his desire to always do better and his respect for the natural world and all who inhabit it.
Rachel was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, and after MVRHS, earned a degree in Fashion Merchandising from Fisher College. She loved Boston, but the call of the island was too great to resist. Once back on the rock, it was clear fashion merchandizing wasn't going to take her everywhere she wanted to go, so she turned to the construction trades. Rachel and her three year old son Tatum live in Vineyard Haven in a modular home of her own making. They are both active at Vineyard Montessori, where he focusses on large motor, small motor, and cognitive development, and she volunteers on the fund development and Truckin' MV committees.
Faren has been a farm worker, a ski coach, and a student of ecological design, agriculture and forestry.
In 2016, she arrived on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, her hatchback and a newly minted masters from the Conway School.
Through service on Island Housing Trust’s Project Development Committee, the Town of West Tisbury’s Climate Advisory Committee, and a 2018 Vineyard Vision fellowship in affordable housing, Faren found her way to South Mountain. As a member of the Energy team, she takes pride in working alongside skillful colleagues in the pursuit of triple bottom line.
When she’s not crunching numbers, Faren she can be found tending to her many gardens (which compared to childhood in the Berkshires and farm work in Vermont) enjoy a delightfully long growing season.
Daughter of a community organizer, Abbie grew up in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley canvassing for whichever local initiative most needed a voice at the time. After graduating from the University of Mary Washington with a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Sustainability, Abbie took up her own torch to coach environmentally-minded students through their first political campaigns. During these years, she learned to recognize the power of storytelling. Martha’s Vineyard was only meant as stop on the crusade trail, but somewhere in between June and August of 2012, she fell in love with this little island and what its renewables could do in the rig of a wooden sailboat. Abbie now resides in West Tisbury with her boatbuilder husband Lyle, and takes great pride in telling the story of South Mountain.