Tanner sits down with Chris Briley of BRIBURN Architects of Portland to learn more about him.
Links to things discussed
BRIBURN, LLC - http://briburn.com/
BRIBURN Projects - http://briburn.com/category/projects
Marietta, Ohio - http://www.mariettaoh.net
Anglophile - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglophile
Ohio Riverboat Museum - https://mariettamuseums.org/ohio-river-museum
Campus Martius Museum - https://mariettamuseums.org/campus-martius
Brunswick Naval Air Station Museum - http://mrra.us/brunswick-naval-museum-open-for-visitors
Situation Hopeless But Not Serious - https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/situation_hopeless_but_not_serious
A Christmas Story Scene - https://youtu.be/_agOnqeEeXw
Our Sponsor: The Portland Pod
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The Green Architects' Lounge - https://greenarchitectslounge.simplecast.com
A Primer on Green Architecture - https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-green-architecture-and-green-design-177955
A Passive House - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house
Net Zero House Boats - https://inhabitat.com/incredible-net-zero-floating-home-cleans-the-water-around-it/
Instagram - http://bit.ly/chris-briley
Support this podcast
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Tracks featured are from Chillhop Records' "2019 Spring Essentials album which can be purchased here: https://chillhop.bandcamp.com/album/chillhop-essentials-spring-2019
Full Episode Transcript (90% Accuracy)
[00:00:21] My guest today is in a word famous.
[00:00:25] But maybe it's not the kind of famous that translates that well.
[00:00:28] I'm Chris Riley. I [00:00:30] am an architect in Portland Maine.
[00:00:32] Some may say a green architect or a sustainable architect in the world of sustainable architecture and passive houses. Chris Riley is a bit of a rock star. People in the industry know his face.
[00:00:43] They know his name and they know his voice because of the industry podcast. Green architects Lounge a monthly podcast that Chris co-host with his longtime friend Phil Caplin Riley's firm Raeburn LLC is responsible for means first net [00:01:00] positive passive house which is located in Falmouth. They've also built 43 North Bistro and the marina Lounge on Casco Bay. The Nature Conservancy in Brunswick the Cumberland animal clinic. And many other things. Chris for all of his relative fame is approachable low key and pretty happy go lucky it seems. He's also a member of the League of Maine podcasters a social group that I started late last year for podcasters living in Maine. And [00:01:30] so I was excited to get the chance to sit down with him one on one and get to know him a little bit more. The conversation started off with a bit about where he's from.
[00:01:39] If our answering where am I. Where I grew up where I went to high school and junior high as Marietta Ohio. So if you take Ohio fold it in half and put a pin through Cincinnati and then unfolded the whole would be through Cincinnati and Marietta probably sir historic little town people in Maine those who weren't born here then it's come [00:02:00] from all over the place.
[00:02:01] But Chris being from Ohio surprised me somewhat. I'll be honest I had Chris pegged for a native New Englander Connecticut maybe an Anglophile who liked to spend his quiet moments in warm wooden dens with drams of Scotch maybe a pipe and a frank Gehry coffee table book. I wanted to know how he made his way to Maine and so I asked about his dad.
[00:02:24] My dad was the curator of two museums. He was the Ohio River Boat Museum [00:02:30] and the campus martial museum.
[00:02:33] I still wasn't seeing it so I asked about his mom.
[00:02:36] My mom was originally from Maine. Well there we go. So my connection to Maine was I stole his summer here as a kid and think Maine is amazing and then you go back to humid Ohio. There's nothing to do and be like well why do we live here. Makes no sense. So I ice. I always had a great love for four Maine and so and my dad's also a Navy guy. Yeah. So they have retired [00:03:00] two tops in Maine and most guys when they retire they'll go get a maybe a job at the hardware store or something like that or you know find a retirement job or just retire like a normal human being but my dad decided he would start the Brunswick Naval Air Station Museum. They moved here right as the station had closed and everybody's like you know there was so much up in the air. What's what's it gonna be. What's it. Who's gonna do what. There and there are a lot of Navy guys who were like Wow [00:03:30] everyone's gonna forget what this was. You know they're gonna forget what people did and and how much it was a part of their lives and so my dad was like well guys you can start a museum here you know. So he just rolls up his sleeves and starts the museum.
[00:03:45] I now cared a lot less about how he got to Maine and a lot more about his retirement averse museum loving dad. I'd never heard of someone just up and starting a museum before. I mean sure it must happen someone has to start them but I never thought [00:04:00] that someone from Ohio could just show up in tops and Maine and will a museum into being overnight.
[00:04:06] He's a very kind loving always doing the right thing. Kind of a guy like like I always have in my head if you ever like what's the right thing to do here you can always say what. What would my my dad do. And usually you do that you're going to be doing the right thing. There was once I was in a little car accident I remember I was filling out forms or something this is why I was a kid in high school.
[00:04:28] And I remember realizing [00:04:30] when I got home oh I stole the cops pen and I thought that was a little you know as a juvenile way that's a little humorous. I stole a cop's pen and my dad without even really. Yeah. He's just like well you should return it you know. Not even a kid knows like it's a pet. No one's going to it you know it's fine it's a pen but that's just how my dad was. And growing up we're always amazed at this unveiling of the type of person he was like a good example like he's in a movie with [00:05:00] Robert Redford and Sir Alec Guinness called situation serious but not hopeless.
[00:05:06] You call this a prisoner of war camp.
[00:05:10] Here I go right back where I'm from where Bowers the eyeball jailer is none other than Alec Guinness freewheeling in his wildest wackiest comedy role as he gives his prisoners everything except the news that the war's been over for seven years. No wonder they call this picture [00:05:30] situation hopeless but not serious.
[00:05:33] Starring Michael Connors and Robert Redford and it was like back in the 60s where I remember them. They were like oh you know Dad's movies can be on TV tonight you know because they. Someone went through. You know it's like on TNT or USA or whatever you're like me on this you know. Sarah Guinness. Robert Redford this has to be a good movie. Put it on. It's a terrible terrible movie. He's just like. He just has a cameo. He's just you know he's an extra in it basically. But I remember as a kid be like What. [00:06:00] My dad's in a movie. Like a real movie. And and there's just things like you know like Dad where do you get the sword. You know like there's a sword in the house and he's like Oh that. Yeah. My my students got me that. What do you mean students. Well I taught fencing and you know how to fence. You taught fencing. It's like you have these constants like maybe he's. He's you know this mysterious guy that you never thought was mysterious.
[00:06:28] So Chris's dad is a movie star [00:06:30] of sorts a professional fencing instructor a multiple museum curator a museum creator. And as Chris puts it a Navy guy with so many interesting aspects to his father I had to follow up that series of questions by asking him about his mother which wound up leading to a pretty funny story about Chris peeing his pants at a too old to pee your pants age.
[00:06:57] There's this time where in middle school I [00:07:00] peed my pants. Now now Middle School is an old age peer pants. So there's an explanation here. Here's how it happened so like it's middle school and I'm in band and the band is situated in the gymnasium room. There's a story like this loft you know this room that's it it's sort of on the very very edge of the schools just like as band rooms are often R and R and R at the time the middle school director was was just a jerk just a mean guy. And [00:07:30] I really really had to go to the bathroom and I'd asked to go about him say no you should have gone before. And then at the same time there one we were doing like individual practice while having practice for the whole band. So so you were supposed to go into the back sound soundproof. I'm using air quotes soundproof you know closet place. That was also instrument storage and work on your piece of this thing [00:08:00] whenever and not that anyone cared or checked on and it was just a dumb thing so you went in there and I had to go so bad he wouldn't let it go and that was my turn. And this is right near the end of the period I had this brilliant idea where I would open the window and I would pee out the window and no one could see it there.
[00:08:18] Now you know it's just that if faced young like trees and like a road that was and we are way up there and no one would notice. I'm like I'm going to totally get away with this. And it's a really bad idea. And of course I [00:08:30] try to lift the window and I can't lift that window. It's like painted shut. And now I start to panic and oh my gosh I think I already internally set things in motion. There is no stopping it. And so yeah I. And so then I you know I'd say half peed myself half peed in the band room thing and then here's where I get lucky. The the alarm goes off and you know it's that was the last part of the day and you know school's out and [00:09:00] people are leaving no one notices this. I'm like I still have no idea what to do. And so I then I can tell like all the kids are kind of gone. Mr. Knox is still there. So I emerging he looks up sir surprise like oh crap you're still here and I think you know I you know Mr. Knox I haven't had an accident. Well I make sure you clean it up me. Closes briefcase and leaves. You know he was just insensitive. You know dude. [00:09:30] So I get this great idea. I go down in the lobby.
[00:09:35] I happen to have a quarter in my pocket. Thank God for the pay phone. Remember those. And I. You know. Sort of. I mean like the lobby of the gym basically and so there's like kids everywhere outside but they're not inside you know. So I call my mom who happens to have just gotten home and I'm like hey you know long story. I peed my pants. Of [00:10:00] course she's. Wait what's your middle school at. Yeah. Can you come and get me and come and get you know. And she's like Yes you know it's like I think about that now. Like her. I didn't have a thought about what she was doing and why. I'm sure she was like she read scheduled so many things to make to get over there and then and then this would be a tag back to my bully store while I'm waiting. I wait in the boys bathroom yeah. [00:10:30] As if and that's the perfect place to wait. Because I can just be in the stall when I'm in there like two guys come in. They are the same guys who've been bullied me all along but they don't recognize my shoes. Thank God because otherwise I would never live that one down anyway so my mom goes and rescues me you know and no one knows if I hadn't if I hadn't just told the story no one would know that story.
[00:10:52] That story reminded me a little bit of the holiday classic A Christmas Story. I'm sure you know it. And specifically of the scene where Ralphie [00:11:00] loses his mind and starts speeding up the neighborhood bully Scott Farkas as Grover Diehl and the rest of the school kids look on in disbelief at both. Ralph is victorious pummeling of a schoolyard tyrant and the string of inhuman obscenities that he's uttering as he pummels Ralph. His mom eventually shows up and breaks up the fight. Thank goodness for Scott and takes Ralphie home where she presses a core rag against the back of his neck and helps him to calm down before sending him to his room to [00:11:30] lie down and wait to be called for dinner. Ralphie spends the next hour or two it's not really clear in the story. Sitting in his room in a state of tears so existential dread as he knows the moment his father comes home and learns of his actions or worse his words that he'll be tortured and murdered for sure. When Mr. Parker played by the immutable Darren McGavin returns home Ralphie is called to the table and his father asked him about his day. Mrs. Parker played [00:12:00] by Melinda Dillon without missing a beat obscures the whole account and saves Ralphie from his dread fate. The relief that Ralphie felt in that moment is probably of the same sort that Chris felt when his mother. After having been asked to come and rescue her son from a life ruining embarrassment said yes I think that story and by that streaming Chris is not Ralph he's funny and light hearted as it was tells us everything we need to know. We're a large amount [00:12:30] of what we need to know about Mother Bradley. She's the sort of person who is simply there for her children and her family with no questions asked. And no matter what she's in the middle of I think a lot of moms are like this. Lucky for so many of us I'm going to take a quick break here and slip us into a sponsor message. And when I return we'll hear about Chris's podcast.
[00:12:55] If you're in our industry you know building or designing construction you [00:13:00] and you care about these things and you're inevitably like going to like these forums and seminars and things and you've got your name tag on you sign up for a session somebody is going to go up there they've got topic like Douglas makes good heat pumps and we're going to you know PowerPoint goes on and our podcast is nothing like that. Our podcast is like going to the bar afterwards with that guy and all these other you know peers who've worked with this stuff and and the real truth about all that comes out.
[00:13:29] We'll also [00:13:30] hear a little bit about his career as an architect. Learn some of the hallmarks of a passive house and hear about something called a net zero houseboat and how Chris is working to bring them to market. This episode is sponsored by the Portland pod. Maine's first commercial podcasting studio and in fact my business and full time job the Portland pod works with the owners of businesses both large and small who are [00:14:00] looking to add podcasting to their marketing strategy.
[00:14:03] Podcasts are an opportunity to establish one to one relationships with current and future customers based on trust and expertise. They are in a very real sense advertisements and they are advertisements which individuals interested in your industry or niche market both derive value from and voluntarily elect to listen to no matter what product you're selling or service you're providing [00:14:30] there is 100 percent a way to create an interesting genuine and valuable podcast based on it which will meet potential customers where they are and begin forming a personal relationship with those future and current customers.
[00:14:45] Marketing today is based on genuine engagement and proved value and expertise in the upfront no medium currently available provides that as affordably and effectively as podcasting does.
[00:14:59] So if you're a business [00:15:00] owner interested in forming stronger and more genuine relationships with the people you serve or hope to serve reach out to meet Tanner at the Portland pod by calling 2 0 7 2 9 5 6 0 3 9 or emailing Tanner at Portland podcast. Hope to hear from you. Let's get back to Chris
[00:15:27] So a while ago Chris got tired of listening to music while he [00:15:30] worked.
[00:15:30] You know I found myself in 2010 listening to podcasts because I was sick in my music because I was drawing I can listen to you know anything while I'm drawing not what I'm writing but but so I was sick of my music and I started listening to podcasts. I was like oh man it'll be great if there is a podcast about architecture. Even better sustainable architecture or building science or net zero or net energy buildings and there was nothing or if there were there there were a few things but they were terrible. So I'm like Hey how hard could it be. Right. So [00:16:00] I got like a Blue Snowball microphone and got two and I talked to my buddy Phil like Phil if you've got a good voice here. You know he's like have a radio experience and like really I get a college radio and so we talked about it and and he's like Yeah let's do it and we're like well we're gonna do it our way. So we're gonna mix drinks at the end we play like a song that you listen to in the studio whenever it's just so it's it's more informal.
[00:16:29] Chris started to [00:16:30] rattle off all sorts of facts about green architecture and I had to struggle against his enthusiasm in order to slow him down so we could talk basics about what exactly green architecture is and what it looks like.
[00:16:42] The word green we hardly use green anymore but back in 2010 that was it was a buzzword. But the problem is you go into somebody's green architecture means you just used bamboo flooring or yeah yeah you've got solar panels on your house so you must be green. So it's it's undefined [00:17:00] there's no real definition. And everybody seemed to have a green brochure for their product. That was there's a lot of greenwashing if you will.
[00:17:08] And so now people usually use the word sustainability or sustainable because that that implies that you know you're you are designing a building actually to cooperate with the environment and be a part of our culture and our life and and not a burden to it which most buildings [00:17:30] are. It's really hard to be to have that you have that epiphany as an architect where you were you love nature and you want to be sustainable and you realize holy crap I'm in an industry that just consumes so much energy and terrorist down so many trees and redeveloped so many blocks. And you know then all of a sudden you have to have this this moment where you sort of have an about face turnaround. You know there's a course correction of of wow I [00:18:00] have to do this differently and have to be aware of what exactly I'm doing. And when you start to have that passion then it totally changes your definition of what good design is. So you know a building that you know I still see some of these buildings on man in magazines or something where you know I give it an F plus you know I'll give it a plus because it's pretty but it looks crazy.
[00:18:25] But oh my God you know I can just I can just feel the access you know in [00:18:30] terms of either the materials or just the you know it's all glass all glass buildings really don't work most for the most part you can be very clever about it but it's it's not it's not the most energy efficient way to create an environment where you're comfortable.
[00:18:48] I asked about some of the things someone might do when building a new home to make it sustainable.
[00:18:54] Step one size and orientation. The sun rises and sets everyday and [00:19:00] gives you free light and free heat and so many of our houses completely ignore that so many of our buildings and blows my mind.
[00:19:09] And then the second most important thing I think is to get your ex to your building envelope correct which would be to make sure it's really well sealed really tightly sealed the line that we that you'll hear often is that the average house loses about 25 percent of its heat just through air leakage not not through doors and windows that are open but those [00:19:30] that are closed you know just that the leaking of your house with leaking is also the insulation increasing the insulation values of the house. So now you're bringing in heat free heat you're keeping it in and then three is getting now that you've done that. Now the systems that you put in your house are really small. Now you can use heat pumps little tiny heat pumps and you don't have you don't need a boiler. The windows are your boiler. So now [00:20:00] you just need backup for when the sun really isn't shining a passive house is designed to be a building that needs nothing else and it won't. It will be resilient and you'll be comfort comfortable in it.
[00:20:12] Maybe you'll be a little chilly if you hadn't you know if you're putting no energy into it except for the energy you need to like provide fresh air for yourself. So like a house like that 9 degrees you can still be inside with the heat not on and in a long sleeved shirt and you're just [00:20:30] fine absolutely fine. But that takes a lot of skill to get and you've probably invested a lot of money in the envelope at your house you've done everything else correctly but then you have those days like after that nine degree day then that sunsets and you have a snowstorm with wind and all that and you might have like four days without that Sun helping you out. And so at that point you know in Maine you really don't have a house that's completely autonomous. You need something like a heat [00:21:00] pump that can you know add a little bit of heat to get you through it. The common thing that we say about a passive house is that you can hit it with a hairdryer.
[00:21:09] I know it sounds unbelievable. But Chris science checks out all over this great nation of ours and well beyond that the landscape is dotted more and more frequently with passive type homes they don't look traditional in most cases but I imagine that's because they don't operate the way we've come to think of as traditional as far as [00:21:30] homes are concerned. Instead they look like part of the broader landscape like something that belongs there. It really is quite amazing stuff but not as amazing as the last thing Chris and I discussed at least not to me. And dear listener if you are all about minimizing your life and going off the proverbial grid. But maybe you like the ocean more than the woods. You are really going to love what Chris Riley is currently working on net zero houseboats [00:22:00] you know on the West Coast houseboats are everywhere but where are they.
[00:22:05] Where are they you know in Maine. Where are they.
[00:22:08] You know in Portland Harbor nowhere nowhere as crazy to me because we're in a housing crisis and it's really easy to do houseboats. But here's the thing.
[00:22:19] You know that your typical houseboat is has some connotations to it some some baggage. Like in the boating community. It's the same thing as it is a trailer park. You [00:22:30] know like imagine these marinas where the most expensive yachts pull in and all this stuff and just walking on the dock and there's some guy with this box on a raft and he's figured out how to just live on the cheap and use in his lawn chair drinking and Bud and his wife beaters guy doing whatever and and you know marinas like now. You know they make their money off of selling yachts and turnover and servicing boats. Not really off of you know the dock space so much so they're marinas [00:23:00] don't like them. The Portland Harbor Commission sure as heck doesn't like them because you know there was like a guy tried to you know start a whole camp of them you know. You know those shacks on rafts and you know rent out kayaks and then they're like Yeah. First storm we have with people here you know from Ohio I've never been out on the water and they're like we're gonna be rescuing people left and right. No no. Shut it down. So they wrote a whole bunch of rules to not have it define what a houseboat is with a floating home is and they ban it from the Portland Harbor.
[00:23:30] And [00:23:30] a lot of communities have done that. However you can still have them in marinas and they can still be watercraft. So I know I have this passion for it because I like to sail by the way as a hobby. And so I love being on the water and doing that. And I just thought Man you know the tiny home movement you know the Venn diagram of coastal living you know tiny homes and you know houseboats just it's this perfect place that just like Portland Maine actually Maine itself there's [00:24:00] just so many nice little coves and and lakes and you know marinas and things where a really cool really modern boat that actually is autonomous you know has solar panels on it and charges of battery has a little electric drive and enough juice to keep you warm on those nine degree days but so you can be out there you know in frigid water temperature and all that stuff and you'll be right downtown in your houseboat the cost less than your house and be less [00:24:30] than your condo even that you can get down here. So it's like there's there's a real market there and I'm working on design. I've got a couple of designs and teaming up with some people and we're gonna make some net zero houseboats and coming soon to a harbor near you. And that's the plan.
[00:24:46] You know I wouldn't mind having a second podcast studio right in the middle of Casco Bay. Great location mobile easy access to the porthole and commercial street pub two of my favorite places in that area.
[00:24:59] Parking [00:25:00] would be tough though.
[00:25:05] Thanks for listening to the Portland speaks podcast this week. And thanks to our guest Chris Riley of Bry burn architects at 28 Maple Street right in downtown Portland. You can find bribe earn online at bribe burn scum. That's B are I b u r n dot com or on Instagram at bribery an underscore architecture. If you like to reach [00:25:30] out to Chris about net zero houseboats. Passive home and office design. Or maybe about his podcast The Green architects Lounge which can be found on items by the way. It's best to do so via Instagram by following Chris at Chris underscore underscore that's to underscores. Riley Riley is spelled b or I L E Y. If you're looking to support the Portland speaks podcast to help keep our releases a bit more regular you'll notice [00:26:00] we're nearly a month since our last episode before this. Consider throwing us a couple of bucks we are Venmo. We use your contributions to buy time at our studio so that we don't lose money producing the show. Each episode costs us one hundred and seventy dollars to produce and if each of our listeners gave just one dollar each a week we'd be able to release episodes every week. We actually have five more episodes already recorded but we haven't had time to put them all together. You can find us on Venmo [00:26:30] under the username. Portland speaks all one word. Thanks again to Chris Riley for sitting down with me and to you for listening. Take care and see you next time.
A conversation featuring Katie Shorey of Startup+Maine. A woman with a great amount of passion for the Maine startup community - helping it grow and reach its full potential - and an unbelievable work ethic.
Purchase tickets to 2019 Startup+Maine Conference: http://bit.ly/startupmaine2019
Checkout Startup+Maine's website: https://startupmaine.org
Katie Shorey in the Press: Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, Grow Maine, and Anania Media.
White Mountain National Forest Service: https://www.fs.usda.gov/whitemountain/
Kancamagus Highway: http://www.kancamagushighway.com/
Beth Israel (Boston): https://www.bidmc.org/
Maine Med: https://mainehealth.org/maine-medical-center
Bridgton Hospital: https://www.cmhc.org/bridgton-hospital/
Kathiann Shorey at Lake Region Vocational Center: https://lakeregion.mainecte.org/staff/kathiann-shorey/
Ron Shorey (Retired): https://www.northeastwildfire.org/awards-2
Becoming (Michelle Obama): https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Michelle-Obama/dp/1524763136
Fryberg Academy: https://www.fryeburgacademy.org/page
Saint Lawrence University: https://www.stlawu.edu/
Transforming Communities: http://www.transformcommunities.org/
Susanna Welford: https://runningstart.org/about-us/board-of-directors/susannah-wellford
Running Start: https://runningstart.org
#Credits and Mentions
Written, Produced, Narrated, and Engineered by Tanner Campbell of The Portland Pod.
Music used with permission from Chillhop Records. Tracks featured come from various artists and can be found on the Spring 2017 Essentials album. You can purchase that album here: https://chillhop.bandcamp.com/album/chillhop-essentials-spring-2017
A special thanks to SoPoCo.Works, South Portland's premier co-working space for creatives for sponsoring this episode.
###Show Notes are automatically generated by Sonix.ai and are accurate up to 95%. If you have questions or need clarification for anything discussed in this podcast, please reach out to the Portland Pod via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[00:00:15] My name is Katie Shorey. I'm from Sweden Maine which is in western Maine. I'm the. Business and community liaison for People's United Bank and I'm also the very proud president and chairwoman of startup Maine.
[00:00:28] Katie is known about town as one of the hardest working women or humans really in the city of Portland. Her dedication to the furthering of Portland's success through a relentless near obsessive support of entrepreneurs and their businesses is nothing short of inspiring. She just doesn't stop. As someone who has spent the last year waking up at 3 a.m. and working until 9 pm almost every day to launch a now successful small business few people can appreciate her drive and ambition more than I do. And so when Katie and I were put into contact I already knew who she was and I was excited to get to know the person behind the work ethic.
[00:01:13] I had a really wholesome childhood. I had a mother who was a nurse Director of Nursing at Bridgeton Hospital. My dad was a forest firefighter for the White Mountain National Forest Service very stable happy home. Yeah that was my life.
[00:01:30] In addition to that wholesome beginning Katie's parents proved to be two stand up examples of strong work ethic and selfless community service.
[00:01:41] My dad worked for the White Mountain National Forest Service right off of the Kancamagus Highway over the border in New Hampshire and he he was the recreation manager so he did anything from managing the parks and making sure that the staff that was going away on fires was Were well-trained with their pack tests and oftentimes in the summer he would he would be gone and fighting forest fires and in other parts of the country in Montana and Wyoming and California.
[00:02:16] I'm pretty sure he was actually at the Yellowstone fire of nineteen eighty eight when I was a very young young child so he was definitely boots on the ground. He was.
[00:02:27] I remember him telling me he was too too tall to be one of those jumpers that went out of the out of the plane like he didn't fit the bill like the size and the weight.
[00:02:36] But he was boots on the ground from the outside looking in and having not grown up with parents in high physical risk type jobs myself. I wondered what from her perspective it was like for her and her mother to have her father out of the home doing that kind of work so frequently.
[00:02:53] You know I don't think it resonated with me so much but my mother who is this very at times can be anxious but like the nurse who knows like the worst of the worst scenarios she I'm sure she was she was scared.
[00:03:08] But my father has always been very communicative so always checked in with with her. But I'm sure he had some stories some that he probably withheld but some that he he shared with her. But he was she always trusted him and knew that he was gonna be as safe as possible. But there were times where oh man we can go back into some some funny stories but like when I was young up in my bedroom a tree fell on the house when my dad was gone and my mom was of course like God why is my husband not here to deal with this or she had a rogue rooster who was like attacking her every time she went in the coop to try to get the chicken so she just called called his friend to take care of that situation.
[00:03:47] Rogue roosters necessitating the enlistment of neighborhood support and rescue teams that does feel pretty wholesome. But Katie's mother wasn't a housewife whose days revolved around the wrangling of rowdy fowl. Although some days it certainly did I suppose mom was a nurse.
[00:04:05] My mom's a nurse she worked at Beth Israel in Boston made her way to Maine med and then they were looking at school districts and when they were trying to start a family and because my dad worked over in New Hampshire they were trying to find a location that worked for both of their commutes so she was a nurse approached and hospital worked her way up to Director of Nursing and vice president of Bridgeton hospital and then after the merger because they actually had to be called Northern Cumberland Memorial Hospital after the whole merger she actually decided to take a little bit of a career change and she actually I think this was under Angus King.
[00:04:47] They had a budget to have these school health coordinators so they were incorporating health into the curriculum at the at school so she did that for a while when I was in middle school she was there for a few years and then she went to become.
[00:05:03] She's now a teacher at a vocational school in Naples Maine so dad is off fighting forest fires saving lives property and public land while mom is managing the home and being a nurse working to climb the ladder and saving lives of her own I imagine raising children is hard enough without having incredibly demanding careers steeped in life or death scenarios. But the more I spoke with her the more Katie shared examples of her parents being pretty stellar in their willingness to put others before themselves. Of course that didn't mean there weren't those typical teenage first parents arguments.
[00:05:43] One in particular Katie still thinks about to this day I'm young right like I'm I'm gonna prom at an age that I probably shouldn't have gone to prom and I I was I think I was in eighth grade and I can understand going to prom in ninth grade but I went in eighth grade with this junior and my mom she was there earlier in the day taking photos with all the other moms of us in our dresses and getting ready to go. But then I show up at Mount Washington Hotel and I walk in and I see my mom hiding behind a plant. So I got a little upset that she had.
[00:06:24] Mind you this was a far drive from Sweden. I mean it's it's tall it's like 45 maybe even an hour. I can't even remember how long it takes. It's out in New Hampshire somewhere but I just remember being mean to her that she showed up and invaded my my little life privacy there for for a night that I was just supposed to have a few hours by myself. I just think that I was just being a young brat and I was kind of embarrassed because I was probably one of the only moms or one of the only people that had moms there so I was just I think I just like laid into her. And I was mean and I think maybe I made her cry. There were there are some times that definitely haunt me that I I hope that I can just forgive myself eventually.
[00:07:07] But we we have blossomed into a beautiful beautiful adult relationship. And I'm so happy about that.
[00:07:14] While Katie didn't mention any such incidents between her and her father I'm sure they existed. Teenagers are as any once teenager will tell you difficult to get along with sometimes after all. She does however paint her father as being just as influential on her life as her mother. She remembers him always working on stuff to around the house and around camp.
[00:07:37] We have a family camp and it's been in the family since the 1920s and so we grew up there it's only 30 minutes from where I grew up in.
[00:07:46] In Sweden it's in Hiram Maine on the small pond and I have these memories of him working on the little fishing a little putt putt boat or a little tin boat or putting the sailboat up with my grandfather and he's very handy so he will always be fixing things at the camp or like making the shutters fit better cleaning up the pine cones and he's just always kind of like puttering around like making things work better.
[00:08:17] And so I just have these memories of him. And it's funny because I look at my grandfather and that's what he's doing now at 80 80. No no no sorry. He's 93 years old and my dad's kind of just the same thing. He likes being he likes being at camp and having some downtime but doing work because he can't ever really sit cannot ever really sit down.
[00:08:35] That sounds like someone we all know. I won't give it away but her name rhymes with Smadi Mori and she's on this podcast right now.
[00:08:44] I'm very close with my father he instilled in me a lot of a lot of things to this day that I still carry with me about communication and just values and hard work and I wouldn't even say I wasn't I wasn't a a a daddy's girl as you would as you would call it but he was very involved in in my life early on. I mean I I remember him making. He was the one that would make my my lunches before I went before I went to school.
[00:09:16] I remember him bringing me to basketball practice and being like Do you have good hair plastics for when you're playing basketball. Like he would be like you would ask like very funny dad questions to make sure that I was that I was ready and prepared at all times. He made sure that I had all the opportunities that my brother did and he wanted me to be as aggressive as everyone else out on the field hockey or whatever field that I was on go Kate.
[00:09:49] I could I can hear it to this day.
[00:09:50] I mean even above my coach I can hear whatever decibel he was yelling at in his booming voice. I can hear him cheering me on and telling me to you know just hustle hustle.
[00:10:02] But more than just good parents. Katie had another inspiring family member in her life.
[00:10:07] Her aunt Vicki my mom. She was a one of five children from a Italian family. Made maiden name. Their last name.
[00:10:16] Her maiden name was Ocialini and my aunt lived near my Uncle Victor.
[00:10:23] My Aunt Vicky lived in Arlington Massachusetts and we would just see them in the summer times over Christmas over holiday and they had two young kids and she was just one of those women there was just very as an aunt was very actively involved in my life.
[00:10:39] You know she asked me about and it's funny looking back now knowing that you're told now to to you know don't tell don't comment on girls that they're pretty and they're beautiful.
[00:10:49] But I tell them that they're smart and ask them what they're reading and ask them what their ambitions are.
[00:10:53] And she was always like that and asking me about that my school ambitions and what I wanted to do.
[00:11:02] But Aunt Vicky would be taken from her young family and Katie in an unexpected instant.
[00:11:08] So I was I was a senior in high school and it happened very quick. I saw her at Christmas and then by. I think it was New Year's Eve or New Year's. We got a call that she had had been having some issues she was coughing up blood. So her husband took her to the hospital. So that was New Year's Day. And she had had melanoma 12 years prior and her arm but they had taken it out gotten gotten it taking care of it.
[00:11:39] And unfortunately it had just spread to her her liver and her lungs. And she was gone not even two weeks later.
[00:11:50] This brought a lot of perspective. Very quickly to Katie she remembers Vicki as she remembers her mother and father on Vicky put others before herself and sometimes many times at the expense of her own ambitions or desires seeing her die before she got to do many of the things she wanted to do with her life. It affected Katie deeply feeling like it was too on the nose not to mention I pointed out her own work ethic and how based on things we discussed up to this point which didn't make it into the final cut of this episode. She was putting many things before herself and her own needs and or desires. There was only a brief pause as she considered this as it wasn't the first time she'd done so.
[00:12:39] It's a few things I think about.
[00:12:41] Am I putting enough time into my my own self and the things that I want to do have a relationship I have luckily I'm near my family. But do you. Are you taking breaks are you. Are you really taking some time to hone in on what and what you need and really taking time to take a break.
[00:13:02] I was I'm actually reading Michelle Obama's book right now called Becoming and she talks about Barack and how she's like I married this guy who has like no concept about like saying no and he just says yes to things because he's like so enthralled by the idea or the partnership or like what could become. And I'm like oh crap like I do that like I just I want I'm like oh you there's this thing that you're working on this initiative that can make Maine better can help us partner with this this and this and I'm like.
[00:13:34] And I say yes because I just I'm so excited by it all I hope you're enjoying my conversation with Katie Schori and that you've taken the time to listen to the other conversations featured on this podcast. We're less than 10 episodes old but we've already had some wonderfully interesting and delightful guests on the court in this week's program Brant Daedalus for example the newly opened Rose confection bar on exchange and middle Pete Levitt of Levitt and Sons Matthew Perry of B.C. music and adverse effects. Kyle the months of good to go studios in Sullivan and down East and some others well worth your listening to and getting to know if you have already listened to these episodes and enjoyed them. Have you perhaps considered supporting the podcast. We rely on support from listeners like you and for just five dollars a month you can help keep this program on the Internet airwaves. Together we can help keep these conversations going and avoid inserting those noxious ads that no one likes hearing. For more information on how to become a supporting patron of the show head over to Portland speaks. All patrons receive a bumper sticker and a T-shirt in their first three months of support. I appreciate having you as a listener and I'm thankful that you enjoy the program.
[00:14:58] Now let's get back to Kate.
[00:15:04] Eventually of course Katie left home and she set out to figure her life out to figure out who she was going to be and what she was going to do.
[00:15:14] I left Fryberg Academy and I attended St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. I wouldn't have known about that school but my headmaster told me to check it out his son went there and I went one beautiful spring day and attended a class and met people on campus and I just.
[00:15:32] It was a really really really good fit for me. A beautiful place like unbelievable campus. I'm actually going back in March and I just can't even wait to see it. But it was one of those quads and fields in those like historic brick buildings when you drive on campus it's it's it's stunning. I started to take some biology classes.
[00:15:53] I liked science I was taking all the science courses I was thinking at one point nursing not my thing on the college level. So I I took a American politics class and that really opened my eyes for me.
[00:16:10] I think I had this untapped interest in in in specifically Democratic politics. But just like understanding how it worked in our in our country.
[00:16:21] And and it just I took it from there.
[00:16:25] And just like that her fire for politics was ignited.
[00:16:29] So I learned about this program called Transforming communities.
[00:16:34] It was a semester at American University in DC. There was somebody that I am still very close with to this day. He was the student government president at the time at St. Lawrence and he had a internship and a job in DC and he was like you need to come check out this program.
[00:16:53] And so I did this program transforming communities it was all about public policy at the local state and national level. And that really hooked me. And looking back it's like oh transforming communities like how do we make communities better and thrive with all the things that are changing. And with you know we have crime to deal with and there's we have all people of different backgrounds and different income levels and how do we have a how do we have communities and a culture that will allow them to thrive as their as their own people. So that was a that was a really interesting semester. And then I did a few internships after that in the summers.
[00:17:34] And that led Katy to an initiative called running start.
[00:17:38] I met this woman. Her name is Suzanna Welford and she at the time was running. She had just started this company called running start. She was working out of her house out of her attic. And I actually had already had an internship set up but I was like I'll go to this internship fair see what this is about. See what we'll see what's out there. And I met her and we just had this amazing kinship and I was like I need to work for you. So that was I think 2007 into 2008 and I actually asked her I think on the third day on the on the job. I was like Can I come work for you for the summer. So I extended and worked for her through another three to four months that summer. And so running start was a group that inspired and trained women to run for office political office. They targeted women specifically under the age of 40 because there are already such a small number of women that are that are running for office but specifically under the age of 40 foreign food between in 2013 a job offer took her to San Francisco but only briefly when I was still in D.C. I landed a job where I was able to work remote and so I was about a year so I was in San Francisco working for this technology coalition and I had a relationship that went sour and I was sort of floating around figure out what I wanted to do. And it was June so I said well I'll just go back to Maine for the summer.
[00:19:19] I'd be willing to bet that 50 percent of Maine's population is made up of people who come back to Maine. It's one of the many charming qualities of the people here. Well traveled but with a strong love of home.
[00:19:31] So I came back to Maine and it was promoted on TV but I heard about this conference at the time. That was then called Maine startup and create week. And I had no idea that Maine had a startup community let alone startup conference.
[00:19:50] It's it's just so funny looking back because every a lot of states do like Nebraska Omaha does like Little Rock Arkansas does. But if you're not in it and really know kind of like what's going on on the ground you don't know that it's going on around you with people like starting businesses left right and starting these really cool companies like this. So I just didn't know that it existed. And so I sort of just raised my hands and hey I I'm I'm just got here like your conferences next week can I just. Can I volunteer and help out there. And I just I just jumped in. And so I attended the conference in Portland this is the summer of 2015 and I met a ton of not only business contacts but flick friends to this day like people that I volunteered with or people that I just met in passing at that event.
[00:20:41] I'm still friends with them to this day. And it was really impulsive but I signed a lease at the end of that week and I moved to Portland.
[00:20:50] She just moved to Portland just like that and that's when she got involved with Startup Maine startup Maine is a five a one c 3 organization that's focused on helping entrepreneurs take it to the next level and to really inspire them to think bigger and better than what than what they're currently currently doing.
[00:21:13] And so we have an annual conference every year that focuses on inspirational keynotes and top notch content be it panels or workshops and a lot of networking and intentional collisions for people to really like make meaningful connections.
[00:21:29] I had never heard the term intentional collisions before so I asked for a bit more clarification about what startup Maine does we are what I would call a convener.
[00:21:40] There are so many organizations in Maine that really help entrepreneurs get funding or get mentors for example Maine Center for Entrepreneurs score SBA.
[00:21:51] They have workshops and and mentorship programs MCP has the top gun program. And then there are organizations like Maine Technology Institute CEI ventures Maine angels Maine P TAC DCD all Department of Economic and Community Development. They have grants and loans available for entrepreneurs that need money it could be two hundred fifty thousand dollar development loan from Maine technology institute or it could be just a small twenty five hundred dollar grant from DCD to try to try something new. So we are very fortunate that we have great relationships with all of these organizations and also the service providers like the law firms the accounting firms the banks they all can convene at one time of the year to really showcase what their offerings are what their expertise is and then to say like hey if you need if you need this like we are the we are the partner for you.
[00:22:53] So I organized this event during the conference. We have a happy hour with a good main beer food and then we have exhibitors around around the room so people can walk around and this year our theme is going to be very straightforward. It's going to be money mentors jobs because before we often have like a job fair or we had a research and development showcase or we just had only capital resources but people are at different stages like you might need funding. So we want to showcase a bunch of those. But for you right now it might be really important for you to have a mentor and to have somebody that navigated this or somebody that worked at Google and figured out how to get this type of like product or technology off the ground like that is more relevant to you. And then there's other people who are more startup curious and they want to know like what kind of jobs are out there and what's available.
[00:23:44] And so we want to highlight and showcase some of the people that are hiring like crazy right now.
[00:23:49] And with that it is time to wrap up. So I asked my final question I asked what about Main makes her feel hopeful at the moment and what is it that she's hoping for.
[00:24:00] So for me I'm really excited about what Janet Mills and her team is is is gonna do. I mean I know politics can be so divisive but she is appointing some really smart individuals to be commissioners of her different initiatives and now she has Hannah Pingree as the Office of Innovation in the future. So just the fact that she's thinking a little bit more broadly and forward thinking I'm really excited about that. And I just I want to follow what they're doing and I think that they'll hopefully hone in on some of the challenges that that everyone talks about from affordable housing to transportation to getting talent here. I was I was reading an article about how Standish Maine had some very successful home buying numbers this year and Standish is like 20 miles out. It's on its way toward toward western Maine where I grew up and it's near so big lake. But it's it could be like 45. It's a 45 minute drive into into downtown Portland from from from Standish so it's like why know why are people living there. There must be something about that.
[00:25:05] So I really hope that there's this resurgence of of those rural rural towns because Sweden where I grew up was 400 people and we we didn't even have a store let alone a stoplight.
[00:25:20] But we are part of this for it for Freiburg Academy we are part of this like eight town collective that all uses 1 1 high school.
[00:25:29] So I remember the glory days and everyone seemed you know employed and whatnot but there was definitely a period of time where like people were leaving or like businesses were closing. And if we can have better broadband or if we can really embrace like remote work and people can do more from home. I think that will be a huge success for the state. And I know that there are initiatives pushing that right now from Waterville Tim to Melinda Duckett and the like architect and region like there are people that are saying like you know come here move here live here you can do like work remotely and have a great life here so I'll be really interested to see how how that unfolds.
[00:26:11] I'd like to thank you for listening to this week's episode of the Portland speaks podcast and to invite you to both subscribe and leave a review on high iTunes or on whatever platform you're using to listen to this program reviews help others get a sense for the quality of the podcast and whether or not they'd like to give us a try. So it's a great free way to support our growth the Portland speaks Podcast is produced and written by Tanner Campbell and recorded at The Portland Pod Maine's first commercial podcasting studio. If you're a podcast her looking to improve the sound quality of your program and gain back a little bit of your time by outsourcing your editing to a trustworthy and talented podcast engineer. Consider the Portland pod. Find out more at Portland podcasts or by following them on Instagram at the Portland pod. Thanks again for listening. See you next time. Take care.
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Music: Music featured in this episode includes three tracks from Chillhop Records' Winter 2016 Essentials album. This music is used with permission from Chillhop Records and can be listened to and purchased here: https://chillhop.bandcamp.com/album/chillhop-essentials-winter-2016
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