Craig has been a skilled leader at RTP Block Builds since early 2014. Originally from Rochester, NY, Craig
lived in Pittsburgh while studying for his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University. After a brief time back in New York, he then moved to Philadelphia and bought a “fixer-upper” in South Philly.
What are your hobbies?
“I enjoy doing home improvement projects and building furniture. I've renovated my current house, and installed flooring throughout. Now I’m working on fun stuff like tables, bookshelves, and planters to make it more livable. I enjoy the process of turning something into my creation.”
You’ve renovated the entire kitchen. Are you into cooking?
“Not really - I have to cook to survive.” (he laughs as he says this) "But I do make an eminently edible mushroom and mozzarella risotto."
How did you get involved with RTP?
“Through a recommendation from the Arts and Business Council.”
What inspires you to keep coming back to the Block Builds?
“Comradery, teams working together… to bring together 300 people that have barely met each other and somehow make it work is impressive…it’s just amazing that it all works. It felt good to see the things we were working on contribute to potentially save people’s lives. Seeing that we prevent the threat of people falling down their stairs or freezing … we know that’s now not going to happen.”
So, you’re not from Philly – has being a Rebuilder made you feel differently about the City?
“I’ve been here 7 years – the last 4 or 5 working with you guys. Before that it didn’t really feel like my town. I didn’t really plan on staying. It’s made me feel much more connected to the City. How can it be your city if you don’t really know who the residents are? It’s helped me see this is what Philly is, I’m contributing to it and these are the real people that make up this town - not just the transient young people that live in South Philly or Fishtown.”
Any advice for people considering volunteering?
"Give it a try. I think you’re going to learn a lot....at the very least, how to take care of your own house, how to repair basic things, essential items…that every homeowner should learn. [The homeowners] are good people, hardworking …you don’t know why they’re in [this] situation …[many] lived in vibrant communities that over time have fallen into disrepair. And now it just needs someone to come in and make it safe again.”
Editor’s note: Craig is a member of our new Asthma Trigger Action Crew (ATAC), that provides monthly volunteer assistance in carpet removal and other asthma reduction services. See more about ATAC in the side bar. .