The company was established in 2004 and was selected to participate in this critical project in support of Alaskan people threatened by climate change. Owner and Principal Dan Neumeyer is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Architecture Program. He brings over 30 years of residential and commercial Project Management and urban and suburban construction experience to the renovation. Besides serving local clients who prize JADE’s professional execution, efficiency and high quality craftsmanship, Neumeyer was an early supporter of the green building movement and serves as a design build instructor at Yestermorrow in Vermont.
The Kivalina Community Center renovation is JADE’s first project in Alaska. Given its location, all of the supplies must be counted out to the last hammer and nail and are sent by cargo ship. “It’s not like we can run to the local hardware store if we don’t have everything we need,” says Neumeyer. “And just as important, we are aware of the ecological impact that our presence and all we bring with us can have on the community.” Case in point: Neumeyer and the JADE team recognized that things like packing materials – piles of cardboard, plastic wrap and Styrofoam residue could offset the overall benefit of a renovated community center. “So we unpacked the supplies as best we could before loading the containers and sent them on their way. It was a big job but one we couldn’t ignore.”
JADE’s involvement in the Re-Locate project also ties Neumeyer’s current work with that of his lifelong mentor, Bill Coperthwaite. In 1971, Coperthwaite visited Kivalina and 19 other villages while on a trip to Alaska to learn about Native heritage and artifacts. His tour came to be known as A Traveling Museum of Eskimo Culture. The goal: Sharing artifacts with Alaskan children in an effort to help them recognize the beauty of their own heritage. “It’s possible that some of the children Bill met almost 50 years ago might still reside on the Island,” says Neumeyer. “Of course renovating a building that serves the Kivalina community is the reason we’re going. Meeting someone who encountered Bill so many years ago would be an absolute bonus!”