Certified Passive House Consultant
Faculty, Building and Construction Technology Program
Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Energy & Materials Consultant
Kent Hicks came to Western Massachusetts in the 1980’s to study with acclaimed British furniture-maker, David Powell. After mastering the art of fine furniture making, he began building and renovating residential and commercial properties with the same commitment to craftsmanship. Today, his portfolio includes hundreds of beautiful, energy efficient new and renovated homes, as well as authentic historic restorations.
Kent’s commitment to mitigating climate change and passion to learn the best practices in building science have made him an innovative leader in the construction of high-performance buildings. From the Energy Crafted houses of the 1990’s to today’s Deep Energy Retrofits and Zero Net Energy buildings, Kent has garnered decades of technical expertise and a thorough understanding of emerging challenges, such as moisture management, superior indoor air quality, material toxicity and life cycle assessment of product and process.
Kent’s search for the most responsible way to build led him to Passivhaus design, a standard that combines rigorous energy efficiency specifications with comfort and precision engineering quality.
Lynn is co-owner of East Branch Studio and assists with human resources, public relations and management decisions. Lynn is passionate about reducing individual carbon footprints. She is grateful to be living on the East Branch of the healthy Westfield River.
Debra has 20 years experience in finance and administration for service industries, including; construction, real estate, design-build, architecture, interior design, architectural media, and banking. She specializes in growing small businesses to mid-sized. She has embraced the tiny house (& remote work) movement and has been an off grid yurt dweller in eastern NY since 2018. She speaks both artist and business and has a parallel arts and entertainment background; is an eligible member of Sag-AFTRA for television/film and bona fide member of Actors Equity for stage, originating leading roles in dozens of new musicals, independent films and even a tv pilot or two. Her singer/songwriter style could best be categorized as “soul” (though she sings in all styles-as required) and has plans to add novelist to her repertoire.
DESIGNER, PROJECT MANAGER & CARPENTER
Ben gained the base of his carpentry experience in the Boston area after receiving a Master’s in Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology. He enjoys the collaboration, problem solving and creativity that goes into building a beautiful, high-performance house. Outside of building/making things he enjoys biking, basketball and staying active.
CIVIL & STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
PROJECT ASSISTANT & DESIGNER
Adam grew up in Portland, Maine. His interest in green building started with a single design class at his local community college in 2015, and moved to Massachusetts in 2018 and enrolled in the construction technology program at UMass Amherst. When he graduates, he aspires to design and build buildings to the highest performance standards.
BOOKKEEPER & GRAPHIC DESIGN
Véronique has 29 years of experience as an administrative and executive assistant in the Netherlands and the US. When she is not at the East Branch Studio office keeping the books, she works with her clients on social media and graphic design, and enjoys working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Véronique is also a mosaic artist and dabbles in figurative drawing and watercolor painting. Her passion is traveling and languages.
Emily is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a degree in Building and Construction Technology. As a native to Western Massachusetts, she feels obligated and honored to be part of the future of sustainable building and is interested in exploring innovative design approaches that can be melded with fine craftsmanship. In her free time she enjoys restoring furniture, rummaging through antique shops and immersing herself in nature.
ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER
Hala is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Sustainable Building Systems. She is also LEED Green Associate certified. She enjoys organizing the complex and learning new ways of building more environmentally friendly.
SHOP MANAGER, WOODWORKER/CARPENTER
Tom has been a craftsman for the last 40 years and a professional woodworker for the last 30 years. Starting as a classically trained fine furnituremaker, He is also an avid boatbuilder, stringed instrument builder, bowyer and arrowsmith. Tom enjoys bringing all of these skills together to solve problems and create living spaces that are both efficient and beautiful.
Chris got his start in carpentry working for a custom framing company out of the Berkshires of Massachusetts. This also cultivated his interest of furniture making and woodworking which he does with his spare time when he’s not hiking, playing music, or reading. He wishes to work towards a future that preserves the natural world. Progress with sustainability is attainable.
Kyle is a third generation tradesman with a deep interest in the intersection of design and energy systems. He has experience as a sawyer, restoration woodworker, and in general carpentry and looks forward to expanding his knowledge of high performance building systems. He enjoys working with local materials and a team that takes a holistic approach to the building process.
While Ryan has been involved in the building process from frame to finish, his expertise is in finish carpentry and kitchen work. Ryan is glad to be part of a team that is committed to lowering the carbon footprint and providing energy-efficient homes. He is particularly interested in using reclaimed materials for finish work—bringing old and new together.
Maria, born and raised in Northern Vermont, has always found the work of Mother Nature breathtaking. When she saw that East Branch Studio was hiring entry level carpenters, she knew right away that is was going to be a good fit. Combing the blue collar work life with a sense of caring for our planet was exactly the opportunities that Maria wanted to snatch up and start a serious career with. Currently, she is learning as much as she can from those more skilled and experienced than her, hoping one day she’ll get to be the one doing the teaching.
Western Massachusetts native and avid hiker, Max is interested in the impact we have on our natural surroundings, and ways we can lower our carbon footprint as builders. He is excited to grow his carpentry skills and knowledge of sustainable building practices working for company that has a passion for building beautiful high performance homes.
Joe has held and maintained an unrestricted Massachusetts CSL & Registered Home Improvement Contractor certification for many years. He specializes in finish & trim carpentry. His interests include listening to music, playing drums and percussion, home improvement activities and working the woodlands which surround his home. It’s very peaceful. Most importantly, he enjoys relaxing in the yard or in front of the wood stove with his magnificent English Mastiff, Kingman’s Sir Lorenzo, “Enzo” who is the sixth of the English Mastiffs which he has cared for over the past 35 years.
ENTRY LEVEL CARPENTER
Jules comes to carpentry from a career as a professional dancer where he had lots of practice doing movement-based durational projects with precision and in service of making something beautiful and important, not unlike carpentry. He’s thrilled to be learning from the experienced carpenters at East Branch Studio and to be involved in a company that holds sustainability and energy efficiency central to its mission.