James Conrad

I was born in Eastern Colorado to a family of two loving parents and three sisters in the fall of 1981.  The four children had a unique and lively atmosphere to grow in, despite the somewhat boring status of the High Plains.

I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado in 2004.  To back up a little, design, invention, creation and exploration have always been at the top of my passions and were my main sources of time-loss.  My father owns and runs a small manufacturing company that builds live steam locomotives and any other train-related items.  Many people get a little excited and confused when I tell them what the family business is.  They ask: “Little trains like the ones that go under the Christmas tree?”  No, in fact, the smallest train the business builds is roughly half-size of the original.  Almost all of the manufacturing is done in-house; from the research and scale drawings, to the foundry patterns, castings, steel fabrication, machine work and assembly.

Another question following the one above is: “So, why aren’t you taking over the family legacy?”  My answer is simple; my Grandfather started the business in 1948 purely out of the love and passion for trains.  This passion my Father inherited, I did not.  To run such a unique niche business as this one, you have to have that passion.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process and the work, but I do not have the dream and passion like the previous generations.

If not the family business, what do I do?  At the present, I am living and working in Baltimore, Maryland for a small, flexible and innovative sustainable building company.  We specialize in plants and the built environment.  We develop and install these plant systems on the roofs, walls, retaining walls  and exterior facades of the built environment throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.  It is a great atmosphere and workforce; of which I am grateful to take part in.

Spinning Alpaca in the yard

Spinning Alpaca in the yard

Throughout the past years, I have also developed a dream and goal to help the people of the world who have much less than myself live more sustainable and peaceful lives.  I hope to use some of the skills I have acquired and a continually growing knowledge to meet their needs.  Most importantly though, I believe in teaching them how to address their own plus their community’s needs.

The sum and effect of all this is an extensive background in woodworking and furnituremaking, metalworking, general carpentry, photography, design and a growing knowledge in sustainble building systems.  I love to solve problems creatively and ask many questions throughout the process without needing an answer for every one.


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