...Just kidding. Her name is Parlin Meyer, and she's been part of the BrightBuilt squad since back when the origin story was still being written. Our office-everything-extraordinaire, Rachel, took a few minutes to sit down with Parlin for a fun and informal Q&A.
1. You’ve worked at BrightBuilt for nearly seven years now - how did you land here?
I’d like to think it was a combination of timing, a unique set of experiences that comprised my work history, and dumb luck. Perhaps, though, it was mostly the latter. I came to Kaplan Thompson, initially, as an applicant for a staff architect position on their team. At the time, they were looking for someone who had 3-5 years of project management experience, and, ideally, familiarity with their drafting program. I could not check either box, so alas, the position went to another (very worthy) candidate. The introduction had been established, though, and with some unique experiences with high-performance residential, modular, carpentry, and building under my belt (in addition to a Masters in Architecture and Masters in Real Estate Development), I had an unusual set of tools to offer. This history happened to align quite well with a new pet project they (Phil and Jesse) were looking to develop, and so – hooray! – a new opportunity emerged. Four months after our initial interview, I was joining the Kaplan Thompson team in order to help explore the possibility of developing a new as-yet-unnamed- “spin-off” company. This company (or subset within the Kaplan Thompson umbrella…we weren’t sure) would be focusing on the marriage between high-performance and off-site construction. Four months after that, in the summer of 2013, BrightBuilt Home was born and branded, and a new website was launched. The rest (as they say) is history.
2. What’s your favorite part of the BrightBuilt process?
Though there are so many aspects of our unique approach that I really cherish, the part I love the most is working with clients to craft a design that’s perfect just for them.
3. Can you tell us about a job you had in the past that wasn’t designing and building modular houses?
Sure! Architecture is in fact, for me, a second career. For my undergraduate education, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. After graduation, I went to sea – very initially for science education, but in short order I switched to the professional mariner track. For the next ten years, I sailed aboard some beautiful ships, primarily in the realm of sail training and oceanographic research. Specifically, I sailed aboard several schooners, brigantines, sloops, as well as a converted minesweeper and an Antarctic icebreaker, ultimately earning and sailing under a 500ton Oceans Masters License. They were incredible years, and I made memories and friends I will have forever. Living in Maine allows me to maintain a strong connection with the water, though I do still get wistful for those inky-black and star-blanketed nights, quietly lolling along in the Central South Pacific… (*sigh*)
4. How do you like to spend your time when you’ve left the office?
With my family. Outdoors. Whenever possible. After having transitioned from sea to desk, I try as much as I can to get outside to feel the rush of cold air, or the wisp of a summer breeze, or gaze up at the night sky. It never gets old. And having kiddos with whom to share it all makes it all the more magical.
5. Do you ever get songs stuck in your head? Is there one in there now? What is it?
Ha! Yes. Right now it’s “Let It Snow” (sorry summerphiles!). I once had “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones stuck in my head for 6 straight weeks. Apparently that was a dark time…
6. If you had to describe yourself via a lunch order, what would it be?
Hm. This is a tough one! I think I’d go with a chopped salad – with all the fixings, as I’m really a mix of many different flavors, and sometimes it’s hard to discern what you’re going to get with the next bite! To go with the salad, maybe unsweetened lemonade, and a chocolate chip cookie to balance it out – as I have my moments when I’m not as sweet as I’d like to be, but hidden in the essence of my fabric, I really want nothing more than to be kind, warm, generous, and…tasteful? And of course I can never turn down chocolate… (Seems like it might be easy to get out of hand with this question!)
7. Is there a children’s book you would recommend?
So many favorites, how could I pick just one!?! The top tier choices, though, are: “A House in the Woods” by Inga Moore, “Trouble with Trolls” by Jan Brett (also, “The Mitten” – her well-known classic - Jan Brett’s artwork is just unmatched), “Picasso and Minou” by P.I Maltbie & Pau Estrada, and, of course, “How I Became A Pirate,” by Melinda Long and David Shannon.