Spring is a time of growth and renewal here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s in that spirit we announce that after 13 years, Kurt Gisclair is moving on from his role as the director of The RE Store. We are also thrilled to announce that Tim O’Donnell, who has filled nearly every role at The RE Store in his 12 years there, is taking the helm as director.
In his years with the organization, Kurt fostered a resilient and diverse staff that effectively worked together to further the mission of The RE Store. Kurt started out as the RE Store Director in 2008 in the midst of the housing crisis and Great Recession. Once the housing bubble burst, the store had to re-evaluate and adapt its business model to compete in an ever-changing market for building materials. This would be one of several storms Kurt would help The RE Store weather over the years. He also led the store through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic in 2020 and kept The RE Store programs afloat.
In addition to deftly navigating the lows, Kurt helped the store reach new heights with several of the innovative programs we know and love today:
- In 2013, The RE Store’s Revision Division was launched under Kurt’s oversight. The program’s focus on designing and building value-added furniture from materials found in the store was an instant hit with customers. To date, the Revision Division team has built thousands of unique furnishings made from 100 percent reclaimed materials.
- Kurt also formalized the Community Jobs Training Program (CJTP) in 2013 and hired the first official program manager. CJTP provides on-the-job workforce training to economically disadvantaged individuals in Whatcom County. Trainees have contributed over 14,000 hours since the program’s inception. Today the program boasts an impressive 80 percent job placement rate.
- In 2018, Kurt helped secure a three-year grant to fund the launch of the Manufacturing Waste Diversion Program. Today the program is self-sustaining, and it has broadened the scope of materials (and impacts) beyond the residential and commercial construction industry, focusing on limiting waste from local manufacturing.
- In 2021, Kurt again secured grant funding to establish the Design Build Training Institute, which combined the CJTP and the benefits of the Revision Division workshop. Trainees learn basic design, carpentry and manufacturing skills in this program by building value-added furnishings for the Revision Division gallery. The program prepares individuals for the job market in the manufacturing industry, which is the fastest-growing sector in Whatcom County. With 40 percent growth in the past 10 years, this industry supports more than 300 manufacturers and 9,000 manufacturing jobs.
Though his time with the RE Store has come to a close, Kurt is staying active in the local green building scene, assuming the role of General Manager at Chuckanut Builders. The company has built a strong reputation in the community with its triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) ethos. We at RE Sources and The RE Store thank Kurt for his immeasurable contributions to our organization and our region, and we wish him the best in his new endeavors.
Tim’s ascension to the director position comes at a time of tremendous opportunity for The RE Store. Business is brisk as the spring renovation and building season kicks into high gear, and the staff is energized as it enters this new chapter. Tim is looking forward to building on Kurt’s successes and ensuring that The RE Store continues to serve a crucial role in our community as an institution of reuse for Whatcom County and beyond.
Want to get to know Tim O’Donnell a little better? Check out our recent Q&A on The RE Store blog.