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Business Advisor

Doing Business in the Green-Built World

Michael Strong, president of GreenHaus Builders.

Hi! I’m Michael Strong, a green remodeler and builder from Houston, Tex. Some of you may have heard of Houston — it’s that small town about 2 ½ hours down the road from Austin, home of the oldest green building program in the country and my alma mater, the University of Texas.

I am looking forward to getting to know y’all better in the months ahead as I blog on the topic of BUSINESS in the green-built world. But I thought I should first give you some background on who I am and how I got here before we begin. After all, what does a UT grad from Houston know about green building and blogging in the first place?

Let’s start with GREEN first, and then I’ll take on the BUSINESS perspective. I have lived overseas, and camped, tramped, and backpacked in over 50 countries. I’ve see solar panels on huts in the Kalahari, saved my gray water from the bathtub when I lived in California, and froze my tail off in the Alps because it was illegal to keep my car engine idling in the parking lot (even when -10 degrees below zero). I’ve traversed over, under, and through exceedingly polluted rivers, from the Yangtze in China to the Zambezi in Zambia to our own Mississippi. I have walked to the edge of incredible deforestation from Cambodia to Venezuela to the fabled Black Forest in southern Germany.

I’ve been a cub scout and a Webelo, a member of the Sierra Club off and on since high school. I like my politics with a heaping plate full of common sense and believe true leadership is rarely found in Washington or our state capitols. I’ve voted for Reagan, both Bushes, Al Gore, and Obama. I’ve voted for Kay Bailey as our state’s senior senator for as long as she’s been in office, and I have voted for whomever is challenging our other senator for just as long. I love backpacking, extreme skiing, triathlons, and Africa.

I co-founded GreenHaus Builders in 2005, and we built Houston’s first LEED-certified home (Gold), worked extensively with the Partnership for Technology in Housing Program during the Clinton and early Bush years, served on the NAHB task force that wrote the new ANSI Green Building-Remodeling Guidelines and was named the 2008 NAHB Green Building Remodeler Advocate of the Year. In sum, I’m an outdoors-loving tree hugger who is trying to make a living in the so-called Energy Capital of the World, and I’m glad I do not have to compete with a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing hippies down the road in Austin (with all due respect to Birkenstock-wearing hippies).

Which brings me now to the BUSINESS side of the green-built world blog that I will be writing here. My business side includes an MBA from the Monterey School of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. My degree in Reality has come from running a successful design-build remodeling company, Brothers Strong, for the last 19 years!

All in all, it’s been a great ride, and I hope my perspective gives you food for thought. In the future, you can look forward to meeting my wife (married this year!), my family, and my other two wives, Tommy and Jeff (this will make sense later). In the meantime, I look forward to your emails and seeing you on the road somewhere.

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