Our Craftsmen

Our Craftsman

“It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can ever be recalled.” – John Ruskin

In 1999, Big Timberworks became a worker’s cooperative, giving each employee owner a vested interest in the quality of their products while ensuring that the spirit of creation lives on. Currently we have 11 member-owners that share in the governance and profits that BT makes.


Merle Adams | Founder

Merle Adams cofounded Big Timberworks in 1983, and was CEO until his passing on 8-3-16. Merle was born and raised in North Dakota by a hard working couple who were the first children of their respective families to move from post-depression era dirt farms into the big city of Bismarck. Because of this, he was extremely grateful for the opportunity to create places, spaces, structures and many other useful things to improve the quality of our clients lives. His passion, ability to find unique solutions in the process of designing and building, and love of creating useful beauty from items that might be thrown away leave a timeless legacy. Lastly, one cannot forget his love of getting dirty, or his love for his family including all of the dogs. Merle’s workmanship, ethics and cool demeanor have left a lasting impression on the buildings in the Gallatin Valley, his business, employees and clients, and the people around and closest to him. He will be sorely missed.

David Barmore | Timber Framer

David Barmore joined Big Timberworks in 1989 as a timber framer but has worked in design/build and done a ton of computer drafting over the years. Dave is originally from Nebraska and his “Cornhusker” roots run deep red. When asked what Dave likes most about working at Big Timberworks he replied, “the employee culture that is created daily.” While Dave is not at the timber frame shop or out fighting fires with Gallatin Gateway’s Fire Department, he is passionate in engaging in anything that gives life. Dave is real quiet so often no one notices how much stuff he gets done because he does it with so little fanfare!

Tom Bowles | Timber Framer/ Facility Manager

Tom Bowles has been the Director of Operations and a master timber framer here at Big Timberworks for the past 28 years. Tom on a daily basis can be found with his hands in various timber-framing projects or solving complex joinery moments in the buildings we design-all while making sure the timber frame shop is running smoothly. Ever since Tom was young, he grew up around wood-having his hands in various building projects, which nurtured his passion for timber framing. When asked what he enjoys most about working at Big Timberworks, he replied, “It’s exciting to get up every morning knowing that I will be a part of a unique new project!” Tom, being a Montana native, when not in the shop enjoys all that the gorgeous area of Bozeman has to offer and is often found skiing the surrounding mountains and floating the Yellowstone River. Tom is no dummy-he’s had a subscription to Scientific American for many years and he’ll surprise you if you ever get into a discussion with him about rocket science, or killer asteroids, or DNA!

Scott Carlson | Woodworker/Carpenter

Scott Carlson has become the go to Woodworker/Carpenter at Big Timberworks for the past 10 years. With a great knowledge of wood and sensitivity towards detail, Scott has been involved with many projects that hold the creativity and soul that represent the craftsmanship here at Big Timberworks. Working at Big Timberworks provides Scott with a ‘creative work environment’ that challenges him each day and the enjoyable company of the people he works with and for. Outside of work, Scott is most passionate about being a good husband and father to Sam, Audrey, and Emma. Some of his favorite activities include skiing, sailing and of course woodworking. Scott is happy that he married Lisa, a Montana girl, so that he doesn’t have to live where he grew up (CT).

Armistead Coleman II | Timber Framer

Armistead Coleman is an experienced timber joiner who recently joined Big Timberworks in 2012. Originally from the Puget Sound in the state of Washington, Armistead’s passion for timber framing runs deep-having been exposed and experienced with many forms of joinery (French, Russian Gothic, and Korean) he brings an artful eye to timber framing which allows each project at Big Timberworks to become a work of art. What Armistead loves most about working at Big Timberworks is being amongst other timber frame professionals-a group of people that he can count on everyday for the jobs to run smoothly. His passions do not fall far from his vocation- as he is passionate about joinery, the more complex the better. Armistead believes, “being able to create functional art one can live in by combining ironwork, stone, and many species of work-is truly something special.” Armistead is a surprising character who has a multitude of adventure hobbies including: desert truck racing, scuba diving, and spelunking and did I mention anything related to guns….???

Kevin Doern | Metalworker/ Metal Shop Manager

Kevin Doern is an architectural metalworker at Big Timberworks. Joining the company in 2013, Kevin has quickly become involved with various metal projects and has enjoyed that there is always something new and creative to be involved with at Big Timberworks. Kevin expresses, “What makes Big Timberworks strong is how the company stands behind it products and its employee’s,” qualities that promote a work environment of self-sustaining integrity. Outside of work, he is passionate about leading a full life with his wife Erin and son’s Ostyn and Madoc-in particular raising their son’s in an environment filled with new things and shared experiences. Kevin came to BT after spending many years as a diver and underwater welder on heavy industrial projects in exotic but often extreme locations. He’s happy that the metal shop gives him a roof over his head that he stays warm in winter and cool in summer!

James Fox | Timber Framer

James Fox is one of our newest timber framers at BT; coming from Columbia, CA with experience in carpentry and timber framing. James appreciates the attention and knowledge that BT has for the history of its’ timbers combined with their high quality work ethic. ‘The company in all its diversity presents numerous avenues of building, which provides for an opportunistic work environment,’ James expresses. When not in the timber frame shop, James can be found doing his own personal woodwork, BMX riding, enjoying the outdoors (backpacking, fishing, peak bagging), and playing guitar.

Hudson Hart | Timberframe Manager

Hudson Hart carries two titles of Timber Frame Manager and Sawmill Manager here at Big Timberworks. Originally from Wheaton, IL, Hudson has become “The Wood Guy” here at Big Timberworks attaining his name for the past 20 years. “Life is about relationships,” exclaims Hudson, “and working at Big Timberworks has given me the opportunity to build relationships with co-workers, builders, suppliers, and the homeowners we are all working for.” Hudson is passionate about doing things well and with regards to buildings; his passion turns into putting together projects that will stand the test of time. Hudson’s special gift is making sense of all the financial numbers that grace his desk monthly and at year-end.

Kevin Keith | Timberframe Project Manager

Kevin Keith is a timber frame project manager at Big Timberworks. Working at BT for over 9 years now, Kevin has had his hands in many timber frames, from the details of their measurements to the fitting of their joints. Over the years, Kevin has been involved in many unique and interesting projects, which cultivate fun and exciting project outcomes and a constant creative environment. When not at work, you will find Kevin enjoying the outdoors with his wife while hiking, skiing and biking. What many don’t know about Kevin is that he earned his Ph.D. from the U. of Mass. Amherst in molecular and cellular biology. It has been rumored that his IQ is higher that the rest of BT put together! But that hasn’t been confirmed completely!

Alexandra E. Kress | Architectural Intern

Alexandra (Alix) Kress is the newest member of Big Timberworks and serves as their Architectural Intern.  She recently moved to Montana from the East Coast where she lived in Washington, DC and rural Maryland. Last May, Alix graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Historic Preservation. She plans to attend Montana State University in the fall to fulfill her dream to become a licensed architect. Alix enjoys the very special atmosphere of creativity, dedication and collaboration at Big Timberworks. “I feel very proud to be part of this community, Big Timberworks is a rare place that allows me to use creativity as well as my preservation skills to influence buildings design.” When not at work Alix loves to photograph old buildings, explore the countryside to find new objects for her design projects or cross-country ski.

Darrell La Bonte | Sawyer/ Remanufacturing Specialist

Darrell La Bonte joined Big Timberworks, Inc. in 2001 and has become Big Timberwork’s lead sawyer or ‘Sawyer Extraordinaire’ according to Mike Larsen. Over the past 12 years, Darrell has enjoyed the continuous enjoyable work environment Big Timberworks creates, “a group of the most easy going people you can find,” he remarks. Originally from Spooner, WI and now a current resident in Three Forks, MT-there is nothing better than spending time with his wife and kids at the end of the day. Darrell is anything but easy going once he starts working. Watch out or you might get in his way! Darrell’s dog is appropriately named Hunter because he spends an inordinate amount of time chasing bunny rabbits at BT!  We’re not sure if he’d know what to do with one if he ever caught one!

Bob Lamiaux | Timber Frame Project Manager

Robert Lamiaux is a timber frame project manager at Big Timberworks. Originally from Butte, Montana- for over 16 years; Bob has been involved with the raising of many if not all of the timber frames designed by Big Timberworks. Bob is very passionate about the ‘olden ways’, implementing the basics of old school working with your hands and raw materials into the timber projects he is involved in. Bob sings in a rock and roll band and is a complete softie when around his daughter, McKenzie and his female Boston Terrier puppy, Caliber.

Mike Larson | Sawmill Manager

Michael Larson is our Sawmill Manager here at Big Timberworks, Inc. For over the past 18 years, Mike has been fluent in wood and knows exactly how it needs to be handled to ensure it becomes an integral part of a new or existing building design. What Mike enjoys most about working at Big Timberworks is the customers he engages with, along with the rewarding ‘hunt’ of locating old wood from all over the country, especially those discarded materials that he can turn into usable products. Originally from Cambridge, MN-Mike now happily enjoys the terrain of Montana where in his free time he is out pheasant hunting with his two Labrador retrievers-Lily and Sugar, or walleye fishing throughout Big Sky country. Mike is usually mild-mannered until he gets behind the wheel of his demolition derby car, then all bets are off!

Austin McCann | Timber Framer

Austin McCann, a native Montanan joins our timber framing crew at Big Timberworks. Austin loves being a part of the family here at Big Timberworks, ‘It’s a great environment to work in and great people to work around-I am proud to say I work for Big Timberworks’ exclaims Austin. He really enjoys the joinery work, reminds him of doing carpentry with his father when he was young. When not in the shop, Austin enjoys spending his time with wife and daughter while partaking in many outdoor activities; from hiking, camping, photographing nature, and taking in all the sites from all around the state of Montana.

Linda Miller | Office Manager

Linda Miller has been the Office Manager at Big Timberworks since 2012 and her presence has been an integral part to the smooth flow of this company. When asked what she likes most about working at Big Timberworks, she exclaims, “The staff! They are the most sincere, hardworking, and caring group of people I have worked with. The creative spirit, attention to detail, and beautiful work that is produced is awe-inspiring–she has become a true admirer.” Linda grew up in Great Falls, MT and has then moved to Bozeman where she has been a resident for the past 20 years and loves it. The root of her passions outside of work spring from being involved with her family while engaging in the various activities they partake in together-especially the annual trips to Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park.

Aaron Murphy | Architectural Metal Worker

Aaron Murphy is one of the newest architectural metalworkers at Big Timberworks. Aaron has a love for the art of making things and his talent shows in the various projects he has been involved with at Big Timberworks. What makes working at Big Timberworks special says Aaron, “is the variety of projects and different scale of projects Big Timberwork’s encourages and that everyday is something new.” Outside of work, Aaron is passionate about creating things and is inspired by the sculptural metalwork art he creates. Along with his creative drive, Aaron enjoys being outdoors as he is an avid dirt biker, and enjoys soccer, skiing, and billiards.

Tim Muse | Sawmill Hand

Tim Muse is a Sawmill Hand at Big Timberworks, Inc. working on bits and pieces of many projects back in the Sawmill from the beginning to the end. For the past 5 years, Tim has enjoyed the people he has gotten to know and has had the opportunity to engage with daily here at Big Timberworks. Born and raised on a reserve in Plentywood, Montana- Tim has been able to enjoy his passions of seeing new country, prospecting and hunting throughout his life.

Morgan Pier | Timber Framer

Morgan Pier is another new addition to the timber frame shop at Big Timberworks. Originally from Florence, Alabama, Morgan has found a home in Bozeman after many years of traveling and volunteer work on the Missippi Gulf Coast rehabbing/building houses for Hurricane Katrina victims. Big Timberworks has welcomed Morgan as she exclaims, “the employees are amazing-everyone is extremely nice, helpful, and patient.” Big Timberworks has allowed Morgan to use the skills from her architectural degree and artistic sense in a more hands-on and thought-provoking manner—while learning a craft that has been around for hundreds of years. While not in the shop, Morgan can be found outdoors hiking with her dog, traveling, and meeting new people (esp. those who are also diehard St. Louis Cardinals fans!)

Chris Roulson | Timber Framer

Chris Roulson has been a timber framer here at Big Timberworks for 21 years. Chris brings his timber frame knowledge and skills all the way from Eagle River, AK. Chris enjoys the constant variety of custom works produced at Big Timberworks and the lively crew he gets to work with each day. Outside of timber framing, Chris is passionate about astronomy and cosmology, music and biking of all sorts (mountain biking and vintage motorcycles)—all enjoyed best when shared with his family. For 21 years now, Chris has held the distinction of being the “slowest eater at BT”. His pace is legendary!! There’s no one that can slow down enough keep up with him!

Jonathan Spear | Denailer

Jonathan joins Big Timberworks as our new denailer; handling our reclaimed lumber before its turned into various unique designs. Jonathan has lived all over the United States from Upstate New York to Alaska, and now he finds home in Montana. Jonathan enjoys the supportive friendly environment he has found at Big Timberworks, ‘ People are quick to lend a hand or give advice when I have questions,’ Jonathan exclaims. Everyday is a different job and it keeps him happily busy! While not handling reclaimed lumber, Jonathan can be found at Montana State University working on his Master’s Degree in Science, Natural History, and Filmmaking. He also enjoys photography/filming, wildlife, and hiking/camping while exploring Montana with his dog, Tucker.

Vance Thurston | Tool, Equipment, & Rolling Stock Manager

Vance Thurston is the tool, equipment and rolling stock manager here at Big Timberworks. Vance joined BT in 1996 and has been an invaluable member of our team because he keeps our tools running. Vance and his loyal four-legged companion Buddy can be found throughout the facility making sure the company runs like a well-oiled machine, both literally and figuratively.  Over the past 17 years, Vance has been inspired by the cooperative spirit here at Big Timberworks and enjoys daily the high level of craftsmanship of the people who work here- each moment is a chance to be a part of an inspiring building creation that enhance the living spaces of our customers. Born in Maine, Vance moved to Montana at the age of four and deeply enjoys the Big Sky Country’s great outdoor activities.  Most of his free time is now spent writing songs and sharing uplifting music with his wonderful family and ten grandchildren! He also takes martial arts classes with his grandchildren where he can be heard saying, “O go ahead and kick Grampa, why don’t ya!!!”

Kooper Westhoven-Koch | Architectural Metalworker

Kooper Westhoven-Koch is an architectural metalworker at Big Timberworks.  Born in the San Juan Islands, Kooper moved to Bellingham, WA for college.  He spent 5 years building commercial fishing boats in the northwest.   Kooper loves working at Big Timberworks because of the family atmosphere and the variety of different interesting projects done here.  In his spare time, Kooper enjoys fishing, hiking, hunting, snowboarding, snowmobiling and traveling.