About Rebuilding Exchange
Our mission is to create a market for reclaimed building materials. We do this by diverting materials from landfills and making them accessible for reuse through our retail warehouse, by promoting sustainable deconstruction practices, by providing education and job training programs, and by creating innovative models for sustainable reuse.
Rebuilding Exchange is a project of the Delta Institute.
Diverting waste and creating assets
Since our inception in 2009, Rebuilding Exchange has diverted thousands of tons of building materials from the landfill, and simultaneously created over $2 million worth of quality reuse materials available to the public.
Promoting sustainable deconstruction practices and educating on reuse
Through contractor forums, educational seminars with local and public experts, as well as speaking engagements around the region, Rebuilding Exchange helps lead the national effort to educate on deconstruction and reuse. Rebuilding Exchange also offers over 100 hands-on public workshops per year to educate and empower on the many different ways to reuse materials. Through our thriving volunteer program we leverage the people resources of our community to build broader support for deconstruction and reuse, and reach a diverse audience of stakeholders.
Training people with barriers to employment
The deconstruction and building materials reuse sector offers employment opportunities for people with a range of skill sets and backgrounds, and we need a trained workforce who understands the value and opportunities associated with this growing industry. To date, Rebuilding Exchange has provided job training opportunities to 82 people with barriers to employment in the fields of deconstruction, materials management, warehousing, retail and carpentry.
Creating innovative models for sustainability and reuse
Rebuilding Exchange supports innovation in reuse by donating materials to partner non-profit organizations who are working to rebuild their communities with reclaimed materials. We also host design competitions to foster the innovative reuse of more challenging materials, and launched RX Made, an in-house furniture line made from local and salvaged materials.
If you’ve ever walked through the RX and thought you heard the smooth baritone of Barry White, you probably just encountered Stanley Branch, our smooth-talking warehouse associate. He might be a St. Louis native, but Stan is a Chicago guy all the way. Stan started full-time in May 2011, and has been a motivator and role model for our job training program ever since. Known for being extremely helpful and attentive to customers, Stan also keeps the warehouse looking its best. His outgoing personality makes him the life of a party whether it’s on the basketball court, at the gym, on the town, or right here at the RX.
RX Made Manager
Casey started at Rebuilding Exchange as a warehouse volunteer before sneaking his way into the workshop and onto the RX Made team. A product designer by trade he’s a perpetual maker of objects. He enjoys breathing new life into old, forgotten treasures from applying a simple coat of paint to turning old growth lumber into furniture full of history and character. When he’s not hauling, chopping, joining, gluing, scraping, and planing at the RX, he can be found annoying his wife and two dogs with the banjo.
Director of Business Development
Meegan has been with Rebuilding Exchange from the very beginning. She hails from Michigan, where she previously worked as a mason for historic restoration projects. With a background in art and design, Meegan prides herself on scavenging rare and unusual objects, many of which now reside on the walls and shelves of bars and restaurants across the Midwest. Outside of the RX, Meegan can be found exploring abandoned buildings with her dog or collecting broken objects to creatively transform.
Larry, a college athlete and veteran who served in Beirut in the 1980s, joined Rebuilding Exchange in late 2012 as a Donations Associate after going through our job training program. Larry is an overall positive force in our organization and is always great with customers.
Manager of Employee Relations and Development
Rachal is a Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) Leader and avid proponent for cycling in Chicago. When she’s not managing Human Resources, development opportunities and finance here at Rebuilding Exchange, Rachal freelances as an Illustrator. To see her work, check out www.rachalduggan.com
Edward grew up on the West side of Chicago and came to us through the CARA training program. He has been working with the team getting the warehouse in shape by moving inventory,helping customers,and loading and unloading trucks. The thing he finds the most exciting about the Rebuilding Exchange is that he learns something new every day. He previously worked for the CTA doing janitorial work and also has 15yrs experience in landscaping. He has been known for his basketball skills as a power forward and continues to play in his spare time. He is an active volunteer for the Haymarket Center here in Chicago and feels passionately about giving back to the community. When you are at the Rebuilding Exchange you can ask him to help you find anything that you are looking for.
Before he became warehouse manager, Alex was one of the RX’s most eager customers, often spending hours digging through stacks of old-growth lumber in search of that one rare, true 2”x4”. Needless to say, Alex is a self-proclaimed wood nerd, and always enjoys fielding odd or technical wood questions from customers. When he’s not solving IT and website issues, Alex is on the warehouse floor, helping customers with their projects.
Laura is a new member to the Rebuilding Exchange and is currently in our training program. She also trained in commercial cleaning through the CARA program. Laura has a great eye for merchandising and making new displays. She loves meeting new customers and learning about their projects, while also keeping pace with the guys unloading lumber and handling all incoming material. Raised on the south side of Chicago she attended Kennedy King College where she majored in English. On her off days she stays busy with 6 grandkids. Next time you come in you can ask her advice in finding the perfect materials for your projects.
John came to Rebuilding Exchange by way of Deconstruction Technology where he trained in warehousing, woodworking, sales and customer service. As a donations associate, he plays an integral role in finding the great inventory we sell at Rebuilding Exchange. In his free time, John enjoys making stuff like tables in the wood shop, and you can usually find him either on the truck or in the warehouse, being helpful, and sporting a colorful Do-Rag on his head.
Dwayne Oliver is a member of the donations team and also works with the RX Made team, transforming old pieces of reclaimed wood into new pieces of furniture. This gives him a huge feeling of accomplishment and he likes to show off what he is learning. Dwayne lives on the south side of Chicago, but he enjoys exploring the entire city.
Director of Production
Blake oversees production of the RX Made furniture line. He is a lifelong tinkerer/builder who is fond of combing alleyways, thrift stores, and grandma’s attic for materials to incorporate into his work and classes. Blake was just chosen as one of “10 Furniture Maker’s Keeping Woodworking Alive” by Re-Nest. Get in touch with him if you want a custom piece of furniture built by Rebuilding Exchange. You can see some of his work at www.blakesloane.com.
Assistant Retail Manager
Vanessa grew up on a small dairy farm in Minnesota where she gained a passion for good food, hard work and creative reuse. She loves making something from nothing, especially grafting apple and pear trees for an urban orchard, composting food scraps and yard waste in her backyard and growing fig trees from mere twigs in her living room.
Mary Trieschmann, Executive Director, is a seasoned leader with over twenty years of nonprofit experience, designing and implementing innovative projects and programs. Before joining RX, Mary served as Vice President of Programs at the Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago a LEED certified museum, working to build sustainable programs and lead exhibit design and development. Mary grew up sneaking into her father’s workshop to create sculptures using his wood-scraps and tools.
Keith brings his decade of experience working as a props master for theater and television to the Rebuilding Exchange. If you think you might have seen this guy at your house, chances are good, you’re right! Working the last year as the pickups manager/driver, Keith spent many a day traveling the city picking up all your generous donations. What is he doing when not saving the city’s building materials from a miserable life at the landfill? Keith is a competitive 9-ball pool player, with hopes of taking his game to Vegas. But don’t panic, we won’t let him quit his day job just yet.
Director of Community Outreach and Engagement
Heather is the perfect fit as Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at Rebuilding Exchange. She loves engaging the community in conversation and hands on engagement in anything relating to recycling and building material. She learned how to wield tools as a kid tagging along at her father’s construction sites in Iowa. Her interest and experience in building has evolved into a passion for green construction, deconstruction, and energy efficiency making her the RX’s resident sustainability aficionado. She has also racked up many volunteer hours on projects from coast to coast and always loves lending a hand. In her spare time, she can be found searching for the newest vintage treasure and traveling locally, nationally and internationally.
Manager, Community Investment Corporation
Former Chief Sustainability Officer, Motorola Solutions
Founder & President, Wabashco
Commissioner, Chicago Department of Family & Support Services
Associate, Miller Shakman & Beem, LLP
Chief Executive Officer, Delta Institute
Rashmi Ramaswamy, LEED AP
Co-Founder and Architect, SHED Studio
Commissioner, Department of General Services