Name of Company: Great Blue Heron Studio Architects
Name of Owner: Jay Caroli
Location, website, email, phone: 82 Lower Main Street, 2nd floor, Morrisville, VT,, (802) 888-9954
Description of your business/work? Full service architecture firm specializing in sustainable design, commercial, residential, and health care facilities.
How long have you been in business? I’ve been on my own for 5 years and the new name is a year old. I’ve been practicing architecture for more than 20 years.
How did you move to Morristown? I grew up in New Jersey and my parents were both school teachers and we spent every summer in the Lake Saint Catherine area. When they retired 35 years ago they retired to VT. Fifteen or twenty years ago, I came up on weekends to spend time with my dad because my mom had gone back to NJ to take care of my brother’s kids. My weekends just started getting longer because I had some flexibility with work. So I started looking and found a firm in Stowe that was hiring. When I came up here to Morrisville I said, ‘Oh, this is Vermont.’ And that’s how I ended up here. My first project in VT with my first firm, Ruskey Knauf Associates in Stowe, was to study underutilized spaces in Morrisville. I met my wife Sharon, who was on the building committee for River Arts, through working on the dam buildings.
What do you like best about Morristown? It has that Vermont feel. And I don’t know what that is, necessarily. Like the four way stop. It’s changed a lot, but, everybody just wants you to go. They’re just waving for you.
What new business would you like to see move to town? You know Willy’s in Greensboro? A Willy’s- ish store. A real department store and that has a real Vermont flavor.
What is on your wish list for the next five years of your business/career? I just partnered with a venture group who is investing in Great Blue Heron. My initial goal when I went on my own was to have a home office and spend time with my family. After doing that for a number of years I decided I wanted to grow my business and own my own firm. So we’re taking over the space here above the old Bee’s Knees and in the next 3-5 years I’m hoping to be have 3-5 people plus me practicing architecture all over northeastern New England. I’m licensed in New Jersey and I’m getting a certification that allows me to easily get a license in any state. I want to do all that work out of my business in Morrisville. I want to employ five good paying jobs and be responsible for those families.
Personal background: I met my wife Sharon just as she was opening the Bee’s Knees and we have two beautiful children, Manny and Lilli, who inspire me every day.
What was your first job? After babysitting, raking leaves, and shoveling snow, my first real job was dishwashing. I was tall and so I didn’t tell them my age and I got fired when they found out I wasn’t old enough to work.
What was your most fun job? My job now is maybe my most fun job. If this wasn’t my most fun job, I’d find another one.
Favorite quote? Breathe.
If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why? As an introvert, I don’t really dream about having dinner with people. But if I were going to answer this differently there’s a guy named Sam Mockbee, professor at Auburn University’s School of Architecture who started Rural Studio in Auburn, AL and they do these really cool designs and build things for the surrounding financially depressed community. They build a lot of community spaces and they’re awesome. They do it with recycled materials and they’re capital “A” architecture. So rather than dinner I’d rather just have a site walk through with him and have him tell me about his projects.
What book did you read last? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wild card? What else might people need to know? If there’s anybody looking at properties in the downtown, I’ll give you an hour free to look at the property. I think the downtown is important and I’d like to invest in that.