Partner in Craft Spotlight: Feinmann, Inc.

February 27, 2024


Carpentry, Donors
Peter Feinmann

Our Partners in Craft program recognizes corporations and small businesses across industries that support the School.

We spoke with Peter Feinmann CA ’83, the founder and President of Feinmann, Inc. He shared with us his thoughts on the building industry, why he supports NBSS, advice for graduates, and more.

Recently, Feinmann, Inc. became a 100% employee-owned company. This exciting transition reflects a commitment to valuing loyalty and productivity within the company. Employees now have a direct stake in the company’s success, leading to increased motivation, financial rewards, and decision-making power. This change fosters a culture of empowerment and collaboration, benefiting both employees and clients by ensuring long-term stability and excellence in every project undertaken.

How did you discover the School?

I was visiting a friend in Boston in 1981 and crashing on his couch, and he had a copy of Fine Woodworking. I was reading it before I went to bed, and found an article about North Bennet Street School. The rest, as they say, is history. 

As someone who had already received a college education, it felt like a more efficient way to develop the skills of being a carpenter, versus trying to work for someone else and learn the skills that way. I was far too independent to do the latter. During my time there, the program spanned a year and a half, and I learned a substantial amount of knowledge and skills within that timeframe.

Kitchen by Feinmann, Inc.

Why do you support NBSS?

Our commitment to supporting NBSS is extensive, evidenced by my long-standing service on both the Carpentry Program Advisory Committee and the Board. Given the pressing need for more carpenters, we believe it is important to support NBSS as they continue to actively educate, train and produce skilled professionals in the field and for the future.

What has been your experience working with fellow NBSS grads, and why do you hire them?

We currently have two graduates from NBSS working with us, and over the years, we’ve welcomed several graduates into our team, including individuals who made significant contributions during their tenure with us. NBSS equips their students with comprehensive skills in carpentry, providing a solid foundation that shortens the learning curve by 3-5 years. We value the expertise and knowledge that graduates from NBSS bring to our company and are open to considering more graduates for future opportunities.

What is an interesting trend in your field you’ve noticed recently?

In 10 years, I think many of the carpenters we hire will speak English as their second language. From my perspective, immigrants are part of the future of this industry, representing diverse talent and contributing significantly to its growth. It’s simple math—there just aren’t enough skilled people to take on the jobs we need to fill. Additionally, fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for immigrant workers aligns with our commitment to diversity and equality within our workforce.

Another trend I think we will see is companies will keep a few key carpenters on staff, hire fewer people in-house, but rely more on subcontracted groups for labor. With this shift, we will most likely see the addition of more supervisory roles. 

Complete the sentence: If I weren’t working in building, I’d be a _.

I would have become an architect first. Other than that, I had no vision to do anything else. I found the work that I wanted to do for my whole life, and I consider myself fortunate to be one of the few who have achieved that.

Bathroom by Feinmann, Inc.

What’s the best thing that you’ve read recently?

Could be a whole book, an article, or any other bit of whimsy, information, or inspiration.

I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed “The Covenant of Water,” an epic about the journey of an Indian family spanning from the early 1900s to the 1960s/70s. While it was a lengthy read, I found immense value in the development of relationships and people, as well as the sharing of their triumphs and struggles. The book has deepened my understanding of human connections and resilience, offering insights that resonate with everyday life.

What motivates you? And/or what do you love about your work/field?

Each day, we are presented with the opportunity to enhance our craft, which I find both challenging and exciting. It involves constantly moving the puzzle pieces to shape a future to be better than we could have imagined. While not a lot of people are great at this, I consider myself fortunate to excel in it.

Being in the construction field is a ton of fun. One reason I go to work every day is that I like the people. They’re enjoying themselves, they’re happy; it means something’s working. Together, we have created a great culture and environment of success.

What life or career advice can you share with our students and graduates?

There’s nothing more satisfying than having tremendous diversity in your work. If you want to be in this field, you’ll never get bored. From the unique intricacies of each project to the varied elements within homes, every project present a fresh approach and stimulating challenge.