Cody Farmer, Colorado State University Construction Management master’s program alumnus (’11), completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado in business administration and marketing, before going to work for his father’s technology and government contracting company.
“While working for my father,” Farmer explains, “I was exposed to high-level business strategy and conceptualization of creating technology ready for the marketplace. It was working with and for him that really helped spur my inner confidence and hunger for business freedom.” Eventually, Farmer and his wife would establish their own consulting firm, MainStream Corporation, because their mission was to take something new and good and bring it to the masses, the mainstream. His father’s company became one his clients.
Farmer met his future wife during the final semester of his undergraduate program. She was headed to CSU for engineering, having just completed time in the Navy. They married, bought land, and built a house in northern Colorado, trying to “go green” as much as possible. Attending weekend seminars on sustainable building, Farmer learned of the master’s program in CSU’s Department of Construction Management, with an emphasis in sustainable building. After joining and serving time with the Air Force National Guard, Farmer was ready to begin his graduate program.
The first class he took for his graduate program was a travel abroad Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction course, a ten-day intensive course in Maho Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Maho Bay class of 2008 was life-changing, according to Farmer.
“It allowed me to unfold huge and complex sustainability theories and collaborate with architects, engineers, and construction managers. It was an entire class delivered onsite at a sustainable hotel in a jungle. It was a perfect example of humans in nature,” said Farmer.
Farmer went on to complete his master’s degree, having met others along the way that fostered his interest and training in “passive house” projects. A passive house is an ecological form of building in which the home is heated using energy from sources within the home, such as appliances, light coming into the home, etc.
Shaping the future
Fast forward eight years, and the Farmers have championed dozens of passive house projects all over Colorado, including Kim Jordan’s Mighty Arrow certified passive house, Traveler’s Rest certified passive house, as well as Colorado’s first passive house library, The Nantes Library, in Gilcrest. The most recent is Longmont’s first passive house-inspired affordable apartment building, Greenspire Apartment.
MainStream recently participated in the Heart of a Building Series with the Institute for the Built Environment and Greenspire Apartment along with a church and residence. The series will air on Rocky Mountain PBS during Earth Day Week on Saturday, 4/24 and Sunday, 4/25. This is a huge win for the owner, Heart of a Building, CSU, MainStream, and the city of Longmont, Colorado.
Asked how the current environment with the pandemic has had any effect, Farmer explained:
“It’s pure coincidence that our building science practice has resulted in the ability to fix indoor air quality problems. During the wildfires last year, we were helping people keep the smoke out of their homes using our ventilation systems and designs, which are normal parts of our passive house practice applied to mainstream housing and buildings. That quickly changed into staying very busy helping people keep their indoor air quality safer and cleaner. Our pivot has been more focus on one particular branch of our practice, which is energy recovery ventilation (ERVs).”
Advice for CM students
When asked for his advice for current or new students in construction management, Farmer was thoughtful:
“First, do the right thing for the environment,” he said. “You know greenwashing when you see it. Seek internships, learn about business and budgeting, learn how to sell yourself, learn to be entertaining in presentation, find ways to apply what you learn, practice visioning your future, eat healthy, work out regularly, take in classical music when you meditate, wake up earlier and start your day in silence, help others find their light and befriend the faculty.
Lastly, remember the tale about the bad apple spoiling the bunch. Construction Management and specifically zero energy or performance building is all about keeping that apple from de-stabilizing your sustainable project and goals. You have to stay positive as a leader and keep your team positive too!”
Reflecting on his educational experience, did Farmer feel his time at CSU CM prepared him well for his career?
“Without a doubt,” said Farmer. “The campus environment and demonstration of sustainability in practice – it’s pure and authentic. I felt at-home at CSU, and that comfort allowed me to spread my wings and meet people who were part of the change. CSU further allowed my own interests to chart a custom direction for my master’s degree, and ultimately provided MainStream Corporation a runway and collaborative from which to launch. This brings me full circle though. I am still in collaboration with CSU. It’s the people. Some of the best people in my life are from CSU and Fort Collins.”