Ashes to Greener Pastures

Transitioning to Green Products and Sustainability Practices in Construction and Non Traditional Trades


After rogue fireworks burned down the family business on New Year's Eve in 2008, Laura Culin rebuilt Austin Lumber with an emphasis on promoting environmentally-friendly products and materials. A woman entrepreneur in a field dominated by men, Laura's unique perspective on the construction business, best building practices, and disaster recovery will highlight:

--How to rebuild your business from the ground up (literally!): from funding to branding and beyond
--How to transition to Green Building practices and environmentally-friendly products
--How to promote sustainability and remain profitable
--How to effectively rebuild communities after natural (and unnatural!) disasters

Laura Culin serves as President/CEO of Austin Lumber, a WBE/HUB/DBE. She has over 20 years of experience in construction and she works hands-on and side by side with her employees. Thus, her experience is very diverse and ranges from the operation of mill equipment, purchasing, estimating, budgeting, accounting, and over all operations of the company. Laura is a featured speaker and writer relating to micro-small businesses, promoting women in construction, and sustainable green build products as well as an undaunting advocate. She also received the Congressional Medal of Distinction Award by President Bush in 2006. After receiving her Associate Degree in Marketing/Retail Purchasing from Bauder College in Arlington, TX, she transferred to Austin Community College to study drafting. Following her passion to learn the “business” led her to the AGC Construction Management Program where upon completion she will earn a CM Degree. Success has never eluded her, in 1998 she bought Austin Lumber Company from the family, making her the third generation to own company.