Photo of Dick Schmidt

After buying 40 acres outside Laramie, Dick and his wife, Pat, began to consider what style of home they might build.  The answer came while they were watching a PBS program on the reemergence of timber frame construction.  They eventually built that home.  But that program also fueled a simultaneous professional interest in timber engineering research, which was kindled during a summer-long stay at the USDA Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin in 1986.  Recognizing that the design standards for timber construction were silent on most of the joinery methods used in timber framing, Dick saw a niche for himself and the opportunity to take a professional turn.  Back issues of Timber Framing, Scantlings, Joiners' Quarterly, and Brungraber’s well-traveled dissertation added additional fuel to his passion for big timbers, well-executed fabrication, and warm fellowship.

Dick joined the Timber Framers Guild in 1995, started breaking mortise and tenon joints, served as a member of the board of directors, and became a founding member of the Timber Frame Engineering Council.  The research he conducted with his graduate students at the University of Wyoming has found its way into the industry’s design standard TFEC 1 – Standard for Design of Timber Frame Structures, of which he served as primary author.

After three decades at the University of Wyoming, which include two years living in Germany, nine years in administrative roles, and some amazing experiences with his students on service projects in Central America and Africa, Dick made another professional turn and joined Fire Tower, where he looks forward to expanding the expertise as well as geographic footprint of the firm.