“I really do love the people, the pace of life and the rural environment.”
Five years ago, Noah Shaltes was living near the remote Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana, 100 miles deep into plains grasses and cowboy towns. It was to be a nine-month research stint as part of the American Indian Housing Initiative, a collaborative effort to adapt and deploy sustainable building technologies in tribal communities. It ended up snowballing into the creation, with wife Eva, of a construction company that employed members of the tribal community.
“It felt good to create jobs, to help support other families,” he recalls.
But after son Peleh, now 5, was born, the couple wanted to be closer to family. They explored places on the East Coast, including Washington D.C. and Eva’s native New Jersey. The deciding factor: where was the strongest green/sustainablebuilding sector? The answer: Pittsburgh. The couple moved to Greensburg, less than 40 miles from Noah’s family in Saxonburg and his job as a project manager at PJ Dick/Trumbull’s headquarters on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
“I did my homework and found the leading green-construction company in the region,”Noah says. “PJ Dick is a family-owned, family-run company, and the ownership really does care about employees, about clients, about doing the right thing. They back making the right decision, even if it’s not always the most cost-effective decision.
“I love production, and I love to build,” he continues. “I get gratification from meeting a client’s needs, understanding their vision, priorities and goals. I get to assemble a team that does something that I could not do on my own. And that’s fun; being able to bring out the best in a team.”
In another move that was supposed to be short term, the family moved into the then-vacant house of Noah’s aunt, with plans to renovate and sell it. “It’s been four years,” he says. “We’ve really grown into the community, and we’re happy where we are.” A second son, Calum, has joined the family, and together they take great advantage of the nearby Laurel Highlands, hitting the trails, exploring the woods and taking bike rides, as well as keeping up with Peleh’s soccer schedule.
“I do miss the west at times, but this is a great place to raise a family. I really do love the people, the pace of life and the rural environment.”