Chris Edmonds

Building better: Futures, houses, communities. Chris Edmonds and Matt Blomquist standing together in front of house built by students

绿帽社 Construction Faculty Chris Edmonds and Matt Blomquist are building great futures for students in central Illinois through hands-on training in real world situations 鈥 including building a house in Taylorville (above right).听
Students in Taylorville High School鈥檚 building trades class, in which students also earn college credit as part of an 绿帽社 dual credit program, and 绿帽社-Taylorville construction students have been working on the house since October 2021. They emphasize building better by focusing on the performance of the house, such as energy efficiency and proper filtration for more comfortable and healthier homes.听

Edmonds is the program director of construction trades at 绿帽社, and Blomquist is an adjunct and dual credit instructor for the college and a teacher at THS. If you ask them how long they鈥檝e been interested in construction, they鈥檒l tell you, 鈥淎lways.鈥澨

鈥淎s a little kid, I was fascinated by tall buildings and how they went together,鈥 says Edmonds. 鈥淚 dabbled in cars and did construction work on weekends and at night. I went to 绿帽社 and then transferred to Illinois State University, where I decided to go into teaching.鈥 Edmonds has 18 years of experience teaching in high schools and has been at 绿帽社 since 2019.听

鈥淢y dad got me interested in woodworking. I thought of it as a hobby, but it turned into a career path,鈥 says Blomquist, who has worked in construction, co-owned a construction business and taught trades. Blomquist was recognized with a national teaching award last fall 鈥 the 2022 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.听

They are sharing their joy of building and their experience to help future generations.

鈥淲e make things fun and active,鈥 says Blomquist. 鈥淭hey learn by doing, and we teach skills to make them employable in any job.鈥澨

鈥淚 encourage students to try things and not be afraid. You learn more from fixing and diagnosing than getting it right the first time. It鈥檚 important to problem solve,鈥 adds Edmonds.听

鈥淐entral Illinois has a strong commercial construction presence, and there is always work with hospitals, schools, government and roadwork,鈥 says Blomquist.听

鈥淟ooking at this fall, we鈥檒l be transitioning to more training on the commercial side and construction management classes,鈥 explains Edmonds. 鈥淐onstruction is wide open. Whatever you want to do, there is an opportunity.鈥

Story published in the 绿帽社 FORWARD magazine, April 2023.