“Every structure is unique, and building one is solving a puzzle of putting the pieces together in just the right order.”
Ethan Martin is a problem solver by nature, willing to challenge the status quo in order to design better and more efficiently. His career started in Houston, oil and gas country, where he designed offshore platforms, including the first of its kind to resist ice flows in the North Sea.
His passion for the sustainability of wood design was engrained in his wood-first policy of a company he owned for 10 years, where if it didn’t pencil out structurally, then the option for less environmentally friendly products like steel or concrete would be considered. He continued pushing for wood design with his work at WoodWorks where he served as the Northwest Regional Director and in his spare time, started the International Mass Timber Conference with Forest Business Network.
Ethan is a firm believer in thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to mass timber design. While people have said certain codes won’t allow them to do something, Ethan is quick to remind them that the code is a minimum, and that providing rational arguments for different approaches will help them make their mass timber design a reality – not just a dream.
If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be?
Does it count that not a single person at my first high school reunion believed I was an engineer, and asked me, “Seriously, you’ve got to be a professional surfer or something, right?”
What would you name an engineering superhero?
Definitely, Knot. Or Stump, the wood guy.
What is your dream project location?
I really want to do a tall mass timber building in the mountains.