About Bellwether


Our Mission:

Bellwether Craftsmen advances the building industry through intelligent design and innovation.  Encouraging a culture of positive cooperation dedicated to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, true sustainability within the built environment.

Our Vision:

We endeavor to provide unique timber frames with revered spirit.  Working closely with clients our custom buildings provide inspiring living spaces that deliver exceptional energy performance.  We specialize in achieving the highest value to cost ratio believing everyone deserves the benefit of healthy sustainable shelter.

What Makes Bellwether Craftsmen Unique

Current design and construction conventions place primary emphasis on operational energy efficiency metrics. While operational energy efficiency is a very important consideration we should absolutely account for, end-user energy conservation alone is not enough.

Encouraging an awareness and accounting of carbon values for all building materials is a key component for clear understanding and informed decisions.

Bellwether offers innovations and alternatives for high performance enclosures with added benefits of low environmental impact, increased durability, and healthy indoor air quality.

Low Impact Insulation:

We encourage the use of sustainable fiber insulations that achieve the highest performance standards as well as carbon storage.

Interior Air Sealing:

A critical component of the any high performance building, we are proficient with the integration and detailing of vapor permeable air-tight systems, achieving passive house standards or better on all of our projects. We favor Pro Clima products and collaborate closely with 475 High Performance Building Supply.

Meet The Team


Brian Hayes

Brian a designer, builder, timber framer and woodworker with over 20 years’ experience in building and design. Before moving to Vermont, Brian operated Lakeshore Building Company in the Central New York lakes region, with focuses on historical restorations and timber framing.

Founding BWC in 2012, the company continues to evolve, offering a range of consultation design and construction services.   Brian is guided by a reverence for the natural environment endeavoring to have a positive impact on conventional building practices toward goals of sustainably constructed high performance structures, net-positive atmospheric carbon reduction, occupant health, and social justice.  BWC contributes to the forward progression and use of plant-based building systems, local resources as a viable and affordable method of construction, as well as standing in support of environmental and social reform.

Brian is a PHI Passive House Consultant, PHUIS Passive House Designer/ Consultant, BPI Building Analyst, Efficiency Vermont High Performance Partner, Board Member of Vermont Passive House, NESEA Triple Bottom Line Member/Company and a supporting member of the Timber Framers Guild.



Paul Schwartzkopf

Paul is an experienced designer, builder, and craftsman who simply enjoys the process of making things - from large structures to little spoons.  A lifelong interest in buildings led him to study architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he attained a Masters in Architecture in 2007.  Not satisfied only drawing buildings, Paul has set down of path of integrating design, construction, community, and natural process as much as possible.  Prior to joining Bellwether, Paul spent five years designing and building net-zero energy homes, and has worked with a variety of skilled builders throughout central and northern Vermont.  He has also worked with numerous community gardens and youth organizations, seeing the construction process as not only a way to create space and shelter, but also one of the best ways to build community and empower people to come together to create their world.

Derek Rupert

Derek is a well rounded craftsman with a variety of experience. After graduating with a degree in engineering Derek first came to Vermont for a timber frame job. He spent two years working with Brian before moving west. In Colorado he continued in the building trades. He quickly picked up the skills of general & finish carpentry and expanded his knowledge of woodworking, tile installation, and steel fabrication. After traveling the country Derek and his family moved back to Vermont and he joined the Bellwether Craftsmen team.


Mark Powell

Mark is a native Vermonter and well-seasoned builder with over 30 years of experience. Mark started by splitting the seasons between carpentry and ski patrol back in the late 70s. After 10 years of patrol he transitioned to construction full-time. Along with general carpentry, Mark has logged 10 plus years of Timber Framing experience. From felling trees to building his own timber frame and stick-frame homes to interior finish work, Mark does it all making him an integral part of the Bellwether team. Like most of us, Mark enjoys spending time outdoors, whether on snowshoes or his tractor.


Susan Giovannetti

Susan is the sage operator and keeper of the books. This essential role is important to any business, and BWC is fortunate to receive the benefit of her valuable skill set. Having early experience with a family run business, Susan is well versed in small business models and culture, and has been involved in several successful market farm operations and community garden projects as well as a board member of the Richmond Farmers Market in Richmond, VT. Susan supports BWC behind the scenes making sure the business finances and schedules are organized and running smoothly. Educated in Environmental Horticulture/Natural Sciences, she brings her passion for sustainable environmental impact to compliment Bellwether’s mission statement.