Our team is a group of highly skilled, well trained, environmentally committed builders.
Melinda zytaruk - general manager
Melinda Zytaruk is the General Manager and a founding member of the Fourth Pig Worker Co-op. Melinda is a PHIUS Certified Builder and in 2010 was trained as a PHI consultant. She has completed the Net Zero Home Building Science Training. She enjoys managing eco construction projects almost as much as troweling on a smooth coat of fresh earth plaster. She has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on community renewable energy and sustainability and is a graduate of the Renewable Energy Education Program of Solar Energy International located in Colorado. Melinda’s career has merged her passions for green construction, community organizing and education. She has worked as a builder on straw bale houses, designed and installed solar electric and hot water systems, and has been the general contractor for eco-renovations since 2007.
As General Manager with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, she developed Renewable Energy Co-operatives throughout Ontario and organized diverse stakeholders throughout the province to support co-operative owned power. Melinda campaigned successfully for renewable energy policies that lay the groundwork for the Green Energy Act in Ontario and helped build a community power sector. She is the founding president of the Lake of Bays Renewable Energy Co-operative, a not-for-profit organisation building renewable energy facilities in Lake of Bays, Ontario to benefit the local community and the greater environment. A frequent presenter on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Melinda is a former board member of Passive Buildings Canada and the Solar and Sustainable Energy Association of Canada and is a member of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction.
MICK PATERSON - CONSTRUCTION MANAGER
Mick Paterson is Fourth Pig's Construction Manager. He began his career as a carpenter over 20 years ago in Australia where he became a licensed carpenter and licensed joiner and licensed builder. Mick also completed a three year Building Supervision program. He is a PHIUS Certified Builder as well as a Certified GreenSmart Professional, has a Carpentry and Joinery Trade certificate, and has completed part A of CanPhi West's Passive House Design and Construction course. Mick has rounded out his experience across four countries gaining invaluable construction knowledge. He has held management positions in both commercial and residential projects. Now Mick can be found on the jobsite as a site manager and project manager.
Mick’s work experience has been a mixture of commercial and residential construction work. Mick has managed commercial projects from $200k to $10m with clients including churches, fast food outlets, grocery stores, Government agencies, health care centres, yoga studios and various office interior projects. Micks’ residential experience has included 10 various contemporary modern green homes, an eco-duplex, a straw bale addition and whole house renovation in The Beaches area of Toronto. Mick’s expertise in natural and green construction includes straw bale building, rammed earth, earth sheltered construction, Passive Haus detailing with air sealing, healthy home construction, energy efficiency, passive house design and using recycled materials. Residential work values have varied from small projects to $2.5m dollar homes. Mick’s experience, keen eye for detail and passion for natural and green building make him an integral part of the Fourth Pig team.
GLEN BYROM - carpenter and natural builder
Glen Byrom is a founding member of the Fourth Pig Workers Co-op with over 20 years of experience in natural construction, renewable energy and related training programs. He is a PHIUS Certified Builder and has worked on over 30 straw bale houses, commercial buildings and as many Photovoltaic (PV) installations, in Canada and the US.
He has taught natural building workshops with the Fourth Pig and at Solar Energy International in Colorado, specializing in hands on instruction in natural construction and finishing including straw bale, cob, rammed earth, earth bag, passive solar design and adobe.
Glen is a skilled framing, trim and general carpenter and builder as well as having work experience as a plumber and electrical apprentice. Glen brings his expertise in natural and solar building techniques, renewable energy system design and installation and a passion and creativity for beautiful, healthy and functional spaces to the Fourth Pig.
KYLE LITTLE - CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER
Kyle Little is a Construction Project Manager. He is a graduate with honours of the George Brown College “Renovation Technician” Program, and has 15 years of varied work experience within the Canadian construction industry, ranging from custom high-end residential renovations and new construction to commercial and industrial projects.
Kyle has spent the last 5 years working as a full time Construction Project Manager, overseeing the successful execution of dozens of residential and commercial projects; including private residences, cottages, timber framed homes and ski chalets ranging from $150k up to $3.5 million in project value. Kyle prides himself on his organizational skills and communication, and always strives to deliver added value to projects and their stakeholders. He has also attended numerous seminars and training courses, to study a variety of different natural and sustainable construction technologies including rammed earth, timber framing, and light straw-clay wall assemblies. “I consider myself very lucky to be an active participant within the construction industry, where a person has the opportunity to work at something which is simultaneously challenging, nurturing and rewarding. I am even more fortunate to have the privilege to be employed within the natural and sustainable construction sector, which I personally find to be very energizing”.
TARYN GREEN - PROJECT COORDINATOR
Taryn Green, Project Coordinator. Prior to joining Fourth Pig, Taryn spent nine years working as a sustainability consultant with several prominent engineering and architectural firms. She has worked on a wide variety of sustainable building projects including residential, commercial and institutional developments throughout Canada and globally. Taryn's work has helped her develop her expertise in passive solar design, solar modeling and analysis, water efficiency and energy management. She has extensive knowledge of sustainable building standards including LEED, BOMA BEST, Energy Star, and the Toronto Green Standard. She is a Certified Energy Manager, LEED Accredited Professional and has a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Community Design from Dalhousie University.
MATTHEW ADAMS - DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AND EDUCATION
For over thirty years Matt has worked in non-profits in a variety of capacities, including in education, communications and business administration. He has a Masters Degree in Sociology and Equity Studies (Adult Education) from OISE/University of Toronto. He is the co-author of two adult education text books.
Matt was a the program director for a national literacy program in the U.S., he co-founded a popular education co-op in Toronto where he designed curricula and delivered trainings and workshops to many non-profits. He was also part of a community based research team exploring the social determinants of health. For many years he was a senior staff member at rabble.ca, Canada's most read independent news source and worked as the publicist for a long-running art festival and an independent press. In 2007 Matt was a co-founder of the Fourth Pig.
VANESSA BERRY - SITE SUPERVISOR AND CARPENTER
Vanessa Berry graduated with honours from George Brown College's Renovation Technician program. She has 10 years experience as a carpenter, and specializes in Victorian homes and structural elements, but has a wide range of skills. She has over three years experience in jobsite supervision and takes pride in her organizational and communications skills to keep everything running smoothly. She loves the continuous learning environment of the construction industry, and finds the increasing development of green building side of things is particularly exciting.
Vanessa also has a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Trent University, and has done post-graduate work in creative writing at Humber College. She loves books almost as much as she loves animals. She has volunteered within her housing co-op in various capacities over the years, and appreciates the co-operative model of the Fourth Pig.
JESSE MATTHEWS - CARPENTER
Jesse Matthews has over 15 years of hands-on experience in residential construction, renovation, and retrofits. After completing a series of conventional construction projects, Jesse deepened his knowledge with successful completion of the Construction Engineering Technician Program at Mohawk College, where he was able to merge his passion for housing with his interest in sustainability.
Jesse's education has continued with multiple training courses, and he currently holds both PHI Certified Passive House Tradesperson (Building Envelope Specialization) and PHIUS Certified Builder certifications. In addition to carpentry and site supervision duties, he takes great pride in his hands-on building envelope work with The Fourth Pig.
Jesse's passion for meaningful work has included volunteer experience with the Out of The Cold overnight shelter program, harvesting fruit for donation with local volunteer groups, and event planning with The Canada Green Building Council.
Jesse’s considerable hands-on experience provides a unique perspective on the many benefits of green and natural construction. His work in the industry has brought a sense of purpose in his career, and a deeper understanding of the positive roll such work can have on the surrounding community.
JUDE BIVAR - SKILLED LABOUR
Jude Bivar has over twelve years experience as a construction tradesman and entrepreneur. Projects included rural community infrastructure initiatives to urban residential properties. Jude’s work ethos is grounded in sustainable practices, functionality, education and maintaining a healthy work environment. In 2014 he obtained a Certificate in Sustainable Building, Design and Construction from Fleming College. Through this program he learned natural building techniques such as straw bale, waddle and daub, stone masonry, timber framing, earth/clay/lime plasters, modern framing and insulating. Jude’s passion lies in working with wood and natural materials to create beautifully-executed and effective products, as well as working closely with designers and builders to realize a vision. Earlier in his career, Jude worked as a racking technician and glass installer of solar panels, as a tower technician for a community internet provider, and also spent many hours organic farming. Outside of work, Jude is also an avid musician and community radio enthusiast.
KEVIN PLEASANTS - skilled labour
Kevin Pleasants has worked in the building industry for the past 7 years. Growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, he started restoring historic Victorian homes from the 1700’s. After receiving a degree in Economics and International Development from McGill, he went to NYC and worked for an environmental non-profit that specialized in architectural salvage. There he learned the extent of the impact that the building sector has on the environment while helping to divert thousands of pounds of functional building materials from landfills. Kevin then went on to spend 2 years as an Operations Manager at a home-services start-up called Handy where he learned the business side of the home services industry. Before moving back to Canada, he spent a year living in a converted Honda Element, driving all over the US and Canada to explore the national parks. He is excited to be developing his skills in carpentry and learning more about natural building with the Fourth Pig.
NICK ALLEN - APPRENTICE CARPENTER
Nick Allen is an apprentice carpenter with The Fourth Pig. After Graduating high school in 2011 Nick enrolled at Central Technical School in a Carpentry OYAP course (Ontario youth apprenticeship program). It was here that Nick learned the fundamentals of carpentry and decided to pursuer a career in the Construction Industry. Since then Nick has worked with various construction companies in both residential and commercial settings. Most recently Nick has received an advanced diploma from Fanshawe College in Architecture Technology (2017).
Nick has always had an interest in sustainable construction and is excited to be part of the Fourth Pig team and to grow his knowledge in this aspect of the industry.
ERIC DESROCHES - APPRENTICE CARPENTER
Eric is one of our newest additions to the Fourth Pig team. He is a Carpenter’s Apprentice graduating with honours from the “Construction Engineering Technology” program at George Brown College in 2017. It was during those studies that he took a keen interest in sustainable building and saw the future in the way we design and construct our buildings. Eric has hands-on experience in both residential and commercial construction, renovations, and retrofits. Continuing education has been a motivation for Eric he is on his way to becoming a Passive House consultant - completing the 120A: Passive House Design and Construction course. Outside of work, Eric enjoys family time, exploring Muskoka, and a good game of pick-up hockey
SALLY MILLER - CO-FOUNDER AND TREASURER
Sally Miller (PhD) is a researcher and writer who has worked in sustainable food and agriculture for almost twenty years both in Canada and in the U.S. She has extensive experience as a consultant and manager in a variety of organic and natural food and agriculture co-operatives and enterprises (including the Ontario Natural Food Co-op and Organic Meadow, as well as Greenstar Co-op and Finger Lakes Organic in the U.S.). After work at the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, she was a founder of the Fourth Pig Worker Co-op in 2007 and worked on tools as a construction worker for a year. In 2008-2012, she worked with Toronto’s West End communities to develop one of Canada’s first non-profit multi-stakeholder co-ops, the West End Food Co-op.
Sally worked with FarmStart to develop alternative financing for new farmers and with Toronto Public Health and the Parkdale Food Flow project on community food distribution. She was the Project Coordinator for the Regional Food Hub Project at the Local Organic Food Co-op Network, based at the Ontario Natural Food Co-op and is currently doing research for an international food project and assisting on the business side with the Fourth Pig.
Sally's publications include Edible Action: Food Activism and Alternative Economics and Belongings: The Fight for Land and Food.