Alumni Profile: Mel Baiser '00
Mel (Pilbin) Baiser '00, co-owner of HELM Construction Solutions in Brattleboro, Vt., doesn't keep an eye on the bottom line. Rather, Baiser keeps an eye on the triple bottom line. Triple bottom line consulting is a framework that looks at financial, social and environmental performance.
"Part of our mission at HELM is to revolutionize the building process one company and one project at a time," says Baiser.
It's that dedication that led Baiser and co-owner Kate Stephenson to be recognized recently by the U.S. Small Business Administration for employment growth, financial success, expansion and community involvement. HELM Construction Solutions was named the 2018 Vermont Woman-Owned Business of the Year.
At Linfield, Baiser was heavily involved in student organizing and says the skills have translated to the construction industry.
"How do you have conversations with people who disagree with you? How do you connect with people who are so very different from you?" Because Linfield was small and community-oriented, Baiser says, "you could really have these conversations."
After graduating, Baiser lived in Central America for a few years, then moved to the Bay Area and worked in community organizing – a profession Baiser found rewarding but wearying. A friend offered the opportunity to take a break by renovating a house. "I loved the sense of accomplishment," Baiser said. "I loved being able to set a goal for the day and actually achieve it."
Baiser went back to school for construction management, and after returning to Vermont in 2010 to work for others, decided to launch an independent business.
A seventh-generation Vermonter, Baiser studied political science and sociology but didn't hone construction skills at Linfield.
"Believe it or not, I use my sociology degree every day. Construction management is all about working with teams of people under high-stress situations. You have to excel at communication, organization, strategic thinking and conflict resolution,” Baiser says.
"It's all part of what I studied," Baiser says. "Being a person who can meet people where they're at and understanding those dynamics, and that's what I learned at Linfield."
Nervous about getting a job after graduation? Don’t be. Linfield has been named the best college in Oregon for getting a job, and the best bang for your education buck in the state. Don’t trust somebody else's listing, though — just listen to our alumni.
One year out from graduation, 72 percent of Linfield graduates found a job in their chosen field. More than 70 percent said their first job was adequate to support their desired lifestyle.
The median income for alumni one year out was $55,333. And for alumni five years out? $65,666. (And those are 2013 figures, the latest for which we have official numbers. The figures now are likely to be significantly higher.)
Some of the employers our recent graduates work for are:
- New Orleans Saints
- Oregon Secretary of State
- Portland Timbers
- Columbia Sportswear
- United States Embassy
- U.S. Department of Education
We also have a Career Center that will be there for you from day one of your freshman year to graduation, and beyond — it’s available to all Linfield alumni.