WholeTrees® builds prosperous relationships with forests and communities.
WholeTrees® brings the abundant waste stream of healthy forest management to high-value construction markets. We supply to and catalyze the growing restorative building movement. We strive to add value to sustainable forestry to preserve and foster the awe and delight of our woodlands.
Our commitment of innovative and profitable use of forest byproducts is demonstrated by:
Excellent track record and trusted brand
Scalable production technologies
Proprietary engineering processes and researched design values
Digital inventory and future customer-facing software platform
Amelia Swan Baxter
Amelia Baxter co-founded Whole Trees with Roald Gundersen in 2007, as a response to the national attention received by Gundersen’s use of un-milled timber as a structural resource. Baxter leads her executive team toward both scale and innovation. Baxter has over a decade’s experience in market development, HR, and operations in numerous agricultural and land management projects. Throughout her career, Baxter has specialized in managing short and mid-term systems to reach long term goals, while attracting talented teams that build organizational capacity and successful momentum. She has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, speaks fluent Spanish, and has worked internationally with thought leaders in the Responsible Business movement. When left to her own fancies, she can be found gardening, biking, and mushroom hunting.
Roald Gundersen, AIA
Roald Gundersen has devoted the better part of the last 20 years exploring and experimenting with natural building and the architecture of small diameter round timber. He co-founded Whole Trees with Amelia Baxter and served as President and Principal Architect. Gundersen has designed and built round timber assemblies for commercial, institutional and residential applications. His travels and past projects have lead him to focus his architecture on the practical and environmental importance of using naturally abundant local materials. Gundersen has taken a hands-on-learning approach to architecture and materials, inspired by the wisdom of the 134 acres of forests he stewards near La Crosse, WI. He raises two children with Amelia Baxter, and when not with them, he can be found roaming the woods for hours.
Forestry & Inventory Manager
Derek Mayhew joined Roald Gundersen Design in 2004 and has been with Whole Trees since its inception. He heads up operations and manufacturing for Whole Trees, as well as working closely with Gundersen in the management of the Driftless Farm forest land. He believes that this job is on the cutting edge of real meaningful changes in the way we manage and cohabitate with Earth’s forests. Derek finds that his work with trees has a way of seeping into all aspects of his life, but he also spends his time in parenting his six year old son and planning the design of his future brewery on the moon.
Senior Strategic and Project Manager
Becky has joined WholeTrees as a Senior Strategic and Project Manager. She works on project management and process improvement, making everyone’s job easier by identifying and smoothing out the kinks. Her degree was in Forest Products back in the day, but through a sharp upward trajectory moved into executive project management positions. Becky now returns to trees after spending years in the IT and insurance industries. Becky likes to spend her weekends and vacations hiking followed by beers from someplace local.
Robert joined WholeTrees in March 2008 as an entry-level carpenter and has grown into a lead foreman and our go-to artisan craftsman with gusto. His attention to detail and ability to execute detailed projects in scales as small as serpentine wood benches to as large as entire commercial structures remains a huge asset to WholeTrees’ functionality. Rob has studied and built bamboo structures in Hawaii, bringing knowledge of re-purposing invasive wood species into viable round timber structural components. Elusive Works is Robert’s thriving art studio where he crafts wood-turned bowls as well as large-scale trompe l’oeil murals all over La Crosse, the Driftless Region, New York City, and Hawaii.
After completing a university work placement with WholeTrees in 2014, Michaela has returned to the team to manage WT’s research grants. She graduated from Metropolia UAS in Helsinki, Finland with her BSc in Civil Engineering focused on Sustainable Building Engineering. Her thesis on the potentiality of building-integrated photovoltaic energy for southern Finland received a Nordic GBC award for innovation. With her roots in natural building, Michaela hopes to continue the advancement of renewable structural design through research and development. She is an avid backwoods explorer, sauna advocate and team trivia connoisseur.
Candace joined WholeTrees as a project designer in Summer 2016. After earning her B. Arch at the University of Southern California in 2014, she traveled New Zealand to gain hands-on experience in sustainable building and organic farming for a year before settling in the Driftless region. She hopes to bring a contemporary design and technology-based perspective to WholeTrees. Although she is a California native, Candace does not know how to surf; however, she does enjoy growing tomatoes, baking sourdough, pen and ink sketching, road cycling, and circus arts in her spare time.
Owen joined WholeTrees in August 2011 as an entry-level carpenter and quickly established himself as the critical conduit of communication and details.He has been a steady hand at the Giles Residence from before day one. Throughout his childhood, Owen grew up assisting his father in building multiple homes from the ground up. Working for WholeTrees, he finds timber framing and joinery his greatest areas of interest. After the many long days working on-site, Owen spends his free-time playing hockey in a men’s league and disc golf.
Lead Carpenter and Timber Framer
Bryan has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry working in several disciplines, including design, new home construction, remodeling, drafting, timber framing and project management. Bryan studied architecture and philosophy as an undergraduate and went on to study Green Building as a graduate student. Bryan’s many years of Traditional Martial Arts and Zen study have greatly influenced his craft, resulting in strong, simple, elegant works with character.
Jesse joined the Whole Trees team in October 2016. He grew up in Muscoda where Whole Trees operates one of their kilns. His main focus is on supervising his team who processes whole trees for the company to implement in their many projects throughout the United States. Jesse‘s employment background includes apprentice toolmaker and custom woodworking. One his time away from his awesome job he can be found spending time with his four children and tinkering with Radio Control cars.
Sam came on board to WholeTrees in 2007. Sam leads nearly all our custom milling of local timbers for slabs, fascia, and trim. He has over 17 years of experience in construction and milling. In addition to working with WholeTrees, Sam runs Ocooch Mountain Milling and Construction which builds custom homes from forest to finish. Sam is a steam-engine of a worker, often juggling multiples projects with finite craftsmanship, hearty humor and steady endurance. His most enjoyable past-time, alongside timber framing, is hanging out with his kids.
The WholeTrees® Story
WholeTrees® found its roots in sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship at the Driftless Farm in Stoddard, Wisconsin. Roald Gundersen, AIA has been building with small diameter round timber for over 20 years. As Roald Gundersen Design, his practice sparked public interest through innovative design and its role in local sustainable forest management. Roald designed and built multiple structures including passive solar greenhouses, residences, an eco-tourism resort, restaurants, educational facilities and an office building.
Amelia Baxter recognized a vast market for round timber’s natural strength and beauty in commercial structural systems. Baxter and Gundersen founded WholeTrees Architecture and Structures in 2007 to propel their biophilic round timber structures towards wider audiences and create a larger positive impact.
WholeTrees utilized Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grants, as well as early sales to innovate the tools and technologies required to commercialize a scalable engineered product line made of waste trees. We continue to innovate and accelerate round timber adoption in construction to facilitate a restorative built environment.
Professional CEUs and Presentations
WholeTrees is certified to provide continuing education for AIA and GBCI professionals. Why Trees are Stronger than Wood is an intriguing presentation that will provide your team with a better understanding of round and mass timber in ancient and modern construction.
At the end of this course:
Participants will be able to name 3 types of historic structures built using small diameter timber
Participants will be able to name a benefit to the forest ecosystems or regional economies of building with small diameter timbers or other mass timber technologies (CLT)
Participants will be able to name a performance benefit of using small diameter timber structural system in bending strength, fire rating, fire failure mode, and life cycle performance
Participants will be able to quote a new learning of building with small diameter timber found in destructive testing at the USDA Forest Products Lab
Would you like to learn more about specifying WholeTrees into your projects for upcoming clients? We would be happy to provide a lunch and learn for your staff. Contact us with your needs for an educational session in person or via webinar.
How can we help you?
800 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703
e7802 Saugstad Road
Westby, WI 54667
e2890 Lorenz Road
Stoddard, WI 54658