Need a school built in Ghana? How about an orphanage in Haiti? Give Daniel Wiens a call. He’s a construction expert with a humanitarian mission.
His five-year old non-profit, Journeyman International, takes on building projects for charities and philanthropic organizations that have the funds and desire to build abroad, but need construction and design expertise to bring their projects to fruition.
Wiens took on his first such project in college as a student of construction management. He and an architecture student partnered to design and build a dental clinic in Belize.
“After finishing that project, I was just sitting around thinking it was effective, we did a great job, and I bet there have to be other students who would love to do something like this. And that was really the birth of Journeyman International.”
Wiens recruits students from top engineering and architecture schools to lend their talents to the non-profit, keeping costs low for clients. Services range from initial feasibility assessments to the creation of construction-ready blueprints and project management.
Projects can last up to a year or longer, and students often spend a considerable amount of time in underdeveloped countries, where they encounter a variety of logistical and cultural challenges.
“When you go to Cameroon it’s different from Ghana, which is different from Haiti. But that’s part of the fun,” says Wiens. “You meet with the local building officials, you meet with the city council, you meet with your client and you just start putting all of the pieces together.”
The “journeyman” in the organization’s name comes from the construction community, which the founder says is fitting for its mission.
“A journeyman, by definition, is someone who has mastered a trade, and that’s what we aim to become, a team that has truly mastered the art of humanitarian architecture and construction.”