“When you come down to your lowest ebb, it is your values and faith in yourself that will help you build up from there”, Craig White.
What is your job about?
The ModCell system uses straw bale and other materials to provide insulation, creating an energy passive building system. We create affordable buildings which are beautiful to be in, care for health and wellbeing and reduce heating and cooling bills by 90%.
What issues do you address?
- Climate change, resource use, affordability, fuel poverty
- Work within the natural carbon cycle
- Renewable materials – timber straw and hemp
What moved you into action?
When I was younger in the 70’s early 80’s, there was a strong sustainability movement but the news was very negative, there was a focus on problems but not solutions. I wanted to find out how we could make things better and find actual solutions.
What are the obstacles that you had to overcome?
Skeptical barriers. Overcome this by innovating, committing to the idea.
We put our own money where our mouth was and people began to think it was actually a good idea. We catalysed over 4 million pounds of research funding, and became world experts on building with straw.
Two years in ModCell was doing very well, unfortunately our financial director stole a huge amount of our money (he is now in prison). I experienced the real fear of failing and going completely bust, for a very short while I even considered suicide (but stopped because I knew what it would do to Linda, our son, family, colleagues and friends), the potential of loosing our house and our other business was very real. A friend of ours, Martin Connolly, spoke to me about our difficulties and all of the fears I had. After discussing things for over an hour he said ‘ you have not once asked me if I would invest’ I replied that I didn’t think he should. He immediately asked me again. I didn’t wait for a third time! – Martin did invest and he kept us afloat during the most difficult of times. Without him, we would have lost both businesses and 30 people, their jobs.
What helped keep you going during hard times?
The most helpful thing was simply talking to people, and realising that other people go through hard times. Theirs may not seem as significant as yours and its different for everyone. But talking helps.
My mother’s wisdom ‘ It’s ok, you are not indestructible, time will pass and it will be ok in the end’ really helped me. The pressure I put myself under was immense, my Mother made me realise that that was an unfair thing to do. Being able to accept my own fallibility was a turning point.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?
10 this year – If you had asked me last year it would have been 2. A five fold improvement. My mother was right.