Partner highlight: An unexpected friendship

Michael Robinson with Jila Ewart and her son, Jordan

At CommonBond, we’re deeply committed to the comfort, wellbeing, and success of residents. In order to ensure this, we need to have excellent partners who take great care in the work they do to build and maintain the places that residents call home.

We’re proud to call Frerichs Construction one of these partners.

In July 2017, CommonBond began the process of renovating a group of housing communities in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. To minimize the disturbance this would cause to CommonBond residents, we worked with Frerichs to keep residents in their homes during the renovations. For some, the construction was merely an annoyance. But for others, it could have caused real—although unintended—hardship. For one family in particular, the noise, change in schedule, and unfamiliar faces had the potential to completely disrupt an entire day.

"They are tremendous workers and even better people."

Jordan Ewart, a Dovetail resident, is 28 years old, and enjoys music, roller skating, go carting, and shopping. He also has a severe form of autism that renders him nonverbal. Light and noise are particularly difficult for him to process, and any change in schedule is a major challenge for him and his mother, Jila. Dealing with renovations could have been a huge disruption for the Ewarts, but thanks to the project foreman Michael Robinson and the rest of the Frerichs team, the family made it through the renovations comfortably and with a new friend by their side.

“Michael introduced himself and came around every day to explain what they would be doing and to make it clear that he would be available,” said Jordan’s mother, Jila. “After living here for 20 years, I was looking forward to the updates to my apartment, but absolutely dreading what it would mean for our routine.”

Michael worked hard to minimize any effect the renovation would have on the Ewarts, and encouraged Jordan to attend his adult day program on particularly disruptive days. Jordan grew gradually more comfortable with changes in furniture arrangements and new people entering their home.

“No one has ever gone to the lengths that Michael did to make sure Jordan was comfortable, and he was super flexible with their already tight construction schedule,” Jila said. After a couple weeks of this routine, Jordan grew to trust Michael and actually became so at ease with him that the surrounding daily construction was much more bearable.

The renovations had every opportunity to be challenging and disruptive for the Ewart family, but because of Michael’s thoughtfulness and care, it wasn’t. “There was never a day when Michael wasn’t upbeat and pleasant, and he just brings a light with him,” said Jila. In fact, Jordan admires Michael so much that to this day, he insists that the furniture remain how Michael and the Frerichs team left it.

Residents are at the center of everything CommonBond does—from initial construction to property management to ongoing supportive services. In addition to appreciating the flexibility of wonderful CommonBond residents, we are so thankful to Michael and Frerichs Construction for embodying this belief and extending our values into their work, too. In Jila’s words, “we are so grateful for the respect that Frerichs gave to our privacy and space. They are tremendous workers and even better people.”