Member Spotlight: Chad Welborn

In one word, Chad describes himself as thoughtful. He tries to consider other positions and how his decisions will affect others. Though he admits that sometimes he’s thoughtful to a fault and begins over-thinking things, it is a principle he tries to live by. He likes to spend his time serving others and helping clear barriers others face, even if it’s something small like getting something started or doing menial tasks to help someone get through their day.

As I was talking with Chad, it was clear that this word suited him. Growing up, he lived in a ranching community in Lima, Montana. It was a small and tight knit community where people were there for their neighbors when they needed it. This community bred a sense of thoughtfulness in its residents because the community depended on it. Even as Chad left Lima and moved to Bozeman for college, he brought his thoughtfulness with him.  

Chad’s professional life as a construction engineer reaches from Montana’s highways to the classroom. He is primarily  a project manager for the Montana State Department of Transportation. He also manages a cooperative internship program and teaches a senior capstone class on construction estimation for the Montana State University Civil Engineering department. 

Chad was most excited to talk about his work with the cooperative internship program. Cooperative programs involve mutual aid in achieving a goal. This program helps students studying civil and construction engineering gain field experience, while giving the MDT a chance to train potential future employees. Chad works with the interns, focusing on helping them learn the process that’s used to see a project through to completion. As we discussed the internship, it’s clear that he loves working with these students. He talks about this program with pride in his eyes and a smile on his face and it was apparent that helping these students get some vital experience working in the field, and encouraging them to continue studying engineering was a very fulfilling part of his life. He talked about it with undisguised energy and enthusiasm. 

Children make Chad hopeful for the future because he feels like they embody the thoughtfulness he centers his life around. He feels like children are learning to care for others more and how to be more mindful of how their actions impact others. This along with this access to knowledge and information gives the future generations a lot of potential. 

Chad’s desire to help others is just one of his passions along with reading and exploring new topics. His passions are what brought him to cohousing. He first discovered cohousing when reading a book called “Happy City.” This book sparked his interest and he started learning about how cities are built and about people’s behaviors and how they interact with each other. When he discovered Bozeman Cohousing  a year later, he was interested in joining. He is excited about the idea of a “custom neighborhood” which is influenced by its future residents and intentionally designed to promote interaction between neighbors. 

Now Chad is excited about the environment he’s helped create in  this new community. He has a six-year-old daughter and is happy that there will be a group of kids for her to play with in the community. He relaxed as he talked about the opportunities she’ll have growing up in Bozeman Cohousing.  She’ll have access to friends right outside their door in an environment created to be safe and engaging for them. This will be one of the biggest changes to their lives, as it will be easier for her to go out and play without needing to rely on the adults as much for planning and transportation.