History

A Deep Passion for Innovative Wood Structures

It didn’t take long for Stanford University graduate students Ben Brungraber and Mack Magee to recognize a common interest in timber frame construction and engineering, but it took them another 23 years to form Fire Tower.

In 1983, Ben was acquiring his Ph.D. in Mortise and Tenon Joinery when he met Mack, who was on his way to a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis on construction management. Mack became one of Ben’s top students, then his replacement as a surveying instructor, while Ben, with Mack’s assistance, delved further into the science of timber frames.

With degrees in hand, they embarked on successful careers – Ben as one of the growing American timber frame industry’s first full-time engineers, and Mack wearing many hats as a project engineer, construction manager and director of operations at both large corporations and small timber framing companies. In the midst of busy professional and family lives, they again joined forces in the early 1990s to conduct a series of seminars on engineering concepts that helped advance the industry’s understanding of timber frame design and construction.

In 2006, with vast collective experiences and stubborn streaks of independence, Ben and Mack founded Fire Tower Engineered Timber. They settled in Providence, RI, and with the talented participation of Duncan McElroy, and more recently, Joe Miller, Fire Tower set out to help clients build beautiful, interesting, sometimes whimsical and always lasting wood structures.