Only in remodeling: “Name That Jobsite,” with a mystery photo to identify. What’s happening with the in-floor heating system of one project and the plaster ceiling of another. Crews eating pizza. Who did what at the holiday party. An update of outstanding bids. Carpentry students touring a jobsite. Recent media coverage of the company, including several bit roles in an HGTV-related website.

While chatter along these lines is typical in remodeling companies, the vehicle for sharing them is unique: “The Carpenter,” an internal e-newsletter shared monthly with the 33 employees and integral trade contractors of Pine Street Carpenters, of West Chester, Pa.

Staying Connected

Packed with photos, frequently funny, and both homespun and vitally informative, “[The Carpenter] has been a great way to keep field staff and office staff connected to each other,” says Brendon Dolan, founder and owner of the 16-year-old company. The e-letter’s focus, he says, besides getting out information, is highlighting the work of staff, including volunteer work performed off-hours. An unintended consequence is the echo effect: Many recipients also forward the e-letter to friends and family, furthering the warm vibe within the community.

Dolan’s brother Mike, marketing and communications manager (and one of five other Dolan brothers on staff), produces the e-letter in about six hours per issue, using tools such as GroupMail, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Dreamweaver. There’s no paper to print or mail, of course, and the return on investment is an immeasurable uptick in team cohesiveness and morale.

“Everyone loves it,” Mike says. Pine Street Carpenters is diverse, with far-flung staff on jobs in several counties as well as commercial jobs in other states. By being better informed about their company as a whole, readers have a stronger sense of ownership and community, he says.

See an issue of “The Carpenter” online.