It All Started in a Mongolian Yurt
“I love the feeling of awe. We’ve all felt it at some point or another in our lives, probably more when we were kids. Feelings of awe seemingly break the shackles off one’s imagination, and open a world of possibilities. Treehouses, to me, embody this world of possibilities, and with each treehouse I build I get to help fulfill someone’s desire to be in wonderment.”
In 1998, Will Beilharz, founder of ArtisTree, and his family moved to 88 acres undeveloped ranch land in the Texas hill country. A family of six in a mongolian yurt, the Beilharz clan grew their own food, harvesting their own electricity, and purified water from a spring. Will grew up where sustainability was the way of life. Over the course of four years Will learned how to build using native materials, and energy efficient designs while he and his father constructed their home. In 2005 the family started a zipline canopy adventure company, which Will helped build and operate.
After helping manage and train staff at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, Will went on to train staff at other canopy tours across the U.S. with STEPS Inc. Many of the training practices and risk management techniques developed by Will Beilharz and Michael Smith (of STEPS) now provide the foundation for operating procedures of canopy tours around the nation. Will would eventually serve as the STEPS assistant director of design and installation. In 2008, Will joined John Walker and Bonsai Design building canopy tours, learning to combine his love for nature and construction through caring for trees and building around, not through, them. The fusion of man and nature continues to inspire Will’s life and design.
Amy Beilharz, ArtisTree’s CEO, knows how to inspire people into action that brings results – from the home to the boardroom. She melds her Harvard Business School savvy with compassion and joy in living that is infectious. A fun loving mother of four, Amy is also a multi-million dollar entrepreneur, inspirational author, result-oriented business consultant, and leader of women’s groups. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Amy rose in the ranks of Fortune 500 companies creating marketing strategies for high-tech giants and successfully marketing the infant cellular phone industry. Amy now runs an eco-tourism business, Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, outside Austin, Texas. In 2005, her marketing skills took this small backyard business to national recognition — featured on the front page of the New York Times Travel section, on the Disney Channel, and in dozens of local, state, and national TV and print media. The first canopy tour in the continental United States became the model for what is now a national industry, with hundreds of canopy tours across the country.
In October 2012, Cedric began his work with ArtisTree and specializes in fine woodworking and rigging.
Cedric began working as an eco-adventure guide at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Austin, Texas in the fall of 2008 where he was able to apply his love for nature and helping people. In 2010 he became course manager as well as covering much of the in-house training for zip line guides. He managed over 25 employees and completed course maintenance including calibrating zip lines, inspecting structural components and pruning zip corridors.
An Arkansas native, Cedric began his outdoor career in East Texas working at a wilderness camp for troubled teens. Having always been drawn to nature, the guiding position allowed him to share his enthusiasm for the outdoors with kids that were in need of refuge and better influences. The experience served to be the most challenging and rewarding of his life and ultimately lead to his exposure of the challenge course industry. He has been inspired to work at heights ever since.
Jeff joined ArtisTree in April 2014. As a highly skilled craftsman, with an engineer’s mind, he plays an integral part in project planning and implementation. With extensive knowledge in custom home building and a degree in engineering, Jeff merges elaborate designs with grounded methodology to build beautiful, and sustainable structures that last. He is hands-on from start to finish, from the initial drawings to installing the finishing touches.
“My passion for building lies in the details of every piece that I create and install. I love building something that will not only look great new, but also has the longevity and strength to look great for many years to come.”
Lead Tree Climber, Forest Croft, joined ArtisTree in early 2014. When building a treehouses, Forest is the first one into the tree, and the last one out. His superior climbing skills, and risk assessment planning make him the perfect fit for climbing even the biggest trees. He draws from a background on film sets, in wood shops, and guiding nature immersion camps. Forest’s passion, and respect for the outdoors shines in his everyday work. As Project Coordinator for El Ranchito’s Conservation Corps he organized, managed and trained over 100 people on trail maintenance, and invasive species removal throughout 500 acres of trails. The natural classroom, in its many forms, has engrained in Forest an appreciation for diversity, and a keen desire to connect people with wild spaces.