Kimber started working with his hands at the age of 10 when he began laboring summers for his father's contracting business in Western New York State. Over the years VanRy Restoration Contractors grew to focus on historic and landmarked properties, winning awards for work on numerous locally and nationally landmarked properties. After an English degree at the University of Buffalo, Kimber received an MS in Historic Preservation Planning at Eastern Michigan University, the country's largest historic preservation program. Following an internship with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC and supervising a ten-county heritage-based internship program in southwestern Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s, Kimber got married, moved to Brooklyn and settled in to raise a family. After 15 years of working in new media photo and film licensing with Getty Images and Thought Equity Motion, Kimber made the move back to his roots with the work we do at Velez and VanRy Building and Renewal LLC. Kimber believes the present day holds an opportunity to return to a mindset that values tradition, handcraft, local business and a pride in walking away from a day's work with the satisfaction something has been built to last. As Kimber says, "I can build you a house from a hole in the ground to the shingles on the roof."
Rick Ortega Velez
Rick has a formal education in the Fine Arts. Having attended Brooklyn's storied Pratt Institute, Rick learned first-hand the joy of creating things for the sake of aesthetics as well as practicality. Rick also started working as a young boy. Ever entrepreneurial, he readily sought and won jobs painting fences, mowing lawns and doing freelance illustration. He also worked in his family-owned restaurant business. Even then, Rick was no stranger to the "night and weekends" schedule and learned the value in working until the job is done. After his BFA at Pratt, Rick moved into sales and marketing for various new media internet start-ups before landing at Getty Images. He partnered with Fortune 500 enterprises and provided valuable products and services to the small and medium business community. Recognizing this demographic as the lifeblood of the country, he set out to join the ranks of other promising, community-based small businesses. Working for industry-leading companies has left Rick with many lessons, not the least of which is the importance of delivering what is promised professionally and precisely.