Isawmyworkasdealingwithrealplaces,realpeople, solvingproblems,andtodayit’sstillalovefor community,theworkandfeelingchallengedbyit. New York, Chicago, Beijing – any young architect just out of college would be pleased to land a job in one of these bustling cosmopolitan cities. Jack Forinash knew this in 2008 when he graduated from Auburn University in Alabama with a degree in architec- ture. Instead, he found himself headed for rural Utah. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, his marching orders were to help Green River’s estimated 950 residents build better, more affordable and sustainable housing, and to find ways to nurture and grow the economy. Nearly a decade later he’s still, very happily, there. “I started out working at a community center, connecting residents to housing sources and with after school pro- grams for kids,”Jack says.“I quickly realized there was a lack of access to resources, whereas residents might know of programs, but they are far away. Things like getting food stamps, or even making copies. Things like these impede people. I saw my work as dealing with real places, real peo- ple, solving problems, and today it’s still a love for commu- nity, the work and feeling challenged by it.” Green River, he points out, has no housing agency, no official chamber of commerce. So, with RCAC’s help, Jack – along with fellow architecture classmates Maria Sykes and Rand Pinzon – formed Epicenter, a nonprofit dedicated to Green River’s rural pride and pioneering spirit. The non- profit offers housing counseling and home repair, business resources and community support. In founding Epicenter, Jack says,“We’ve had a lot of influ- ence and help from RCAC over the years.”He cites RCAC’s Building Rural Economies program with helping local business leaders and owners work together in a region that has seen its share of economic booms and busts. Current projects include developing a model for trailer replace- ment – half of the town lives in trailers, he says – and building a dozen multifamily housing units, a significant goal in a town that has only 12 apartments. Epicenter was considered for a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant, a boon, says Jack,“To help folks see that we’re not just a stop on the way to somewhere else.” Jack Forinash