Mr. Monaghan, a New Orleans native, has extensive experience in building design and construction supervision. In the months after he waded through the waters of Katrina searching for his mother, he was moved by the circumstances of families enduring FEMA trailers, living far from home, or trying to undertake costly renovations of their flood-prone houses. Few builders were offering quality, affordable, new homes for a price families could afford.
Every renovation horror story intensified Mr. Monaghan’s conviction that the renovation of severely damaged houses is not the right answer for most New Orleanians. Quality new homes, he believes, should be an affordable option. Families have a right to move back to safe, new houses that better equip them to withstand future storms.
Forty-two years at the helm of his own construction, design, and development business have given Mr. Monaghan the experience necessary to undertake this ambitious rebuilding project. He has built more than half a million square feet of commercial and residential space and has designed hundreds of residential plans. Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Monaghan’s New Orleans upbringing instilled in him the love for the city’s distinct architectural style that guides his Build Now designs.
Mr. Monaghan designs each of Build Now’s floorplans and oversees the organization’s green building program. His supervision and eye for detail ensure the homes’ high quality. He has donated over half a million dollars to the Build Now Foundation and has never taken any compensation for his work.
Mr. Monaghan graduated from St. Martin’s Episcopal School before going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Yale University and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Tess moved to New Orleans in 2008 to become Build Now’s first Executive Director. As co-founder, she grew the nonprofit from a concept to a vibrant player in the New Orleans community. After 4 years managing Build Now’s operations and advocating for New Orleans’ displaced homeowners, she stepped down to pursue her interests in community development, food politics, and social entrepreneurship.
Tess graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, and before moving to New Orleans worked as a consultant at Bain & Company in New York City. She now works as an independent strategy and marketing consultant in New Orleans and remains committed to helping Build Now succeed in her role as a Board Member.