Meet Our Team
SEVERIN OLIVER, PRINCIPAL
I am a Bay Area native, born and raised in Berkeley. Being outside and working with my hands drew me to building since I was a child. I have always been drawn to the detail of building, and I enjoy every aspect of construction. Specializing in stair building and finish carpentry has taught me to look at both the full picture as well as the fine details in the building trade. Now, as the principal of Oliver Builders, my goal is to make the whole experience as transparent and collaborative as possible.
Coming from parents who were both self-employed, it feels natural to run my own business. I love getting to know my clients, and developing a warm and trusting relationship with them. I take great pride in having assembled a team of caring people who understand the importance of the honest and open relationships we build with our clients, architects and other team members.
In my free time, you may find me mountain biking in Marin County, or hiking and spending time with my family. My wife, daughter and son are my pride and joy!
LUIS VILLALOBOS, PROJECT MANAGER
As Oliver Builders Project Manager, I enjoy working with people and knowing their strengths. Communicating exactly what needs to be done and planning in detail is what I value in my work. I enjoy every aspect of the challenge of carrying a job through; from beginning to end, from reading the set of plans, to discussing each aspect of those plans with everyone involved which would be home-owners, architects, engineers, sub-contractors, and inspectors, to executing every part of the project on schedule. I always shoot for perfection in all of these aspects.
I did my schooling in Guadalajara, Mexico, then moved to the U.S. 20 years ago. I have been working with Severin for the last 13 years. When I’m not at work, you can find me fishing, camping, dirt biking, attending rodeos or spending time with my family. I return to Mexico periodically, where I am helping my sister build her house.
JOEL CHALA, PRODUCTION MANAGER
I have worked with Severin for about 15 years, and it still feels like going to school every day because I’m always learning from him. Being part of the OBI team is a joy. I take pride in collaborating and communicating promptly and effectively with clients, architects and subcontractors.
Originally from Cuba, I received my teaching credential in technical drawing and building techniques; my first experience with woodworking was teaching a carpentry class to deaf middle school students in Havana. Since moving to the U.S., I have been involved in many aspects of construction, and spent over 12 years learning the trade of cabinet-making before I stepped into the role of production manager.
I enjoy spending time in nature with family and friends, dancing at parties, going out to eat, playing soccer, and mountain biking which Severin introduced me to. I also spend a lot of time volunteering at my daughter’s school as the PTA co-president.
ISIDRO CAMPOS, PROJECT LEAD
I’ve been a carpenter for over 30 years, and what excites me the most is that I never stop learning. I grew up in Mexico, where I majored in architecture. However my real education in carpentry began when I was a child working side by side with my dad and brother, Juan; we would spend our free time exploring the forests and bringing home beautiful pieces of indigenous wood, which we then transformed into high-end furniture using only hand tools.
I enjoy carrying on the family tradition here in Berkeley, and am proud to be working for a construction company, which values craftsmanship, and has respect for our natural resources.
JUAN CAMPOS, PROJECT LEAD
I have been doing woodworking since I was a kid. Although I specialize in furniture and cabinet making, stairs and trimming, I really enjoy the whole construction process. I welcome the challenges that carpentry brings in every project. One of the things I appreciate the most about working at Oliver Builders is collaborating with my colleagues, trouble-shooting and figuring out how to accomplish complex tasks. I also enjoy teaching others and helping the team be successful. In general, I echo everything my brother Isidro said, with this addition: It sure is nice having access to power tools!
During the weekends and my days off, I treasure being at home with my family, fishing, and volunteering at my children’s school.
DEREK LOVELESS, PROJECT LEAD
I was born in New York but spent most of my childhood In Colorado. After moving around quite a bit I have landed in Berkeley and have made it my home.
Building for me is a family tradition. My father was a builder and a business owner. One of my brothers runs my father’s company in New York and my other brother owns a finish carpentry company in Colorado. I say this because building is what I have always done. I consider finish work my specialty although I am experienced is all areas of construction from Framing to Finish work. I also really like installing tile!
I am really glad I have landed with Oliver Builders. We have a great team of people whom I feel align with my values and priorities. Although I have a lot of confidence in my abilities after 30 years of building I really enjoy being part of the OBI team.
When I am not building I am spending time with my Son or walking the golf course, my activity of choice!
MARK OLIVIER, JOURNEYMAN CARPENTER
I have a 10-year work history in construction under my belt, so I know what a disruptive process construction can be to homeowners. As such, I always try to empathize with them and listen to their needs in order to facilitate the project’s success. My ability to get along well with my co-workers, to continually learn new aspects of building, and to understand the architectural plans are some of the aspects I enjoy in my work.
I also have a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and enjoy cooking, being with my dogs and bird watching. I’m also an artist, and am mainly in my studio working on projects when I’m not at Oliver Builders. If you’ve ever driven down Colusa Avenue in Berkeley, and wondered about the yard sculpture art, that’s my house!
ARMANDO GARCIA, CARPENTER
I’ve been working in construction since I moved to the United States in 2002. I was born in Michoacan, Mexico. I started my construction career at an early age, helping my Dad by mixing cement. My experience in Mexico helped to prepare me to do masonry work, but framing and carpentry I learned here in the US.
I know all of the trades involved in building a house, but if I had to choose, framing is my favorite trade. I love the immediate reward of putting together walls and lifting them up and seeing the results. I also enjoy framing complicated roofs which are always a great challenge.
Oliver Builders has given me a new extended family. I love the support and the feeling of comradery. I am grateful for the consistent work, and flexibility and open communication that working for Oliver Builders provides. When I am not working I like to spend time fishing, riding my dirt bike and playing soccer.
JUAN CANCHOLA, CARPENTER
I was born and raised in Mexico. I moved to the US is 2002. My first job was with a San Francisco based landscaping company, but I fell in love with construction right away and changed gears to work on becoming a builder.
My introduction into the construction field began with a big company based in Manteca that focused primarily on track home building. We built dozens of houses at a time, and it gave me the production techniques that I apply to my daily work.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Oliver Builders family. It is a great working environment. There is a lot of support and encouragement. It is real TEAM work.
When I’m not at work you can find me at a BBQ with friends, playing sports or exploring new trails in nature.
FELIPE PEREZ, CARPENTER
I used to be a commercial sheet metal welder, where I developed a skill set that is valuable in the world of construction. I am very detail oriented and good at trouble-shooting issues when they arise. My favorite part of working on a project is seeing it come to a beautiful completion. It’s important to me that I keep learning and getting better at my trade; the opportunities to grow and advance are part of the reason why I love working at OBI and with the team at Oliver Builders.
I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes as well as discovering new restaurants. I also love tinkering with cars, and being at the park with my dog.
JOSE MEJIAS, CARPENTER
I have worked with Severin for over 10 years, starting as an apprentice and working my way up to being a carpenter. I appreciate his teaching, professionalism and patience. I am passionate about my work. I love building in general; from forming to trimming although framing and trim work is what I like the most in a construction project.
I enjoy relaxing during the weekends by watching the NFL games and being at home with my wife and kids.
JUAN GONZALEZ, CARPENTER
I love all aspects of carpentry, although framing is my favorite part because it gives me such a great sense of accomplishment.
I was born and raised in Nicaragua. I moved to the US when I was 22 years and have been doing construction work for over 15 years. Before becoming part of the OBI team, I spent 6 years doing foundation work. I am glad to bring this experience to our team, and appreciate being part of the OBI crew.
Over the weekends, I enjoy many activities such as watching the NFL games, fishing, participating in my church and riding my bicycle.
SYLVIA KRATINS, BOOKKEEPER
I am the bookkeeper for OBI. I really enjoy working with Severin and the rest of the crew, some of whom I’ve known for years. We are a great team; it makes the work fun when you know you can rely on other people to do their jobs well.
I have a degree in economics from Mills College in Oakland, and have been an independent bookkeeper for 15 years. I am also an actress and a singer. I have been acting since I was a child and am a member of the San Francisco Vocal Ensemble Conspiracy of Venus.