A serendipitous marriage brought together as stepbrothers two men who quickly discovered shared interests in nature, wood and working with their hands. Bob Snyder and Scott Alexander are the principal creators of Nature’s Fell.
Nature and the outdoors have called to Bob Snyder all his life. A mechanical engineer by schooling (Bucknell University), his day job is that of president, CEO and fourth-generation owner of a successful New Jersey construction business.
High-energy, creative and entrepreneurial, Bob looked at Hurricane Sandy’s fallen trees and envisioned a business that would preserve their former beauty for generations to come.
Nature’s Fell has become his avocation and he brings to it a host of engineering, construction and management capabilities that translate seamlessly into building this unique new business.
This, for Bob, is giving back, in a sense, to all the people so caught up in the demands of contemporary life that they’ve lost sight of the fact that wood actually comes from live, growing trees.
The business takes a tree and makes something of it, and in doing so fulfills a passion of Bob’s. He says it’s like his personal canvas – an outlet for his creative drive; one that speaks as well to his love of tools and of building things, and also his thirst for learning.
Driving around with Scott after Hurricane Sandy, the idea seemed so natural when it hit: Hey, let’s build furniture!
Growing up with a father who did everything himself taught Scott Alexander by example that he could, too. From installing a fish tank in a wall to completely renovating their home, Scott’s dad never brought a tradesman in for any project. He recalls living in a succession of houses growing up; all his parents ever bought were fixer-uppers.
From his mother’s side, Scott inherited artistic ability; both his mom and his aunt are accomplished painters.
In wood shop in elementary school woodshop, Scott discovered a love of carving and craftsmanship that he carried into high school and beyond. In wood shop and metal shop he made all kinds of things – knives, boxes, serving trays.
Later, searching for a hands-on, artsy-craftsy way to make a living, he realized he wasn’t going to find it in the college where he’d started, so he opted instead for culinary school. At Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., he experienced the satisfaction of creating something from raw material every time he made a dish.
After graduating in 1981, Scott spent the next 25 years in culinary pursuits, along the way picking up a love of ice carving. That, he says, grew out of a childhood love of wood carving; on a recent night he stumbled across a camel he carved in fifth grade.
Scott professes a “total love of nature”; whether he’s hiking South Mountain Reservation or camping Lake George, around trees and water, that’s when he’s in his element. Even his home reflects his joy in all things wood. Built in 1787, it is all post-and-beam construction, and, he says, as solid as the day it was built.
When Bob conceived the idea of Nature’s Fell, it presented the perfect opportunity for Scott to leave the culinary field for an exciting creative venture – the opportunity to work with high-quality tools and wood from salvaged trees to produce functional works of art.