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Resident Profile: Mike Osburn

By November 18, 2014Connections, Front Page

Mike Osburn, a Starpoint resident, is a wood artist who creates beautiful functional art from reclaimed wood. Blakely Hall was in need of a new dining room table as part of 10-year update. There couldn’t be a better-matched furniture builder for our LEED-certified community hall. Highlands Council is proud to have a legacy piece of furniture, made by a resident, for our residents. Come by and enjoy the new table, pictured here, made from salvaged Ponderosa Pine from a pine-beetle-decimated forest in Montana. But wait, there’s more! Mike’s handcrafted wood work is his retirement occupation. He spent over 40 years as an architect and designer specializing in main media centers for super events, such as The Olympic Games and World Cup. ‘Another amazing neighbor we need to get to know better!

Tell us about your career with sporting events. I’ve worked with many “Super Event” facilities including World Cup, NFL Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship and multiple college/professional stadium projects. I worked on five Olympic Games: Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City and Athens.

What did you specialize in? I do what’s called the “overlay” for the sports facility, transforming it from a local/regional venue to accommodate the largest international sports events. My firm’s success with the 1994 World Cup, held in nine venues across the U.S., is what recommended us to The Olympic Games. I specialize in main media centers which are the combination of world broadcast and written press facilities.

What is the hardest thing to do? Being able to begin another new Olympic or Super Event Project and convincing the local country professionals (just like we do every time) that they ‘haven’t seen anything like what is about to happen…and the politics involved.

What don’t the host professionals “get”? They think that since they hold large sporting events in their venues that they are prepared to host The Olympic Games. “We do this all the time,” they say. “No, not like this,” we say!

For example? The sheer scale of it is unimaginable. They need to handle 70-80% more of EVERYTHING. A typical main media center for The Olympic Games can be more than 2M square feet. (Think: four of our Swedish hospitals!)

I understand that you are going to do some consulting for the 2016 Rio games. What keeps you coming back for more? The complexity of the programming and planning – being part of and around world class athletes.

How long have you lived in issaquah Highlands? My wife Emily (of 42 years) and I have lived here for six years. We moved here from Bellevue because Emily takes care of our 10-year-old grandson Kelsey and his 15-year-old brother Paris here in the Issaquah Highlands. She wanted to be closer to them.

Where are you from? Both Emily and I were born, raised and educated in Montana (Montana State University graduates). We lived in Tucson for many years until we had the chance to relocate to our favorite part of the country – and to be closer to Emily’s two brothers who have lived in the Seattle area for many years.

What do you like about the NW, and why? We don’t just like it here, we ‘love it’! Going anywhere and seeing water, green trees, lush under-forest covering and the four seasons. We love Issaquah Highlands because of the care in planning, density, parks and natural areas and a variety of living options.

Tell us about Wood Shed Productions. My slogan is ‘handcrafted by hand’. I uniquely create live edge sustainable/salvaged rustic furniture that is actually functional art. I get my inspiration from both the Native American and Asian cultures. It was born as an outlet for my creative side when I retired from a career in Architecture/Super Event Planning

What makes you smile? My family. A clear water stream flowing in a foggy forest. A birdie on a tough golf hole. A great wood grain pattern designed by Mother Nature and the ability to enhance and coax it into functional art.