Kevin M. Craffey bears a name cloaked in honor among the master carpenters of New England. The son and the grandson of former presidents of the carpenters union, he carries on the family tradition in grand fashion as the head of Craffey & Co., Builders Inc., a nationwide general contracting firm. When he started out as a carpenter, Kevin Craffey followed the same path his forebears had, joining the carpenters union’s apprenticeship program to earn his journeyman’s certificate.

The carpenters union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), has played an important role in the construction trades since its founding in the 1880s. It was a leader in the national fights for an eight-hour day and a minimum wage, as well as on-the-job safety rules. One of the most important contributions the union has made to the industry throughout its many decades of existence, though, is its training program.

The union knows that skilled workmanship is critical to the employer’s success. In union shops, it is the union that is responsible for certifying each worker’s qualifications, and those certifications are awarded only after a member has completed a rigorous training program that often includes years of hands-on practical experience acquired under the direct supervision of more experienced craftsmen. Kevin Craffey, for example, completed a four-year apprenticeship program with the UBC to earn his journeyman’s certification.

When the union certifies to the contractor that a worker is a journeyman carpenter, millwright, or cabinetmaker, it’s a guarantee that the carpenter meets a set of objective standards. That guarantee relieves the contractor of having to go through a time-consuming and costly process of testing job applicants to determine their skill levels. In addition, construction sites are inherently dangerous places, and UBC training always includes safety training appropriate not only to a construction site, but also to the specific skill set being taught.

The son and grandson of master carpenters and leaders of their carpenters union, Kevin Craffey served a carpentry apprenticeship and earned his journeyman’s certificates from the Massachusetts United Brotherhood of Carpenters and from the Associated General Contractors of America. He founded three businesses – K & J Interiors, Inc., KJ Realty Trust Corporation, and Craffey & Co., Builders Inc. In 1999, Kevin Craffey embarked on one of the most ambitious jobs of his career, the restoration of Mountain View House.

Mountain View House started as a small inn in 1866 and grew over the years to become one of the White Mountains’ most impressive resorts, with a dining room that seated 450 guests and about 300 beds in 200 rooms. The resort sprawled over 3,000 meticulously maintained acres, offered its guests diverse sports and conference facilities, and boasted a magnificent view of the Presidential Mountain Range.

Ownership and operation of the resort remained in one family until they sold it in 1979, but the new owners couldn’t keep the resort going; it was foreclosed in 1986 and all its furnishings were auctioned off. Kevin Craffey purchased the vacant hotel in 1998, along with 300 acres of the original 3,000.

Having sat vacant for 12 years, the resort required significant renovations. Craffey successfully lined up the financing and the federal and state permits required to do the job, which included consolidating 145 of the rooms, adding a new kitchen, building tennis courts and a spa, performing extensive landscaping on the grounds, adding a nine-hole golf course, and installing modern amenities. The work took four years and cost $20 million, and in May 2002, in time for the summer season, the renamed Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa opened under Craffey’s management.

In recognition of the resort’s history and its role in the development of the White Mountains as a recreation area, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The following year, Craffey sold it to its present owner, the American Financial Group.