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Class of 2024

President, Lively Builders Inc.: Age 38

Joshua LivelyTired of working in the weatherization industry, Joshua Lively took the class and test to attain his construction supervisor’s license, but it got sent to the wrong state.

So … he waited.

In the meantime, “I was sick of my job, and my boss was sick of me,” he recalled. “One day, I got back from vacation and decided I’d had it, so I walked in and quit. When I got home, my construction supervisor’s license was in the mailbox, so that seemed like destiny.”

It was also a risk, with a 2-year-old daughter and his wife eight months pregnant with another child. But he immediately went to work framing and building with some friends in the Springfield area, learning from other carpenters and performing a range of different jobs, from installing above-ground pools to putting up walls for new house builds.

For the next two years, they got more and more calls — an experience Lively called “an eye-opening finishing school” and the final step to what came next: launching his own business, Lively Builders, in Montague.

“I started with a Dodge Dakota pickup truck and some cheap tools. Now I’ve got a 3,000-square-foot garage and multiple trailers and trucks. It’s grown tremendously over the past 12 years,” he told BusinessWest, adding that some of his work involves blighted properties and improvements to solve health and safety issues for homeowners. He’s also been named Franklin County’s favorite building and roofing contractor two years in a row in a Greenfield Recorder poll.

Lively volunteers his time to local government; he chairs the Montague Zoning Board, is a Montague Town Meeting member, and spent several years chairing the Montague Capital Improvements Committee.

“I like supporting the community in a nuts-and-bolts way — ‘oh, the DPW needs to repair this infrastructure.’ That’s unseen stuff that nobody wants to get into. Now I’m able to affect how the town is going to look in the future,” he explained. “I enjoy it, and I think it’s important to model this behavior for my kids and for other people in the community — to unite the rest of the silent majority who would otherwise keep quiet until someone steps up and does something.”

Lively also volunteers on the board of the Franklin County Youth Football League, even calling games in the announcer’s booth for the Franklin County Bulldogs. He also recently purchased a plane and sits on the Turners Falls Municipal Airport Commission — yet another sign that his career has, indeed, taken off.

—Joseph Bednar