Engineer leaves oil biz to make shipping container homes

Have you ever thought about leaving your job to pursue your passion? A Pearland engineer did just that and says it's the best decision he's ever made.

NEEDVILLE, Texas -- Have you ever thought about leaving your job to pursue your passion?

A Pearland engineer did just that and says it’s the best decision he’s ever made.

Jon Meier graduated from Purdue University in 2009 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He went on to work from Boeing in St. Louis and then moved to Houston to work in the oil and gas industry.

“My job was relatively secure, but I was watching the doors close around me. My boss was let go, and I didn’t want to be the next,” Meier said.

Meier decided to take a big risk last January. He walked away from his high-paying job and all of the stability it offered to bring his vision to life.

“I always see these broken down containers on people’s yards and shipyards. There’s millions of them in Houston, and they go to waste,” Meier said. “Then I was thinking, I can get everything done to build these tiny little homes.”

Meier used his engineering knowledge and structural skills to begin transforming shipping containers into tiny homes.

He’s been doing all of the labor himself on a 37-acre property in rural Needville, about 40 miles southwest of Houston.

“I wanted to build the first one by myself without anyone knowing, because I wanted to gain the confidence to know I could do it,” Meier said. “It was scary. I was an engineer. It was a very sturdy job. I paid a lot of money to get my degree from a good school, but when you’re comfortable with something, it’s not scary anymore.”

Meier named his business Backcountry Containers and began posting about it on social media. It wasn’t long before Meier began receiving interest from prospective buyers across the country and as far away as South America.

He was confident his concept would be a hit, but Meier wasn’t expecting the phone call he received in September. A production company for the HGTV/DIY show “Tiny House, Big Living” offered Meier up a spot on the new season.

“We’re going to have a couple million people viewing this across the country. We’re expecting our website to be overloaded, and our phone will be ringing off the hook,” Meier said.

The episode will air at 8 p.m. Thursday on DIY and is expected to air again on HGTV in April. It will feature a model that Meier made for his 25-year-old sister-in-law.

“I just thought they were awesome and I wanted one,” said Emily Flowers, his sister-in-law. “I feel like I had a lot of wasted space in my apartment.”

Meier’s latest creation includes a custom closet to fit his sister-in-law’s 200 pairs of shoes.

His tiny homes range in price from $25,000 to $50,000. The models come in 20 and 40-foot lengths, are 10 feet wide and have rooftop decks to maximize space.

Meier believes the homes appeal to a wide demographic, from millennials to older folks to hunters in search of a sturdy lodge.

(© 2017 KHOU)


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