Although he didn't intend to start a business, Sidney founded sustainable real-estate company Big George Ventures last year after buying 100 acres of land in Carson Valley from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. With that property and one employee (his friend and flight instructor), Sidney aims to build affordable, eco-friendly single and multifamily homes, made with sustainable materials like ICF (insulated concrete forms) that are designed to keep the houses warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Still in the planning stages, he's also meeting with scientists this week in MIT's urban-planning group to get more cutting-edge ideas on sustainable building. If zoning permits, he hopes to have the homes built within the next few years.
"A lot of real estate developers are about the bottom line. To me, it's not critical to squeeze every dollar out of the land," Sidney said. "This project is about doing what's good for the planet, what's good for the locals, and what's good for the company."
---------------------Ray Sidney, former Google software engineer