Angela Damman is one of those people who can do it all. And in a little town in Mexico, she has done just that.
After studying International Business Development and Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin, Angela worked in Renewable Energies for several years, during which she had the opportunity to travel to many countries and collect ideas for her design endeavors. She helped to establish global markets for renewable energy technology and outreach programs on sustainability in areas of the environment, transportation, energy, agriculture and lifestyle, and launched a green event and green business service.
Four years ago, she and her husband Scott sold their home in Salida, Colorado. They gathered up their children, four-year-old India and two-year-old Finley, and headed for Telchac Pueblo in the Yucatán state of Mexico.
Since they’d agreed to move abroad, the Damman’s decided to do something really different. They both liked to renovate properties, so why not just go for it in all possible ways?
They soon purchased a run-down hacienda that Angela felt a connection to. Hacienda San Juan was built in the 1880’s by a Spanish family from the Basque region. It was a working hacienda, processing henequén for decades. The original owners vacated the property and gave it to the village. The hacienda was later purchased from the village in the 1980’s. It was in ruins and the new private owner began major restorations, which the Damman’s have taken over.
Collaborating with Katrin Schikora and George Samuelson of the Takto Design Group, she makes products from the henequén and the natural fibers from the area, some of which she grows right on her property. She hires local people who have the skills and know the techniques for working with the plants. The end products are beautiful which in turn inspires the workers.
Angela loves contributing to the local economy by hiring and sometimes training workers in the area. She gives them an opportunity to earn money by working from their homes and using skills that they learned long ago. She pays them higher than average wages to motivate them to do a good job and make them feel that they are part of the team.