Respect the Craft Spotlight: Nolan Cotham

When Nolan Cotham found that the “9-to-5 grind with a tie on” wasn’t for him, he returned to working in the trades, where he finds the work to be stable and rewarding.

Share This

Nolan Cotham of Ojai, California

“Watching my dad work in the trades, I saw that you can do well for yourself and still have freedom in your life,” says Nolan Cotham.

From a young age, Nolan Cotham worked at his father’s construction company. After getting a taste of the corporate world, he was drawn back to the flexibility and freedom that the trades offered.

“Seeing my dad build additions and custom remodels inspired me to get into the trades, and I worked with him during the summers when I went to college,” Nolan says. “After college, I started a career in freight forwarding with a Fortune 500 company, but the 9-to-5 grind with a tie on wasn’t my thing.”

He returned to work for his father, who employs Nolan and a friend fulltime through PeopleReady Skilled Trades and adds extra tradespeople as needed.

While his dad started out as a general contractor, he’s transformed the family business over the years to focus on custom, high-end residential additions and remodeling projects.

“One of the best things about residential construction is that it’s pretty recession-proof,” Nolan says. “People always need a place to live, so we stay busy.”

Because every project is different in some way, the work stays interesting.

“We get a lot of straightforward, bread-and-butter work, but also get to be creative. We take on some really large projects with extensive tear-outs—sometimes almost complete rebuilds.”

Nolan does a lot of framing, finish carpentry and tile work, but he also thrives on learning new techniques. One of the more memorable projects he worked on recently was a custom curved arbor made of redwood for a front yard.

“The owner was interested in ancient mathematics and geometry and was specific about the arbor’s curve and design. It was pretty interesting!”

On that project and many, many others, Nolan shared his enjoyment for working through PeopleReady Skilled Trades.

“I can count on my check, and the customer service is great. They take care of everything!”

Colin Chappell, Sr. Account Manager with PeopleReady Skilled Trades, recommended Nolan as a standout skilled worker.

“Nolan has nearly 5,800 safe hours worked with us, and he’s worked on a variety of large and small projects,” Colin says. “He started as an entry-level laborer, but through his commitment and hard work, has attained the skills and experience of a mid-level skilled trades carpenter. I’m thankful for the multi-year relationship we’ve developed.”

Nolan plans to stay in the trades and recommends them to anyone interested in active work. When we asked why, he said, “Watching my dad work in the trades, I saw that you can do well for yourself and still have freedom in your life.”

For Nolan, that freedom means having time for weekend gigs with a Los Angeles radio station, which he calls his passion project. Living near the ocean in Ojai, CA, he also loves getting out to surf at the end of the workday.

Learn how we Respect the Craft

PeopleReady Skilled Trades’ Respect the Craft tradesperson loyalty program was specially designed to celebrate dedicated tradespeople like Nolan. To learn more about how we show our respect and appreciation, visit

Looking for work?

If you’re a skilled tradesperson who is ready to find meaningful work and get the respect you deserve, turn to PeopleReady Skilled Trades.

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, we have connected tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more. Whether you need a single tradesperson or require a coordinated effort to dispatch skilled workers across multiple projects, we ensure you have the right people with the right tools, on-site and on time.