Meet Meegan Czop

Meegan is a pioneer of Chicago's reclaimed building materials movement. In her six years starting and running the Rebuilding Exchange,  she developed her talent for finding treasures in discarded materials. Recently, her passion has led her to take the exciting step of starting her own business, Great Lakes Yard, which focuses on sourcing heritage lumber and building materials from across the Great Lakes Region. Combining her arts education and her experience working construction she bridges the gap between designers and builders. Her happiest of days are spent climbing through abandoned buildings with her dog and tossing heavy relics in her 75 Silverado.



What do you know for sure? 

It is best to admit you do not know how to do something before you cause serious damage or make a complete ass of yourself.

What do you believe? 

I believe in kindness. I believe that everyone has something to teach if you are willing to learn.  I believe that children are a lot smarter than adults.  I believe it is best to slow down and notice life around you. I believe that everyone should spend more time listening to old people.  I believe in forgiveness.  I believe in making change.  I believe you do not need to spend money on formal education.  I believe most of what you think you need has already been built.  I believe that there is incredible skill and grace in being a hustler.

What’s the most outrageous thing you have ever done (that you can share)? 

I try to do some outrageous at least once a day.  But we’ll start back in high school when I snuck out onto the roof of an 8-story hotel and got locked out. I scaled down a wall to a large wall sconce and then jumped on to the honeymoon suite balcony. I then broke in and ran through the room.  The bride and groom got spooked and called security. I got chased down the street, got away, and made it home by curfew.  Everyone is 16 once right?  I totally thought I would be the next James Bond or Steve McQueen.

What do you geek out about? 

Old lumber, heavy machinery, rusty metal, and most things made during the turn of the century when people had skill, craft and pride in their job.  And of course high fashion, really high heels and vintage cars.

Favorite quote?  

“I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it.” –Stanley Branch Sr.

Want more? Great Lakes Yard is open by appointment.  No jobs is too small and challenges are good.  Located at Lake St. just West of Western Ave. email questions to: or check out Follow her on instagram: @meegoczop & @greatlakesyard