Familiar Faces: Empty nester loves animals, giving back to community

By: Menka Belgal Telegraph Correspondent
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Kathe Russell is the general manager and chief designer of DreamBuilders, an award-winning, full service design-build construction firm based in El Dorado Hills.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from California State University, Sacramento. She’s also a member of the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills. What do you love most about your job? I love making our clients dreams come true. Many of our clients have dreamed for years of what they wanted their home to look like and how it will function. And I get to be part of making this happen for them every day. I love my job. What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you?  Meeting and marrying my husband, Mike. Everyday is an adventure for us. He is my best friend, my business partner, and the love of my life. What are your three favorite songs? I don’t know if I have three but my current favorite is “Your Love is a Song” by Switchfoot. That song touches me at a deep spiritual level. What is your favorite movie and why? Believe it or not, it’s Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation.” I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but I never get tired of it. It just makes me laugh hysterically.  What hobbies do you enjoy? I enjoy working on various projects around my home. We live on 10 acres and I enjoy spending time outdoors on our property. Right now, I’m having fun re-working some of the landscaping in the pool and spa area. What about your family? My husband Mike and I are officially empty nesters. Our daughter went off to college at UC Irvine this year. However, we still have two black labs that hang out with us. What causes are you passionate about? I believe in giving back to our local community and that’s why I’m a Rotarian and active member of the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills. We raise funds for many community-based organizations and projects, including the Jeff Mitchell Memorial Ball Field, Hands-4-Hope and the Veterans Memorial, to name a few. The Rotary also supports our community’s kids each month by honoring a student of month from our local elementary schools, holding an annual student speech contest, and giving college scholarships.  What is one thing about you people might be surprised to learn?  Although I’m a designer and have been the co-owner of a home remodeling firm for over 10 years, people are often surprised to learn that I used to be a social worker and I ran a non-profit mental health organization for 15 years. I’m still helping people re-design and remodel their lives, just in a different way.