Article from the LowellSun -- Monday, July 07, 2003 - 12:08:00 PM EST

Tyngsboro woman blends volunteer spirit with her drive to compete in business world

TYNGSBORO BonnieJean Butler spends an awful lot of time in the corporate world. Her Butler Global Consulting firm feeds her income, and satisfies her need for professional challenge and keeping on the cutting edge of technology.

But the other working side of Butler, the one that took her to Valdosta, Ga. for a week in June, is what feeds her soul.

Butler, a 40-year-old Tyngsboro resident, was among about 1,000 volunteers including former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn who converged upon the town for a Habitat For Humanity "build-blast," to quickly and efficiently construct 27 homes for those in need of shelter.

BonnieJean Butler with Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn The Valdosta community was part of the June 7-13 Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003, which saw the construction of 92 homes overall, including others in Anniston, Ala., and LaGrange, Ga. The journey to Valdosta took Butler from boardrooms to bedrooms and bathrooms.

In a way, she sees her trek (which cost her "about $1,000" out of her own pocket) as a perfectly logical extension of what she tells her clients: Slash waste and bolster profits quickly.

"I specialize in accelerated solutions and I like doing things quickly and with high quality," she says.

With the Habitat project, the results were indeed quick. In sweltering Georgia heat, Butler hung siding, lugged sheet rock and landscaped a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. What the crew of 35-40 people, including Stephanie Doe, began on a Saturday was built by Tuesday.

For Doe, it's home: This was the 1,100 square-foot house of her dreams, her labor sweat-equity. She gets a no-interest loan but does pay a mortgage.

For Butler, the work was "a real part of my purpose." She has always loved building and remodeling ("A trip to Home Depot is a joy for me, and my husband says, 'Uh-oh, what's next?'"), and two months ago, she joined the board of directors of the Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity branch. But this was her first Habitat build.

Butler always liked technology. In seventh-grade typing class, she found herself "typing as fast as the instructor," and it wasn't long before she understood computers would be omnipresent. She earned her Master's Degree from Boston University with a concentration in Innovation and High Technology, and her Ph.D. in International Business from Kennedy-Western University.

She spent several years in hi-tech companies.

A few years back, Butler headed to India to negotiate a corporate partnership. She was sponsoring a child there and wanted to meet her young beneficiary before conducting her business. She lugged two suitcases full of toys, hats, T-shirts and other gifts to the village. She met the child, saw the delighted reaction "and it just changed my life forever."

When she returned, not only was the deal with India off, the company closed its doors.

Butler wrote her doctoral research paper: "The application of Internet commerce models on philanthropy organizations with international missions."

She formed Butler Global Consulting, and says about half of her clients are non-profits. The others haven't done badly, either. One,, grew from nothing to $50 million in a year.

In Valdosta last month, Butler met the Carters briefly, as well as Kenneth D. Kaunda, the founding president of Zambia. But she was most humbled by Stephanie Doe, who couldn't believe Butler came all the way from Massachusetts to build her a house.

"She told me that anytime I was ever in the area, I'd always have a place to stay."

July 07, 2003 -- Lowell Sun Online "Building a company, hope for others CAP ON", By DAVID PERRY, Sun Staff