Max Welsh always loved making pizza. Recently, he became enamored of the work of Acts Housing.
Soon after, a wood fired lightbulb went off in his head. What if he could take his passion for pizza and connect it to Acts? This summer, that’s just what he did. Slinging wood fired pizza cooked in a handmade oven mounted on his portable trailer, Welsh and his Cottonwood Trailer Pie company were a weekly fixture at farmers markets and private parties.
For every pizza party and farmers market, profits were donated to Acts Housing, totaling more than $8,000 in donations so far.
“We were inspired by the way Max contributed his time and talents to raise money in such a unique way for Acts,” said Mike Gosman, Executive Director.
Welsh, a Milwaukee resident who was formerly Foley & Lardner’s Deputy General Counsel, first discovered Acts when he was part of Legal Action’s Eviction Defense Project, providing pro bono representation to people facing eviction actions.
“Eviction court is one of the places where you can witness firsthand the ongoing effects of this city’s and this country’s intentional acts of segregation and housing discrimination.”
As Welsh began to immerse himself in housing issues, he went on an Acts bus tour to see the work in action.
“The lawyers in eviction court are helping, but they’re just a bucket trying to hold as much water as they can from a broken pipe,” he said. “What Acts is doing is trying to fix the pipe. I wanted to help.”
Welsh had time to pursue this after leaving Foley & Lardner. He now works as a consultant and the new position gives him more time at home with his family and also to get serious about his pizza making.
Welsh developed his love of making pizza at Wilton Pizza & Pasta in Wilton, Conn. That’s where in high school and during college summers, Welsh learned the art of pizza making and running a restaurant. The experience stayed with him and he began to dream of one day opening a place of his own.
While attending a party in Maine in 2017, he saw his future when The Uproot Pie Company backed its trailer-based wood fired pizza oven into the driveway. At first, Welsh briefly considered engineering his own oven. As he wrote on his website, “I spent months researching how to build a wood fired oven on a trailer. That’s actually not true – I spent two hours before realizing that was not in my repertoire.”
He quickly pivoted to researching companies that made mobile wood fired ovens. He found the best in Maine Wood Heat Co. and they delivered an oven to his exact specifications.
The ability to make pizza part-time is the best of both worlds. Having a flexible schedule affords the opportunity for Welsh and his family to travel extensively and enjoy activities away from work that would have been difficult as a corporate attorney.
One of those activities is his crafting pizza pie with his trademark passion and care. Now that’s a slice that Acts and its supporters are always ready to sink their teeth into.