About Freedom Vans
Freedom Vans was founded on the f r e e d o m of the off grid lifestyle; and we are here to enable this lifestyle for our clients. We wish to give people the foundation for their adventures; an off grid home (permanent or secondary) that will allow you to comfortably relax after a day of skiing, a big bike ride, a challenging climb, or a stroll down the beach. A place to enjoy a snack or a nap in between. Whatever the adventure- we want to build the van for you.
We are a small business that works closely with our clients to bring their dreams to life. Solar power systems are our specialty, specifically tailored to our clients needs. Attention to detail and quality are the most important factors to us in a project, as you can see in our project gallery. If you are looking for a custom and personal experience, we are right here in Bellingham, WA.
Tom Doran and Kyleigh Rogers, owners of Freedom Vans, with shop assistants, Moby and Cleo.
Tom Doran, Co-owner
Tom founded Freedom Vans after 14 months of life outside the box. Frustrated with the high costs of rent and few rental opportunities, Tom outfitted his 1996 Ford D’elegant Conversion Van with solar power and a fridge. A small sink and a microwave kept the comfort high and the costs low.
Less than a year later, Tom upgraded to a 170″ 2007 Sprinter Van, giving him the space to carry his dirt bike and mountain bikes. FREEDOM. In June 2015, Tom quit his job of 8 years in Solar Power Installation to compete in the Big Mountain Enduro mountain bike race series around Colorado. He now has the freedom to bring to others what has changed his life; vans for comfortable living, travel, and independence.
Co-owner of Freedom Vans, Tom works with our team to create and build dream vans for our clients. With an eye for detail, he handcrafts all of the cabinetry and wood work. He specializes in power systems, providing clients with the ultimate off-grid adventure vehicle!
Kyleigh Rogers, Co-owner
Kyleigh graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences. Van life appealed to her background in Anthropology and Geography, which makes her an excellent van life co-pilot, and allows her to explore new places and meet new people. Her favorite part of traveling in the van has been practicing yoga on top of the solar panels with gorgeous views of nature. Their dogs, Moby and Cleo, also love the adventures of van life and all the scents of the hikes they get to explore.
While on the road in Colorado, Kyleigh began meeting potential clients and telling them about Tom’s new business of installing solar power systems on vans. Together they made a great team, and Freedom Vans as we know it was born. Kyleigh works closely with clients through out the van conversion process; from the meet and greet, to designing and planning for the project, to ensuring overall happiness once the van leaves. Once you have a Freedom Van, you’re a part of the family.
Kenneth Carr, Lead Carpenter
Ken has a background in the fine arts, absolutely necessary to delivering quality to our Freedom Vans clients. Ken’s diversity of interests fits perfectly with the Freedom Vans lifestyle: living adventurously through his passion in mountain biking, and living creatively through painting. He is no stranger to van-life, having a van himself that he frequently takes out for biking adventures in the pacific northwest. Ken has spent a respectable amount of time refining his wood-working and construction skills as a carpenter. The craft seems to be part of his genome- even in his time off, he is thinking about woodwork. He has gradually migrated from his New England home to Bellingham, and we could not be happier to have him on the team.
Ryan Johnson, Lead Electrical
Ryan has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the automotive shop, evident by his comfort and confidence working with Freedom Vans. Ryan is constantly figuring out how to improve van usability, and loves solving critical problems in the shop. His skills range from repairs to tune-ups to contagious smiling. He has combined his education at the Universal Technical Institute for Automotive and Diesel Repair, with consistent practical training as a mechanic and technician. If you cannot find him making and building epic camping vans, you might find him shredding the slopes on his snowboard or camping out among the various peaks of beautiful Washington.
Tim Bartilson, Van Builder
Tim loves rebulding vehicles, hiking, snowboarding, gardening, and rockhounding. He has a lifetime of experience fixing and rebuilding vehicles and tractors with his father on their hobby farm in Wisconsin, and he is a colorful chemical application technician by training. He is a creator and a builder and made his own snowboard rack for his car, and he is also newly into chansaw log carvings.
Johanna Hendrickson, Sales and Marketing
Johanna grew up on a farm in a small town on the Olympic Peninsula, where she spent most of her days outdoors or doing art. She graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2018 and then moved up to Bellingham to be closer to the mountains and British Columbia. She loves hiking, photography, and roadtripping, and one day would love to have her own converted van to travel the country in!
Abby Butzen, Designer
Abby, fueled by her love of the outdoors and new adventures, transplanted to Bellingham from Wisconsin in 2016. After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, she went on to work in the HVAC and Marine industries. Working with clients on the design of their systems and boats perfectly primed her to conquer the spacial restrictions of designing a van. You could say the stars aligned when Kyleigh and Tom moved next door to her to peak her interest in van life. When she’s not creating van designs, she is busy honing one of her many crafts. Whether it be biking, snowboarding, silversmithing, yoga, hiking or mindfulness at the beach – she will always be accompanied by her furriest friend, Bosa.