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100th Anniversary Edition

Alumni News | Vol. 30 No. 2 | Summer 2022

Building a community, one tiny home at a time 

ALUMNI NEWS MAGAZINE | 100th Anniversary Edition

 marcel lebrunAs CEO and co-founder of the company, Radian6, Marcel LeBrun (BScECE'92) was on a plane almost every week, logging over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of air travel per year. Then, in 2011, his business career reached its apex with the sale of Radian6 to, based in San Francisco. It was one of the biggest deals in Maritime history, worth nearly $350 million in cash and stocks. 

Now when he gets up in the morning, Marcel puts on comfortable work clothes and heads to a warehouse behind a Fredericton church where he enjoys building - not companies or computer systems, but tiny houses that carry with them the hope for better lives and brighter futures.  

As the founder and driving force behind the 12 Neighbours Community project, Marcel is a living testament to the power of one.  

"Marcel is literally a Godsend;' says Marla Bruce, who lives in the second tiny home built as part of the 12 Neighbours project. "A year ago, I was homeless. Now I have a home, I'm not on the street and I have peace because every place where I stayed before was temporary. Here there is very much a sense of community. Marcel has a heart and a passion for what he is doing.”  

The 12 Neighbours project is taking shape on a large tract of land on Fredericton's north side. There's no landscaping yet, so the terrain is rough. But the tiny houses on the property are very neat and tidy, facing each other in what will be the first cluster of 12. Eventually, there will be close to 100 of the micro homes.  

Marcel says he thought long and hard about how to give back to his community and how to help people, especially those struggling with poverty and homelessness. He travelled widely, mostly in North America, looking at different ventures and experiments designed to lift people out of difficult circumstances.  

Marcel says his research started to change his thinking, particularly about the "misdirected" investments by society where, despite good intentions, nothing really changes for the disadvantaged. Something was missing from the typical prescriptions for help. Marcel wanted to try something different, something that would build permanent change. The 12 Neighbours project is his answer.  

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