Richard SwansonRichard Swanson grew up in the small towns of Big Rapids, Michigan and Grand Ledge, Michigan. While he was a junior in high school, he became interested in pipe organ building after observing the moving and reinstallation of a 1929 Möller by the factory.
After graduating from high school, he went to work for a series of three organ companies over five years. At Schantz Organ Company, he received training as a flue pipe voicer and tonal finisher. This was followed by a period in which he received a college education and worked many years as a mechanical designer at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University while designing and voicing organs for the Fowler Organ Company on a part-time basis. In 1990, he established his own company, R.T. Swanson, Inc. Since then he has built or rebuilt 31 organs and has assisted other organbuilders with their projects.