My day job is working in business development at J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc. I’ve been working in construction since I was in college: I was able to earn enough so I could graduate from college with no debt. That’s not something kids today can typically do.
I got my degree in production management and was working with Oscar Mayer when the company I worked for during college called and asked if I would come in and run yard operations. In this role I was in charge of managing all the equipment and materials for the job sites. It leveraged my knowledge of ordering and purchasing, my time in the field and my work with this company. It was a good fit and I enjoyed the role.
Unfortunately, a lot of the work that company did was tied to telecommunications and once 9-11 hit, that industry was in a lot of trouble and the company closed. I ended up getting a job with United Rentals, where my clients were the local construction companies. Construction companies require a lot of specialized equipment, depending on their specific projects, so it’s very common to rent. Findorff was one of my biggest accounts.
I was approached by their yard manager about coming to Findorff—which was very flattering!—and made the move. Findorff eventually decided to open a small projects division and needed a manager to help grow the business. These are projects that are smaller than half a million dollars and not what we were historically known for.
It’s proved to be a good way to introduce Findorff to new companies and been a great business development tool. I eventually moved into a full-time sales role and that’s what I’m doing today.
Findorff has been in Madison since 1890 and on the same site where we’re currently located. The company has always stressed giving back to the community as one of its core values. If you go to a local event, you’re likely to see that Findorff played a part. We’re really proud of that commitment and it’s one of the reasons I joined the company.
One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most, is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives through the buildings we help create. For instance, we have clients in biotech, cancer research, pharmaceuticals. Their work is impacting people around the world and I like to think the quality of our buildings plays a part in their efforts.
It’s been very interesting to see the changes that have occurred in the industry since I’ve been in it. Interest in sustainable building practices used to be somewhat unusual and now everyone is committed to it. And building information modeling, BIM, which is a three-dimensional software tool, has become a critical way to problem solve ahead of construction. It’s had a big impact on improved construction efficiency.
We’re seeing a lot of new technology that can make life easier for our employees—things like robotic tools and exoskeleton backpacks that create a safer and more comfortable work environment for people working overhead.
I’m always encouraging people to consider a career in construction. No matter what your area of specialty is, IT, accounting, don’t look past construction. It’s a fun career!
My most memorable caffeine would be impossible to pick. I spend a lot of my days meeting people for coffee as we discuss projects.
My current caffeine of choice is black coffee. I used to be a big Mountain Dew fan until I started thinking that all that sugar wasn’t the best. Plus, coffee is cheaper. The economist and the nutritionist in me said, “Switch to coffee.”
My favorite place for caffeine is Lakeside St., Coffee House. I came here for the first time about six months ago and now it’s my favorite place. I love the view of Lake Monona and the Capitol. It really shows off our city and when I’m meeting with people, I like to show them something different.
The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my dad. He has coffee every morning at 4:30 at the Pinecone truck stop and we talk most mornings when I’m on my way into work. We have great conversations, usually about our upcoming day and it’s a real highlight.
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: children’s health issues. My neighbor has a child with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and I’ve seen the impact that’s had on their family. I’d love to have a world where every child could be healthy.