Whether you’re talking about technology, systems, hiring or even building materials, the answer is the same: The construction industry is ripe for innovation. As our computers and phones have gotten more and more sophisticated, our buildings haven’t always kept up. However, this won’t be the case for much longer! As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women in Construction Week, we spoke with three women at McKinstry who are on the front lines of innovation in the built environment:
Studies show that diverse and inclusive organizations have higher-functioning teams, enjoy improved financial performance and attract top-notch talent. While the construction industry has been diversifying for decades, women still make up only about nine percent of people employed in construction. At McKinstry, leaders and team members recognize the importance of continuing to grow and improve diversity and inclusion efforts—and individuals across the organization are bringing their passion, commitment and dedication to fostering inclusivity every day. From serving on advisory committees to bringing unique backgrounds to the table to engaging in tough conversations, these three women are helping to pave the way to greater diversity and inclusion in our industry.
McKinstry is dedicated to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Top-performing employees come to McKinstry–and stay–in part because they feel good about our company’s corporate citizenship and because they have opportunities to be involved in social issues through volunteerism and community outreach. Volunteering enables our employees to develop leadership and other skills as well as forge networks and relationships that improve effectiveness.
Our peoples’ passion and participation is critical to our ongoing success. Fortunately for us, we have many dedicated employees like Rebecca Fitzsimmons, Brittany Pfaff and Laurel Price who exemplify McKinstry’s deep spirit of community and pour their hearts and hands into helping the company make a meaningful impact in our communities and for our planet. [Read more…]
Leaving companies when changing jobs is standard these days. Pursuing new opportunities or relocating often means finding a new place to work. McKinstry’s approach is different. As a people-first company, McKinstry aspires to provide an environment where our employees want to stay and grow with us. Whether that means moving departments, pursuing new career paths, or changing locations, we encourage employees to explore internal opportunities that allow employees to progress in their careers. The following stories highlight just a few of the women within McKinstry that have made exciting changes–vertically, laterally and geographically–in their careers. [Read more…]
Today marks the beginning of National Women in Construction Week. While we regularly celebrate the contributions of all our employees, this is a special time of year where we focus on the measurable difference the women of McKinstry are making in the construction industry—and beyond. It’s not just women in hardhats and work boots, but women who work in all facets of the built environment—from engineering, sales and facility operations to human resources, accounting and technology.
This week, we also commemorate International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. This day not only celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but it marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Historically, the construction industry has lagged others in the hiring and advancement of women. We know, for example, that women make up only about 9 percent of the construction industry in the United States. However, at McKinstry, women represent almost 30 percent of our professional staff and 15 percent of our tradespeople. The success of our company is due in no small part to each of us working diligently to create an inclusive [Read more…]
Change is inevitable. You can either sit back and let the chips fall where they may, or you can step up, take charge and make change happen. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve never been one to sit back.
The construction industry is plagued by a slow rate of change. Productivity in construction has remained flat while other sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing and technology, have seen exponential productivity growth. Dr. Barbara Bryson, author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Construction Industry, drove this point home at a recent gathering when she said, “There’s a freight train of disruption headed our way so designers, builders and owners better change the way they work, and fast.”
At McKinstry, we want to be driving that freight train and are preparing to do so. I’m personally inspired and energized by the innovations we see on the horizon in the next five, 10 and 15 years. These innovations will significantly reframe how we design, build and operate the built environment, and will define the cities of the future. McKinstry is already hard at work defining our pathway to this future.
Let me share with you some of the ground-shaking trends we see roaring down the tracks.
Warren G. Smith was a master storyteller.
He could hold you spellbound for hours as he spun his yarns. Like the time a jealous man cut the brakes of his father’s bread truck, sending them spilling into a ravine halfway across their mountainous route. Or when he dressed as Santa to greet people traveling home for the holidays through the Amtrak station where he volunteered. Or how he rescued a boy from drowning because he was the only one at that lake who knew CPR. His stories were burnished over time like beloved war medals, ready to be brought out at a moment’s notice.
Warren, my grandfather, recently passed away. But his stories live on.
With only a few days left in my internship this summer, it’s important for me to look back and reflect on how I’ve grown during my time with McKinstry. My internship has taught me many different lessons—both work-related and life-related. This may seem a bit confusing to some of you, so let me explain.
This summer, I went from attending a small college (University of Wisconsin, Platteville) to living in a big city (Madison), where I lived on my own. This meant I was responsible for all my own cooking, cleaning, and—probably my most daunting chore—not having a dishwasher and doing the dishes by hand. During this summer, I got a real taste of what the adult world was like. I’ll be graduating in a few short years, and this was a helpful preview of what to expect down the road.
As a woman who has worked many decades in male-dominated environments, I’ve had my share of hurtful experiences. In a previous role at a different company, I remember when my male peers gathered around the conference room table to eat, while two female support staff and I sat on the sidelines with no food because we might be needed to get coffee or copies. I remember overhearing the conversations about not wanting to hire women because ‘they might get pregnant.’ Where it was assumed that we couldn’t be in a powerful decision making position because we would be too hormonal and emotional. Opportunities presented to women were limited, traditional and dead end. And to speak up meant being blackballed, alienated or fired.
Fast forward to today. Thank goodness we are in such a different time and place, where such overt displays of intolerance are no longer acceptable. Yet there is much more to be done. While I feel lucky to be with a company where people are judged on the innovation of their ideas, their commitment to the work, and their dedication to each other and our customers, I know our own diversity and inclusion journey is far from over.
In the first part of this two-part article, we discussed the impact on tenants, property managers, operators, and owners of a breakdown in a building’s work order management process. Here, in Part 2, we’ll explore five key questions to answer when fixing or replacing your CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) or work order management process.
An unabridged version of this story was featured in the August 2017 edition of industry website AutomatedBuildings.com and can be viewed here. An edited version is included below.