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.
Rebecca Fitzsimmons grew up in a household that was always giving back. She fondly remembers her many years as a Girl Scout and, to this day, lives by the words in their promise, “to help people at all times.” As a McKinstry project manager in Portland, Ore., Rebecca does just that—both for her clients and her community.
“Every single day, I get the opportunity to be a creative problem solver, which I love,” shared Rebecca. “Each week is different, working on six to 12 jobs at any given time. Customer service and cultivating relationships are a huge part of my job, and I enjoy a high level of interaction with the general contractors, building owners and engineers.”
Rebecca’s ability to cultivate relationships and community spirit were two of the many reasons she was chosen, along with Crystal Benson, to co-lead the creation of the “PDX Community Group.” The group brings employees together to give back—all while having fun.
The PDX Community Group activities have grown considerably in the past couple years touching several non-profit organizations, including the Columbia Slough Watershed, which is literally in the office’s backyard. “Early on, we would have a handful of employees participate,” said Rebecca. “For our last big community activity, we had 36 people, which was so exciting to see.” Two years ago, they started a Meals on Wheels group and already have 25 percent of their employees committed to taking weekly meals to homebound Oregonians. “I feel incredibly lucky to be part of a company that truly wants to make a difference for all the right reasons.”
Brittany Pfaff has been with McKinstry since she earned her mechanical engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2010. As senior building energy engineer, Brittany helps school districts reduce their energy consumption and cut energy costs. “Each project is different, which challenges me to think outside the box,” she said.
That challenge, her fellow employees and McKinstry’s sense of purpose are why Brittany has chosen to stay and grow at McKinstry. “My colleagues are like family,” she said. “We work hard together for our clients and for our community.”
Every year, Brittany and her colleague, Lana Martin, lead community engagement efforts in the Madison, Wis. office. “We strive to bring the greatest number of employees together to help the greatest number of people,” she said. That passion and drive has led the team to providing support to cancer patients, feeding low-income families, planting trees, cleaning up trash and lending helping hands to teachers. “When we’re out in the communities providing direct support to our neighbors in need, we all benefit.”
Laurel Price will celebrate her 10-year anniversary with McKinstry in May. As a communications specialist in Seattle, she’s had the opportunity to work with a variety of business units on both internal and external communications. “McKinstry is growing and evolving with the industry, so I’m always involved in new and interesting work,” she said.
Having been with the company for a decade, Laurel has had the opportunity to be involved in the creation of many company initiatives. Her favorites have been tied to our community engagement efforts. “In 2014, I had the privilege to be involved in the naming and development of our Pillar Program, which provides grants to non-profits where two or more McKinstry employees volunteer,” she said. “I’ve been involved in the execution of the program ever since and have seen the magic that can take place when employees come together to make a difference.”
Laurel’s behind-the-scenes work includes the coordination of the company’s Day of Service in April. “It’s really gratifying to see employee participation and engagement grow each year,” she said. Laurel also leads the marketing committee for a new lands adoption partnership with Forterra and manages the annual food drive competition and the holiday toy drive in Seattle. In addition to helping coordinate volunteer activities, Laurel also gets to be a volunteer, which she greatly appreciates. “Whether I’m sorting clothes for foster kids, shucking corn at a food pantry or pulling weeds in a giant greenhouse, I feel the work I’m doing is valued and appreciated—and that goes a long way.”