Leading from the Inside Out: A Q&A with Greiner Management

Written by Catie Wheeler
Leading from the Inside Out:  A Q&A with Greiner Management

From top left: Hans Siefker, President; Josh Helgesen, General Superintendent/Field Operations Manager; Kate Carlson, Administrative Director. From bottom left: Tom Hochstaetter, Principal; Spencer Finseth, Principal; Tom Halloran, Principal.

At Greiner Construction, we build strength from the inside out. So, it makes sense that our management team prefers not to lead from the top, but from the inside out as well.

But wait, what does that mean, exactly?

Well, it’s a lot like leading by example. Our senior executive team ensures that quality, innovation, and safety are all engrained in the day-to-day operations of the company. These core values, of course, have a funny little way of permeating amongst the rest of the Greiner team and elevating both the quality of our work and our dedication to our clients.

We recently got a chance to ask the Greiner leadership team a series of questions about working in the industry, construction management as a career, and what sorts of things they enjoy doing when away from the jobsite. Here’s what they had to say.

Greiner leadership on the construction industry

With a combined total of over 120 years working in the construction industry, it should come as no surprise that the members of Greiner’s senior management team have a few things to say on the subject.

What drew you to working in construction?

Tom Halloran: Being able to physically build lasting infrastructure that improves people’s lives.

Tom Hochstaetter: I took a Pre-Engineering class and decided it wasn’t for me, so I started the Construction Management course instead. I figured out I like to build things and I really enjoyed seeing the finished product.

Spencer Finseth: My mom. She was one of the first women to work in the construction industry in the 1950s. She was an inspiration to so many.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself on your first day at Greiner, what would it be?

Josh Helgesen: Don’t be afraid of the big city (Minneapolis, that is)!

Tom Halloran: Great job resisting the urge to wear suspenders. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right!

What excites or inspires you about working at Greiner?

Hans Siefker: Hands down, the people! I really enjoy working together with a great team that is fun, super smart, and driven.

Kate Carlson: I love the rush of adrenaline that comes with our deadlines. I enjoy collecting the best numbers and information, working together as a team to deliver, and then waiting patiently for the project to be awarded. I don’t get to do that as much as I used to—but I have always loved that part!

Josh Helgesen: Every day is different. I enjoy the collaborative approach we take on every project we do. We put our best team in front of our clients for the ultimate end goal of a long-term relationship. The best thing of all though is the smiles on their faces when we turn over the keys.

The management team talks about leadership

There is no one “best way” to lead a team to success. With that in mind, our senior executives are offering up some valuable insight for anyone interested in getting into the field of construction management.

What would you say to someone looking to get into construction management?

Tom Halloran: It’s a great field. You have a lot of options as far as companies to work for and roles to play.

What’s the most beneficial thing you did to prepare yourself for your current role?

Josh Helgesen: I listened and learned from my mistakes. It also helps to be exposed to so much.

Kate Carlson: I joined a peer group of professionals which I found extremely helpful in sharing experiences and best practices, and then being able to bring that back and share with our company.

What concerns about Greiner’s future keep you up at night?

Tom Hochstaetter: Another economic downturn. We have 80+ employees and families that we need to help support now and for years to come.

Josh Helgesen: Talent! Good talent is hard to find. As we are growing, we have to fill in roles as we need them, and the talent pool these days is getting narrower and narrower. Searching and finding that next great person is always on my mind.

Hans Siefker: I’m guessing everyone has a few sleepless nights from time to time. For me, I focus on what I can help with and control—such as ways to help, support, and bring value to our clients and partners. If I can do that, I’m happy.

The Greiner executives get a little personal

No matter how friendly and approachable they may be, sometimes it can be difficult to really get to know your bosses. Fortunately, our leadership team was more than willing to open up a bit.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Josh Helgesen: A chiropractor.

Tom Halloran: I wanted to be an Air Force Fighter Pilot.

Tom Hochstaetter: An orthopedic surgeon.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Spencer Finseth: I’m a professional-level pool player.

Hans Siefker: I can train a chicken to fall asleep!

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

Josh Helgesen: Believe it or not, I do a lot of pre-planning for my day on the way into work, and on the way home I am planning for the next day. I also think about my family, such as what they have going on for the day, how their morning is going, and what I have to look forward to at the end of the day.

Tom Halloran: How to survive the zombie apocalypse.

A few more questions, just for fun

We’re incredibly proud of how creative and amusing our Greiner leadership team is. Don’t believe us? Then go ahead and read their responses to our thought-provoking prompts below.

If money and time wasn’t an issue, what one thing would you build/construct and why?

Tom Halloran: I would build an indoor ice arena in my backyard. I really love hockey.

Tom Hochstaetter: I’d build a personal museum for my cars so that people could come and see my collection of old and new vehicles.

Kate Carlson: I would build my dream house on a lake, with a few things from my husband and daughter’s wish lists too.

If you could compare yourself to any animal, what would it be and why?

Josh Helgesen: A dog—more specifically a lab of some sort. While my qualities are nowhere near as great as theirs (no one is as good as their dog), what I like about them is their loyalty to even those who don’t deserve it. They’re brave and willing to sacrifice and endure hardship for their team.

If you were lost in the wilderness, what is the one thing you would need to survive?

Josh Helgesen: I wouldn’t be lost in the wilderness, unless you consider the golf course wilderness!

Tom Halloran: One more wish—then I would just wish myself back to my house.

Hans Siefker: Hope.

Final thoughts

A huge thanks to our wonderful senior executive team for taking time out of their busy days to share their thoughts with us. Their tremendous experience, visionary thinking, and shared commitment to customer-focused project delivery is truly remarkable. If you’d like to learn more about them, you can visit the Leadership Page on our website.

If you’re in need of a partner to help you with anything from new construction and expansions to occupied remodels and renovations, then look no further than Greiner. Contact us today and our team will show you why we’ve become known as the “gold standard” of quality and service in the industry.

Greiner Construction—Strength from the Inside Out