Let’s Build It Together: Greiner Celebrates Women In Construction Week

Written by Kate Carlson

“Women in construction” might be easy to say, but it isn’t always easy to do.

Just a quick glance at the latest Census Bureau data shows just over 10 percent of the construction industry is female. In the Minneapolis market, women break industry barriers at 19 percent of the construction industry workforce. At Greiner, we purposefully lead with 25 percent of our workforce comprised of women. Here, recognizing women in the workforce isn’t just one month, it is a year-round statement that women build our business, shape our perspective, and get the job done!

Why diversify our workforce? We have found over time men and women bring different perspectives, ideas and market insights to creating viable solutions and overall productivity adding value for ourselves and our customers.  And, as much as Greiner is changing the marketplace, so too is the marketplace starting to change.

The work world is quickly finding out that in every industry, women are difference makers. The Peterson Institute reports companies in the top 25% with gender diversity of their workforce were 46% more likely to outperform their industry peers.

In our case what makes us different makes us stronger.

Our senior leadership has made an intentional decision to have the best, most qualified people on our team and our client’s projects. Hans Siefker, President of Greiner Construction shared, “The concept is simple; it takes a village. Our experience has shown us that women on our team often maneuver through challenges differently, they are direct with great communication skills, and rock-stars at multi-tasking.”

But don’t just take our word, learn first-hand the impact a few of our female team members bring to our business.

Field Engineer Crystal Felch
Field Engineer Crystal Felch

If you haven’t yet, meet our Field Engineer Crystal Felch. Crystal has been on our team just over three years. As Hans says, “Paving the way for female team members in the field, the work she does every day is impressive. I will never forget as a newer field engineer, Crystal was assigned to manage the walk-through punch list for the Talo Apartment complex, not a miniscule task. Right out of the gate, her leadership and communication with 25 various subcontractors caught everyone’s attention. Industry veterans she worked with that had 30+ years’ experience commented that this was the cleanest punch list they had seen. Crystal meant business – once the punch list was complete in a unit no more big dirty boots allowed in, she figured out how to work with this team in a really good way.”

While Crystal is working hard to make her mark as a field engineer working toward a site superintendent, she feels supported 100% of the time, as she says, “Every day you need to be prepared for the unexpected from discrepancies on plans or schedule, and when the unexpected happens my Greiner colleagues respect my thoughts and plan for redirecting work, that feels rewarding. One of the best parts is we are all treated the same as part of the team not as men and women or in a ‘pecking order’”.

Greiner is always open to bright minds even if they aren’t looking. That said, when Project Manager  Abby Finch was introduced to Spencer Finseth through a mutual colleague, Spencer knew immediately Greiner needed to find a spot for her on the Greiner team.

Project Manager 
Abby FIncher
Project Manager
Abby FIncher

A year plus into her career with Greiner, amid a pandemic and Abby welcoming a new child into the world, she has shined like the star that she is. As Abby stepped in at Greiner, a longtime Greiner client was in the midst of a good-sized project and our team knew Abby was just the right fit to fulfill our client’s needs!

Abby worked diligently with the client and the client’s architect. Understanding the big picture is key in her approach to collaboration with the project owner and architect. She jumped in, used her interior design background to support the constructability of the architect’s design intent.

What makes this different than working with any other PM? Abby ‘listened to hear’ what the group really wanted and found realistic ways to accommodate all of their requests. This was not a straightforward project. It required going back to the drawing board, repricing and redoing. This can often make people crabby, but not Abby – she did it with a smile on her face and in her voice through the entire project. Our client was grateful upon project completion, knowing that they could have not done their project without Abby’s creative touch to the project management.

As much as Greiner appreciates Abby’s skills and talents the feeling is returned. Abby has had opportunities to work in other environments and she sees the difference.  “Greiner has created a flexible and empathetic workplace. The nurturing culture provides equal opportunity for all to achieve professional goals. I feel valued for the contributions I make and that my voice is heard,” Abby says with her trademark smile.

You may ask yourself, what does this all mean?

It means, at Greiner, we value people. We value their perspectives and the experiences they bring that make everyone better together. We know people are the solution to what our customers are trying to achieve. We are intentional about who we hire, who we work with, and, most importantly why.