The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has declared from March 4th through the 10th to be Women in Construction Week. The point of this observance is to show how women play a significant role and are vital contributors in the construction industry. A sentiment that at Epstein we know to be fact and one that we are proud to say we are taking an industry lead in the hiring and mentoring of women in the construction workforce. Currently, nearly 30% of our construction team are women, which is 20% higher than the industry average, and our female workforce includes managers and engineers as well as office staff responsible for the financial and administrative aspects of our construction projects.
As part of our support of NAWIC’s efforts we thought we’d take the time to talk, and yes, brag a little, about our female construction staff and give you all some insight into how they began their careers in the construction fields as well as what these trusted team members do at Epstein.
Tamie Williams - Construction Specialist
Tamie joined Epstein in an entry-level position in construction right out of high school. Over the years, she has assisted on a wide variety of projects, worked in estimating, and spent four years on a jobsite. Currently, she is our Construction Specialist - overseeing administrative processes for the group, setting up and maintaining jobsites, acting as a liaison for site personnel and training/mentoring staff. She enjoys the fast pace, collaborative environment and relationships formed working in the construction industry. And, lastly, we are very pleased to say that Tamie recently celebrated 30 years of service at Epstein!
Karen Perri - Construction Accountant
Karen came to us nearly 29 years ago from a nearby publishing company and was hired as an accounting clerk in construction. While she has always done construction accounting, she also worked as an assistant to Jim Jirsa, our executive managing director and chief financial officer, as well as time spent working on billings and expenses for our design projects. A few years ago, Karen returned to the construction team full-time, where she handles accounting for all construction projects. She enjoys working independently and appreciates the confidence that comes from being at your job for many years.
Mindy Chavez - Administrative Assistant
Mindy earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Robert Morris University and while in school she discovered she loved being in a fast-paced environment, always on the move, always doing something different. As a Legal Assistant in her previous position, she learned to multi-task and work well under pressure. She jumped at the chance to join Epstein’s construction team, knowing it was a demanding field. She is the Administrative Assistant for the group, providing support to the entire team on all projects and making everyone’s job easier.
Anna Gannon - Project Engineer
Anna’s educational background includes a BA in architecture from Miami University and a Masters in Construction Engineering and Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. At Epstein, Anna has worked on a variety of Design-Build projects including an office expansion to the American Society for Clinical Pathology headquarters in Chicago as well food processing facilities for Daily’s Premium Meats in St. Joseph, Missouri where she spent an extended period on the jobsite. Anna is currently working on the 650,000 square foot Pork Processing Plant for Prestage Foods of Iowa in Eagle Grove, Iowa. She finds seeing a project go from a piece of paper to completion a very rewarding experience.
Anna Zhang - Project Engineer
Anna’s received her bachelor of science in structural engineering from the University of California at San Diego. When asked what she enjoys about construction, Anna replied, ‘I love that every construction project is a collective team effort to build something together and you get the opportunity to learn something every day—especially on industrial projects.’ At Epstein, Anna has worked on the 925,000 square foot, $300M Pork Processing Plant for Seaboard Triumph Foods in Sioux City, Iowa. Anna first helped complete the main plant and is now working on an expansion that is providing more storage and distribution space.
Courtney Snyder - Assistant Project Engineer
Courtney served for four years in the US Air Force and last year got her degree in Construction Management from Middle Tennessee State. But you could really say that Courtney was born into construction. Her grandpa founded the Masonry Institute of Michigan in 1957 and all nine (yes, nine!) of her uncles and her dad are in the construction business in some capacity. She’s worn many hats in the construction field including home renovator, plumber, pipe fitter, supplier, and materials tester. At Epstein, Courtney is working on the aforementioned Prestage Foods of Iowa project, a facility that once complete will process approximately 600 million pounds of pork annually.
Lori Olson - Field Administrative Assistant
Before joining Epstein, Lori attended Iowa Central Community College, University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa. Professionally she’s worn many hats – a Lab Technician/Supervisor at an agricultural laboratory, an Exec. Director of Sales and Marketing at a hotel and various other office management positions. But construction is in her ‘blood’ as her three sons work in the family construction business. Lori is the Field Administrative Assistant at the Prestage jobsite where she works closely with the team in the office and her team on site. In this role Lori helps to keep things running smoothly in the trailer while positively representing Epstein to subs, vendors and guests.
As you can tell from these brief bios, the women in our construction group are playing significant roles in our success in the industry, achievements which include being recognized by ENR magazine as one of the Top 100 Design-Builders in the United States as well as being named by Midwest Real Estate News as one of the region’s largest contractors.
And, lastly, Epstein is very proud of our position as a leader in the recruiting, employment and mentoring of women in the construction industry and we are equally pleased to support the NAWIC’s efforts in promoting the important role that women play in construction.