FROM SITE TO SHOP: A FEW GOOD WOMEN SHARE WHAT THEY LOVE ABOUT WORKING AT MILLER ELECTRIC
Ten years ago, there weren’t many women in construction. Today, women are increasingly finding satisfying careers in the low voltage and electrical industry. We caught up with six women thriving in various roles across Miller Electric to learn their stories about how they joined the Miller Electric family and what they enjoy most about their jobs.
Meet The Crew
Lisa Beresiwsky, Estimator, 6 years
Holly Finch, 4th Year Inside Wireman Apprentice, 5 years
Tricia Munch, Low Voltage Technician, 5 years
Brandie Ragan, Administrative Support Manager, 4 years
Lynette Smith, Collections Manager / LV Support Specialist, 15 years
Tricia Zagozda, Low Voltage Project Manager, 7 years
What led you to Miller Electric?
Lisa: “My path was a windy one, but I’m glad it’s landed me here. I began my career in the construction industry in marketing before moving into estimating. My previous company in Seattle referred me to Miller Electric when we moved back to the Midwest. I am so happy that I jumped at the opportunity to work at Miller Electric. The work we do here is fast-paced, diverse and interesting.”
Holly: “My dad’s an electrician, so I grew up around it. I knew the great pay and benefits that came with the trade and being able to learn a valuable life skill drew me in. I went through the apprenticeship program and am very grateful to have ended up at Miller Electric. The atmosphere here is great.”
Tricia M.: “I had always wanted to work for Miller Electric. My dad was a general foreman here and I’ve had many other family members work here over the years. From day one, I’ve been treated like I’m part of the family.”
Brandie: “Miller being in business for so long really stood out to me. The fact that we’re now in our 110th year means we’re a good company doing a lot of things right. Also, the dynamic nature of the construction industry and the opportunity to do so many different things as part of my daily work was really interesting to me.”
Lynette: “A friend referred me to Miller Electric and said they were a family-oriented company that supported you and your family. Family is everything to me, so hearing that really made me want to learn more about Miller. I was a little hesitant at first as fifteen years ago, I knew nothing about the electrical industry. But, the reputation of Miller Electric and how they have been in business since 1912 spoke volumes to me. You mention the Miller name and everyone knows who you’re talking about. Right away, once I became an employee I became family. I’m really glad I made the leap and haven’t looked back since.”
Tricia Z.: “My ex-husband is a union worker. Over the years, I grew to love the culture and intentionally sought out employment with a union shop. I just so happened to luck out when I stumbled across an open position at Miller Electric Company.”
What is it like to be a woman in the construction industry?
Lisa: “Miller Electric is honestly a great environment. I was given a chance to prove myself and once I showed what I’m capable of, I was immediately respected. You gain respect here based on your skill and capabilities, which is great, because it’s what any worker should be judged on, regardless of gender.”
Holly: “Being a woman in the trade is a great thing. I take pride in being able to represent women and our capabilities in the field. It’s important to me that I be a good role model for younger women who might not have the opportunity to go to college, and to let them know that there are other great options out there.”
Tricia M.: “At Miller, it’s been great, because I’ve been given a chance to learn. Here, I have mentors who have treated me as part of the team and trained me to do the work. I feel I’m given the same respect as anyone else, which I appreciate, because I know it’s not that way everywhere.”
Lynette: “Fifteen years ago, there really weren’t any women coming in here applying for jobs. But, that is starting to change. I’m seeing more and more women exploring careers in low voltage, especially. That’s great, because really the work comes down to your ability to think critically and apply yourself. Anyone can do it, and the more balanced we are as a workforce, the more balanced perspective and approach we’ll have to our work. Overall, the diversity makes us a stronger company.”
What do you love most about your job?
Lisa: “I love digging into the specifications and details of all the different drawings and really drilling down to the nuts and bolts of it. I enjoy owning a project and making sure everything is captured in it. Working with vendors and engineers to get all the answers I need and then reflecting that in the estimate is satisfying.”
Holly: “I love that I get to learn something new every day. It’s also really nice being able to have new scenery and jobsites as opposed to being in the same place all of the time. Being able to go into places that not everyone gets to and being part of building things that will last, and doing it the right way is really fulfilling.”
Tricia M.: “The best part of this job is the people. It’s like one big family and I love that. I also enjoy how our work changes from day to day. From pulling cable to troubleshooting, the work is challenging and you learn something new all the time.”
Brandie: “There are common things you come to expect to encounter each day. However, there are always “one offs” that I am asked to help with. Those jobs are always the most appealing, as they allow me to draw on past experience, even experience outside of the construction industry, and apply it to the current situation. The variety and problem solving make every day interesting. Also, the camaraderie is nice. From site to shop, everyone is willing to work together, share knowledge and go above and beyond to deliver excellent work.”
Lynette: “The people – customers, co-workers, vendors. The friendships that I have built over the years have been amazing. I wouldn’t have met these people if it wasn’t for Miller. Also, the experiences – I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Miller. This company has taught me so much over the years and helped me expand my knowledge and grow professionally. I’m proud to be part of the Miller team.”
Tricia Z.: “I love the variety and how different one day can be from the next. No two jobs are ever the same and that keeps you on your toes. Technology is always changing as well and that keeps you interested in the daily work. The most satisfying aspect of my work though is keeping the customer happy at the end of the day and upholding that good Miller reputation.”
What is something unique or interesting you’ve worked on while at Miller?
Lisa: “I enjoyed the process of estimating light fixtures for a one-of-a-kind project in Omaha. It required determining how to install some very specific fixtures from manufacturers around the world. The project required unique installation practices and was an enjoyable challenge.”
Tricia M.: “I spent a lot of time working at a local hospital. It’s been interesting to be behind the scenes of it all. It’s unique as we have to work alongside doctors, nurses, medical staff and patients. You get to see a lot of things you wouldn’t expect to see on a daily basis in the construction field.”
Lynette: “The 100th Anniversary Party (1912 – 2012) comes to mind. Being part of the planning process was a lot of fun. Looking through different memorabilia from the 1900’s to 2012 was interesting. Seeing how things were scheduled, invoices were created, looking through old pictures, finding an old phone switchboard, seeing how service trucks have changed, and looking at the first building where Miller first started was like no other. It’s not every day that you get to see where a company started and how it has grown into what it is today. To be part of something that big is pretty incredible.”
Tricia Z.: “Being part of some of the largest projects the metro area has seen to date is pretty awesome! With the Council Bluffs location being one of the largest facilities around, we are privileged to obtain a lot of pilot work. It could be test pulls of new fiber that has yet to be released, new patch panels, or new data racks. Being part of these pilots is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Learning about new potential products before they are even released, testing them and giving feedback is definitely something you don’t get to do every day.”