What is the biggest misconception about the industry?
The construction industry is often an afterthought for many parents and rising seniors. When people think of "construction," they usually put it in a box that reflects what they see in their community, which is typically residential homes or roadway construction. However, the construction industry has so much more to offer and is a great career path for so many different types of people. For those who struggle to see themselves continuing their education in college, there are multiple opportunities to get into the trades and make as much or more than a role requiring a bachelor's degree.
What is your biggest current challenge at work?
This is such a particular time for our industry. Material and labor costs are constantly increasing while the competitiveness between contractors for projects is high. Our company brings value to our customers through our service and quality of work which frequently means we may not be the lowest number on bid day. This creates a challenge for us because, as a new company, often customers will only give you a shot if you are the low number. So, our company must navigate the magnified factors leading to high cost/competitiveness while still delivering things that we set out to do for our customers when we started Three Oaks.
What keeps you up at night?
As long-time employees of a company who are now in a ownership position, it is an important goal for us to focus on our team and make sure they enjoy working for Three Oaks. This includes setting them up for success in their roles and responsibilities, showing them appreciation and recognizing their value, and most importantly, understanding the needs that may come outside of work like a family, children, and other important commitments. Making sure that we hit all these things constantly is at the forefront of our minds.
What project is your company most proud of?
Our company recently completed a project for a government contractor that required a majority of the space be secured by SCIF partitions. The nature of the facility required a lot of the drywall scope to take on design-build characteristics to deliver the project to the specifications needed by the end-user. It was an excellent opportunity for our team to showcase our management and collaboration abilities to help the general contractor drive a project to a strong finish without sacrificing the qualities that we bring to every job.
How does your ABC membership help your company?
In our industry, relationships play a crucial role. By joining ABC, we have been able to gain new connections and also strengthen existing relationships. When we joined ABC, our goal was to network with our potential customer base. However, we were surprised to find that ABC brought us value by helping us to find partners in our industry for things like accounting, insurance, safety, and legal.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to be, but I did know that I wanted to start my own business and that I wanted to achieve specific goals in my life. After many years in the construction industry and several different career paths were presented, the opportunity to partner up and start Three Oaks came about.
What do you look forward to each day?
The experiences and responsibilities that I enjoy most are where I interact with our employees, our customers, and our partners. I'll take visiting projects or meeting with customers over sitting at a desk every time.
What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant?
A little bit outside the metro Washington area, but I enjoy downtown Frederick, MD. If you can get up there on a nice summer day, fantastic restaurants and breweries are scattered throughout, with lots of shopping and other things to do.
Who would you trade places with for a day?
As a kid, I always imagined playing baseball for the Baltimore Orioles, so given the opportunity, I would love to switch places with a player for the day. To run out on that field under the lights and fulfill a childhood dream would be pretty cool.
What do you do for fun?
One of my favorite things to do is coach my kid's sports teams. Sports bring about many small victories, and I love witnessing my children achieve that firsthand. I also enjoy playing a few sports like ice hockey and golf.
What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?
Things like experience and knowledge will come with time, but the most important thing you can do is build relationships. And don't limit yourself to building relationships with just your customers. Meet and form relationships with as many people as you can in your career/industry. Having the right people's phone numbers in your phone can go a lot further than having the most experience or knowledge.
What book are you currently reading?
I just finished the book "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. I draw inspiration from hearing about incredible things other people achieve in their lives. The author faced many mountains in his life that came between him and his success. Yet, reading about what he did to continue pushing on even when it sounded impossible was inspirational and instructive.