It’s not uncommon for people to envision construction as a building jobsite and the trades, however there are many other roles within a construction company that are just as important; roles you don’t see when you’re driving by a construction site.
“When we conduct our “Who Built This?” presentations, participant responses have the same theme,” says Jennifer Landon, vice president of education and workforce development at Associated Builders and Contractors NH/VT (ABC NH/VT). “It doesn’t matter if it’s a group of kindergarten or high school students, career counselors or business professionals…field work, such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians and heavy equipment operators always makes the list, as do engineer and architect.”
While these roles do make-up a significant part of the industry, construction is a business and as such requires positions ranging from marketing and payroll to human resources and office management. Three professionals share their experience working behind the scenes.
Briana Whynott graduated from college with a degree in marketing and wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. When she started her job search, she was looking for something dynamic that would provide some variety in her work. That’s exactly what she found in her role as a marketing coordinator with NorthPoint Construction.
“Every single day is different. You’re not just staring at the same spreadsheet every day,” says Whynott. In her role, Whynott helps research clients, prepare proposals, and takes photos in the field. “It’s not stagnant or repetitive. I don’t think I’ve ever done the same thing two days in a row.”
She enjoys being a part of the process. “Everyone is always working toward something, communicating and solving puzzles together. In order for a building to go up or a project to be completed, everything and everyone has to work together,” says Whynott. “We do completely different things but we all have the same goal.”
Jeff Comeau, estimator/project manager with Bode Equipment, says many of his days are also spent solving puzzles, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
In the past 20 years Comeau has explored careers from banking to special education and freelance writing to residential painting. After all of this, his current position is his favorite. “I love it – there is always a new set of challenges.” says Comeau. “This is the most exciting job that I’ve had, and I’ve had a lot of different jobs. Every day is a new challenge. I enjoy looking at new projects and trying to figure them out – it’s like putting a puzzle together.”
Communication is critical in the construction industry. “The office and field teams can’t be on two separate islands,” says Comeau. “If there is a disconnect at any point then the project is going to go south very quickly. Making sure you’re communicating well is important to move everyone forward correctly.”
What Comeau enjoys is that, at the end of the day, when you’re successful doing your job, there is a new building you were a part of. “You can visit that building and actually see the result of your work instead of simply pushing paper or crunching numbers every day. You can see that you were a part of something very cool that happened.”
Nicole Demers, payroll manager/accountant with Optiline Enterprises, agrees that the office and field positions really do go hand-in-hand. “Without one there wouldn’t be another,” says Demers. “If we don’t work together as a team, we can’t complete what we’re trying to do.”
Demers has worked in payroll for nearly twenty years, the majority of it within construction companies. She enjoys her role and loves that there is never a dull moment. “There is a lot of communication and teamwork in the trade field,” says Demers. “It is very empowering when we work together to solve a problem. Your input is important and you work together as a team to figure it out. Within any trade that’s what you have, you have to work together as a team.”
Whether the position is in the field or in the office, a project cannot be successful without the entire team working together.
Contact Jennifer Landon if you’re interested in learning more about careers in the construction field, 603-496-2678, firstname.lastname@example.org.