Jessica Novack, Windemuller Electric’s first female project manager, grew up around remodeling and new construction environments. She went to school for accounting, looking to move away from the trades, where both of her parents found employment. After graduating, she needed a job and started applying to many different companies, Windemuller being one of them.
She was vital to the Mari Vineyards Winery project, where she did the design work and watched it come out of the ground. Jessica was in awe of the intricacies of the building and the details that went into each and every space. She is currently working on a renovation in downtown Traverse City called Old City Hall.
“It has been an amazing and challenging project from day, one, but it has some amazing details and finishes. I’m very excited to see how cool it will look when finished,” Jessica said.
Windemuller Electric took a chance on Jessica Novack, and she is grateful for their willingness to help people in their careers, regardless of experience. Windemuller’s training program is an important example of standing behind employees when they need support. When Jessica began at Windemuller, she was unsure of her goals and started with no formal position. She worked as a receptionist in the office and worked extremely hard to take on additional tasks to continue proving that she was a valuable asset.
Now, a typical day in the office for Jessica consists of taking care of the paperwork for her projects or being out on job sites walking through with the general contractors or her foremen to solve problems and answer questions. She enjoys being on job sites, and says it is one of her passions, as she likes to see the construction “for what it is and where it’s going.”
When asked about how she moved up in the company, Jessica explained, “I wanted to move into another position without really knowing what that would be. A break came for me when our Electrical Designer left and I was offered the position. In talking with my bosses, I wanted to set more goals; become the first female project manager that Windemuller had ever had. I went back to school and worked very hard to prove to my colleagues that I was worthy of the position.”
Jessica Novack encourages other women in similar positions to look towards the future, figure out what they want in a career, and take the steps to get there, saying, “there will always be people who don’t think you can do the job that you know you can. You have to make sure you fight for what you want. Be confident in who you are and what you can achieve. The fact that I’m a young woman in a man’s world has been challenging. The first project I walked on to as a project manager, I was nervous because everyone in the room was a man and twice my age. I definitely got a lot of curious looks, but the project turned out great.”
With the construction industry being so male-dominated, Jessica’s suggestion to the community would be to remain open-minded to having women in the field and in managerial roles. She believes that while women don’t always use the same methods, utilizing women for their point of view and abilities is important.
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