How did you find PREMIER or how did PREMIER find you?
I’ve known Alan Zocher, PREMIER Co-Founder and President, since we worked together at another construction company nearly 30 years ago. When Alan co-founded PREMIER with Brian Paul and Alec Zocher, I got a phone call from Brian. He asked if I wanted to come work for them to do their finances. I left my previous job with no hesitation. That was in 2004.
How did you find your way into the construction industry?
My degree is in accounting. I moved from Illinois to San Antonio, Texas with my husband Chuck right after college. We lived there for seven years, where I worked for a real estate developer. About a year before we moved back to Illinois, my company opened a construction sector so I learned construction cost accounting and other skills which are more applicable to a general contractor.
Why did you move back to Illinois?
A year after my daughter Evie was born we moved back to Illinois to be near family. Both my husband and I grew up near Chicago and that’s where our families still live. It was important to us that our daughter knew her family well and it was tough to achieve that in Texas. Family has always been very important to me. If it weren’t for my kids and my new granddaughter Haven, I’d be living somewhere warm!
What is a big difference between how you grew up and the young generations growing up now?
When I was young, we were very active, playing outside from morning until dark with other kids in the neighborhood. We didn’t have a care in the world. I hope my grandchildren are able to feel that sense of unrestricted freedom.
The tech that kids are growing up with now (phones, tablets) easily consume their time and attention. I watch my nieces and nephews with their kids and they put a limit on screen time, which makes a big difference. It's important for a child to learn and explore outside of a screen.
How long have you known your husband?
Oh gosh, 40 years. I met Chuck when I was young and we dated in high school. He’s much more laid back than I am, which I love. He’s recently retired but still works part-time at the high school where my son-in-law and soon-to-be daughter-in-law both work as well. It’s five minutes from our house and he’ll be off for the summer, so he gets to hang out with our new granddaughter.
What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies?
If you consider laying on a raft in my pool a hobby, then that would be mine! Often you can find me by the pool listening to the Cubs game. When I don’t have anything to do, which isn’t very often, I like to watch true crime shows.
During this time of year there are a lot of graduations and baby/wedding showers for family members. It’s difficult to juggle other commitments but I love being able to prioritize my time with family. It means the most to me.
What do you think your best qualities are?
I don’t judge people. I think that’s very important. I hate when someone makes a comment about another person when you don’t know anything about their life. I’m also very patient. Those are probably my best qualities.
Any qualities you’d rather not have?
I’m a bit of a control freak but I try to dial it down. In the last two years I had to let go of Accounts Payable to Tara Tabaka, PREMIER’s accounts payable manager, and it was difficult for me at first. She does a great job and she’s a little like me (very particular) so I knew it would work. But it took awhile for me to feel fully comfortable with the change.
How does your control over situations affect your personal life?
I’ve learned to let a lot of that go over the years. Not everything needs to be in an exact place. I was spending way too much time organizing and cleaning, and I realized it wasn’t nearly as important as getting to a soccer game on time or being available for more moments with my family.
Do you have any special sayings or expressions that you use often?
I would always tell my children to be nice to everyone. You know how kids can be, they’d come home from school talking about someone in their class. I would say, “You don’t have to be their best friend but you have to be nice.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Within the last five or ten years, I’ve learned not to take everything so seriously. Each of my parents had a serious work ethic and was constantly busy, so I grew up learning that’s how you get things done. Taking a step back is sometimes important.