Q+A With Stephanie Kretchmar of Draper and Kramer, Inc.

In honor of Girls in Building 7 days, Utopia performed a Q&A with a number of women in the development marketplace. From residence and challenge professionals, to engineers and CFOs, these gals have climbed the ranks and manufactured a name for on their own in their respective firms.

Stephanie Kretchmar, undertaking manager at Draper and Kramer, Integrated, is a single these types of lady.

Here is her story on sector passion, pains, and shifting perspectives for females in construction.

Q+A With Stephanie Kretchmar

Could you inform us a bit about your market place, enterprise, and what you do? 

I’m based mostly in Chicago exactly where I function for Draper and Kramer, Integrated, a nationwide whole-services authentic estate firm, as a undertaking supervisor in the construction and routine maintenance division for the multifamily houses we personal and deal with. Our portfolio spans 6,000 sector-amount rental models throughout 20 houses in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Phoenix, and my position is to handle big cash improvement and servicing initiatives for any of all those communities. That entails collaborating with our building associates to strategy and execute initiatives ranging from renovating and updating 1 distinct space of a multifamily local community to overseeing significant redevelopments that encompass an entire house.  For illustration, I lately finished up a $10 million redevelopment challenge that involved building a new management business office and three new amenity spaces, renovating hallways in the course of the residence and earning sizeable mechanical updates.

What sparked your fascination in the construction field?

At the age of 16, I started out performing with my father at his serious estate company. This bundled, among other things, assets administration, advancement, and brokerage. As I obtained more mature, I was exposed to all different elements of the genuine estate marketplace. I precisely liked the advancement and design facet of the business enterprise that my father was so greatly included with at his enterprise.

From there, I commenced imagining about a job in building, growth, and actual estate. Early on in my career, I grew to become familiar with Draper and Kramer and specific it as a position I required to finally perform mainly because it is a spouse and children-run business, which was vital to me. Nonetheless, I landed my 1st career in the industry with a rental housing agency that serviced about 3,000 – 5,000 solitary-spouse and children residences in the Chicago spot. I was a part of the company’s rehab crew, mainly dealing with the building permit approach, but I was exposed to all factors of what goes into a rework or renovation undertaking. I appreciated viewing the renovations on the houses that we acquired development from week to 7 days, and it was then I realized I had a adore for building. I also acquired from the team of building pros I worked with about what it took to operate development careers, take care of sellers and trades, and manage something else that can be thrown your way in this crazy industry.

I was eventually employed by Draper and Kramer in 2016 to be part of the redevelopment workforce for a improvement job in downtown Wheaton. I was unquestionably thrilled for the option mainly because I realized it would expose me to nevertheless another facet of the serious estate business. I was section of the main workforce associated in the award-winning $40 million renovation of the 6-setting up, 758-device assets. We reworked every thing from the façade to the entryways and the frequent areas/amenities in each and every constructing, and also additional laundry amenities to around 50 % the models. Soon after the job was over, I stayed on as assistant property manager and also oversaw some supplemental façade restoration that went beyond the initial redevelopment strategy.

In 2018, I moved to a situation in Draper and Kramer’s corporate business office in the design and servicing section, and nowadays I oversee tasks across our portfolio. 

What do you appreciate most about your position? 

I love the potential to demonstrate my creative imagination, the place I can, on the employment and initiatives assigned to me. It is exciting to get to provide my input on the distinctive things of a project to make it the quite ideal conclude feasible. And, it is just a whole lot of pleasurable and quite rewarding to acquire a house or making which is in need to have of some treatment and flip it into anything pretty.

Do you experience any issues at get the job done mainly because of your gender?

Fortunately, I function for a corporation that values the input of all people, irrespective of gender, and I have a good crew of colleagues who are incredibly supportive. It is rare, but from time to time I come upon a person from outdoors our organization who I can notify is far more accustomed to performing with a person than a lady in this style of position in all those instances, it’s crucial to be confident and safe in my very own information.

What has been the largest barrier you’ve confronted in your subject? How did you get over it?

Right now I am a person of the principal undertaking managers in a division that is largely women. Draper and Kramer has permitted me to prosper in my placement and has authorized me to develop my self-assurance and selection-making from start to complete on the assignments I’m assigned. This support has served me triumph over the boundaries that gals in building frequently experience working in a male-dominated area. I really don’t back again down from adversity and show that I have acquired my place in the identical area as gentlemen on the career via my proactivity and day-to-working day efficiency.

What has been your greatest profession accomplishment so far?

A single of the accomplishments I’m most very pleased of is when we experienced a contractor stroll away all of a sudden from a significant leasing office environment renovation, leaving me and my staff to decide items up mid-stream and see the challenge by means of to the finish. With the assistance of the group and some dependable vendors and tradespeople, we completed up the space and it turned out fabulous. It could possibly not have been the major occupation I have ever been concerned with, but just understanding what it took to make it occur designed me incredibly very pleased when we attained the finish line.

Do you have any advice for other girls in the business about navigating gender bias?

Construction is a wonderful discipline that opens up doors to a great deal of unique profession paths and the option to do things you might have hardly ever imagined becoming a aspect of. I consider to build an surroundings wherever I understand from every single man or woman I get the job done with, both of those male and female. I check with a lot of inquiries and test to have an understanding of what they do so I know much more for the upcoming challenge. But, it is also essential to never ever price reduction on your own and what you do in your career. Just possess it and be self-confident in your know-how and techniques! 

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