Associate Spotlight: Tracie Starks Celebrating 30 Years with Miller Valentine
Growing up, Tracie Starks didn’t picture herself working in the construction industry. But after landing at Miller Valentine Construction, it didn’t take her long to realize she was in the right place. Thirty years later, she wouldn’t be anywhere else.
“These are my people,” Tracie said. “It’s awesome to be part of a team that just gets it done. We’re all working for the same goal, and it’s rewarding to see people put in the effort. We work hard, but we also take time to have fun, play, and eat together.”
Tracie says she “lucked into” her role at Miller Valentine following a recommendation from an acquaintance. She joined the company in 1993 as a receptionist and moved into a Project Assistant (PA) role soon after. As a PA, Tracie works with different project teams to complete owner contracts, subcontracts, purchase orders, waivers, owner billings, invoicing, and more. She is one of two PAs in the Dayton, Ohio, office, which means she touches roughly half of all projects that are signed by the Dayton team.
“It is very involved and detail-oriented, but I love the challenge of learning the needs of each specific owner on every project,” Tracie said. “You’re always working on a different project, and there’s always something new and changing.”
Tracie also serves as the secretary for Miller Valentine Community Fund (MVCF), an Associate-driven 501(c)3 for charitable giving. When a request for a donation comes in, it goes to Tracie’s desk. She documents requests, assigns them to MVCF committee members to research, and ensures all approved donations are processed. It’s a role she’s held for almost the entirety of her employment with the company.
Over the past 30 years, Tracie has seen the company grow, the organization restructure, and more women transition into management roles. Through it all, she has appreciated working for a team that is responsive to Associate needs.
“There have always been open doors for questions and encouragement to think on your own,” Tracie said. “I also enjoy the huge benefit of having a flexible schedule when needed. Being able to deal with life as it happens without guilt is a giant relief. The freedom is there, as long as you put in your hours and get your work done.”
One of Tracie’s proudest accomplishments was being part of a team that helped implement a new accounting software platform. In addition to assisting with the evaluation and selection of the platform, Tracie helped improve processes as part of the transition. The opportunity taught her the ins and outs of the job that still serve her well today.
In a broader sense, it also gave Tracie a chance to build something that benefits current and future Associates. It aligns well with her thoughts on why the construction industry is a great place to be.
“Construction is awesome because there is concrete evidence of projects you contributed to,” Tracie said. “I can drive by a project and say, ‘I helped with that’ or ‘I wrote the contract for that.’ You feel like you are part of something bigger.”