Reflecting on 35 Years of Breaking Boundaries

A dress and high heels. That’s what Jane Brown wore on her first job site visit. It was not the most comfortable gear for visiting the field. But 35 years ago, when Jane began her career, it was what was expected. Ahead of her 35-year anniversary with Miller Valentine Construction, we asked Jane to share her thoughts on her time with Miller Valentine and the changes she has seen over the past three-plus decades.

How did you get your start at Miller Valentine?

I was hired in 1987 as a secretary to support the Project Managers that managed our field crew.   As their project management duties increased, I took on more of the duties revolving around our field crew.  My mentor, Dean Aldridge, provided great training in the MV culture.  How we treat those that work with us has always been a key component of our success.

Did you have a background in construction?

I had no experience with construction before coming on board, as my background was secretarial. I went to college right out of high school and had an interest in Human Resources.  I saw that I could stay at Miller Valentine and do what I loved.

How has your role evolved?

At first, I served in a support role, helping our field Associates fill out paperwork, track vacation hours, and so on. As the company grew, I was given more responsibilities and became the Labor Coordinator. Before I knew it, I was assigning 100 construction workers to jobsites.  I was tracking how many projects were starting, how many Associates we needed on each job, hiring field employees, collecting payroll hours, etc.

Processes for some of these duties have evolved, and there are now different ways and individuals overseeing those responsibilities. I added the Office Manager duties for Dayton somewhere along the road and enjoy making our environment comfortable and fun for the staff.

How has the industry changed in your 35 years?

It would be easier to tell you what hasn’t changed in our industry – the work ethic of the individuals who choose this career field.  When I started, not everyone had a computer in the office.  Now – they’re walking sites with tablets. Jobsite technology has changed in leaps and bounds.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time with the company?

My involvement with the Greene County Career Center in Xenia, Ohio is one of my career highlights.  One of the first students we hired in 2001 is now a Superintendent for MV.  I’ve found it rewarding to make jobsite assignments that help an individual gain experience in a variety of construction specialties – concrete, door hardware, structural steel.  Like raising your children, there’s great personal satisfaction in watching individuals develop.

How did Miller Valentine support your career ambitions?

Miller Valentine has always been a company that will support your interests and helps you get to where you want to go in your career. If you have a passion for any position within our organization, they will create a career path to help fulfill your goals.

What has kept you at Miller Valentine?

The MV culture is why I have stayed for an amazingly rewarding 35 years.  I’m honored to have known the founding partners and even been mentored by Jim Walsh.  He taught my youngest son to shake hands with him at 3 years old.  “Look me in the eye when you shake my hand, young man.”  It’s that connection with people that I believe is the key to our culture.  We treat people with respect. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.