Building on a Legacy

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For Granger Construction project manager, Janie Philipp, it all starts and ends with family. Being raised by her grandfather, one of Granger Construction’s founding fathers, she has always been around construction sites and development projects. “I grew up going to job sites with him, and I sat back and watched his enthusiasm,” she said. “He was so passionate about it and that was awesome to see, I would never trade how I was raised.” Philipp’s first job while growing up was doing miscellaneous tasks for Granger Construction. She worked part time there throughout high school and then decided to go to Ferris State University to pursue her degree in Construction Management. However, Philipp’s dream careers growing up as a child were not always in the world of construction. “I remember wanting so badly to be an astronaut as a child. Then I was watching television one day and saw the Challenger explode. That changed my mind a bit,” she said. “My next goal was to be the first female president. I wrote a letter and everything.” Philipp laughs at her ambitious nature, and says that she has always been someone who loves to be continuously learning and growing. After graduating college and working in construction for a few more years she decided to go back to school for nursing. She worked as a nurse for three years, but a career in construction was still in the back of her mind. “I was interested in nursing because I love people,” she said. “But working with construction allows me to think outside the box and really use my mind. I realized I could still make a difference with people in construction, and that’s what drew me back.” Another reason construction has always had an impact on Philipp is because of her family’s morals. Since Granger Construction is her family’s company, Philipp said she wanted to preserve that. “My grandfather always taught me that having strong ethics and using integrity is the most important thing,” she said. “We use that at Granger. We treat people the way they should be treated. If we say we are going to do something, we live up to it.” Philipp said she is proud of using her integrity to keep customers coming back. For the last three years she has worked on projects with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. “Being their general contractor has made me so proud because I know that means I am doing my job right,” she said. “We built an honest relationship with them and they have continued projects with us. They are involving us on future discussions of projects, and that means I am taking care of them the way I should.” Although Philipp has excelled in her field, she does realize that her career is mainly a male-dominated area of work. Because Granger was founded in 1959, there were mainly males working in that specific area of trade. But this has never stopped Philipp. “I feel like since I am a mom I am always multitasking and that really helps me on the job,” she explained. “Women look at projects with options and many different organized ideas, and being able to utilize my ability to do that gives me a challenge, which I love.” Another challenging aspect to Philipp’s life is being a mother in the midst of maintaining a full-time job. She says she wouldn’t change a thing, though. “I always have a million things going on,” she said. “I try to give 100 percent to both at all times.” Balancing a career and a social life keeps Philipp busy, but she says setting boundaries keeps her sane. Learning what’s attainable and when it’s time to shift gears has been a learning process. “I could work on projects 24 hours a day and still have things to do for work,” she chuckled. “But, I need my time to do my other full-time (job), that’s being a mom.” As far as her outlook to her life, she remains positive and cheerful in her many roles. “You can’t ever sell yourself short,” she said. “If you work hard, you’ll make your mark one way or another.”
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Tags: Careers for Consideration