March Blog Series:
March is Women’s History Month, and we’d like to take this opportunity to explore the careers and viewpoints of our hard-working female employees. As a national leader in door, frame, and hardware distribution, as well as security integration, one of our mottos is “Strength in Its People; Strength in Its Industry.” We retain this strong position because of our diverse, talented team. Thank you for your 60+ years of dedication!
Last week, we profiled LaForce’s important relationship with the Door and Hardware Institute through the eyes of one of our AHC credentialed experts, Kristi Deitz. LaForce employs many amazing female team members that deserve recognition this month and year-round. This final week of March, we take a look at a variety of divisions at LaForce through the eyes of female team members.
Laurie Kluth had extensive related experience and a Communications degree before joining LaForce’s wood door area as an estimator two years ago. She now analyzes specifications, proposals, and other documentation to prepare cost for wood doors and other wood products. Laurie’s interests have always aligned with the construction industry, even though she’s occasionally outnumbered by men at school and in the workplace: “In high school I was the only girl in drafting class – the following year there were three. I would like to think I helped inspire those girls, but who knows, that could’ve been coincidence!”
As she continues to thrive in her estimating role, Laurie offers the following, oft-quoted advice: “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”
Denelle Kappelman transitioned straight from college – her 2013 degree is in Project Management – into her Project Coordinator position on LaForce’s Engineering team. Now a Project Manager, she has noticed how her confidence has grown with the help of training tools and supportive colleagues. The Engineering division is made up of an equal number of men and women, and the only “downside” to being a woman, in Denelle’s opinion, is the lack of female-friendly restroom facilities on external construction sites. Still, “being a woman in construction is nothing to be scared of!”
She adds: “As a little girl, I will admit, I never thought I’d be working with doors and hardware every day. Before starting at LaForce, a screw was a screw and a lock was a lock… boy was I wrong!”
Heather Wirz works in Security Integration (SI), fielding incoming calls and emails and providing support to the SI division and the company. She has also worked in Estimating and Customer Service at LaForce, but enjoys the challenge of SI’s evolving technology and products. Prior to LaForce, she got her degree in computer drafting and design, and had some experience in manufacturing and home improvement retail.
During her nearly 10 years at LaForce, Heather has had the opportunity to share her technical knowledge with a wide variety of customers. She notes:
“If you answer their questions accurately or find a way to get the correct information, it doesn’t matter if it’s coming from a man or a woman.” – Heather Wirz
Carol Boudreau thrives in her job as Systems Trainer at LaForce, since she is a natural teacher. She actually holds her degree in Early Childhood Education, but made the decision years ago that she would rather work with adults. Carol has been at LaForce for 15 years, where she trains employees on the various computer systems and applications required for their jobs. She has also had a big role in training for a new software conversion at LaForce, Microsoft AX.
Since she is part of the training experience for so many employees, Carol has dispensed advice to up-and-coming leaders over the years, such as:
“If you put your best foot forward and do your job well, you can get anywhere you want to get in this company.” – Carol Boudreau
Nicole Wafle is an 18-year LaForce veteran who has worked her way through several roles at the company: Take-Off Estimator, Wood Door Estimator, Wood Door Purchaser, Engineer, and now Trainer. Her duties include presenting bi-weekly training topics, internal process development and improvement, training manual creation, product training, and maintaining the “How to Order” program for LaForce.
In college, Nicole majored in math with an emphasis on statistics and a business minor. She stumbled on the “estimator” job ad and applied due to her math background. Nicole thrives in a logical, technical environment and encourages both men and women who enjoy technical concepts to consider a career in construction: “If you have a mindset that comprehends technical concepts, you will have a leg up!”