It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost here! Before we ring in the New Year, we asked our employees to reflect on 2016 and share some of their favorite moments from this past year. Here is what they had to say:
BRIAN ATHEY – Virtual Construction Specialist
Our trip to Autodesk University in Las Vegas was simply amazing. The enormity of the conference blew me away. As a team we were able to see a lot of new technologies and a few different ways of doing things. We were able to get an idea of where we stood in the industry, as well as gather insight into what was coming in the near future as it pertains to technology in the architectural, industrial, and construction industries. Finally, this was simply the best “team building” event that one could imagine. I mean, heck, four days in Vegas! We came out of the conference with a new appreciation for Miron and the team that surrounds us.
JEN BAUER – Director of Marketing
2016 was definitely a busy year, but two events stand out in my mind. This year we held our first Build Like a Girl event and it was a huge success. Not only did the kids have fun, but so did the mentors and facilitators. I can’t wait to see how we bring the event to a whole new level in 2017! The second event was our annual United Way campaign. I was absolutely blown away by the level of commitment my fellow co-workers made to the campaign. Employee pledges surpassed $125,000, funds that will be put to incredibly good use in our community.
CRAIG BIERI – Creative Specialist
My favorite moment was being involved with the Dream Project Exhibit in downtown Appleton. The Exhibit (Before I Die Wall) was an extension of Miron’s Dream Project and invited community members to explore the concept of dream fulfillment. The wall itself was based on the “Before I Die” global art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and write their personal aspirations on a public chalkboard. Each person who revealed their dream on the wall became part of a shared, welcoming space where we all realized that we aren’t alone. In 2017, we will be taking the wall on the road to Wausau for their Chalk Fest event and have been asked to contribute the exhibit as part of Mile of Music.
LIZ BLOHM – Marketing Specialist
While I’ve had many memorable moments this year, one of my favorites was the day we all wore plaid in honor of Craig Bieri’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that one person can own so many different plaid shirts—I swear he has one for every day of the month. To surprise him, a bunch of us showed up wearing plaid shirts on the Friday before his birthday. There are weeks where I spend more time with my work family than my actual family. I’m lucky to have landed in a department with people who truly care about each other. This photo is a perfect representation of the bond we share, and that’s why it’s a favorite memory for me.
JEFF BRAYTON – Project Superintendent, Civil
My favorite moment was the setting of the skywalk at the Belmark Corporate Office. After lots of pre-planning and preparation with the team, we successfully set the 242’ pedestrian bridge/skywalk. The largest span over Heritage Road (County Road X) was 120’ long and 46,000 lbs. plus rigging. This was picked with the 165-ton mobile crane. Decking and wire rope guardrails were installed prior, so once set, the crew could walk the large span and safely set the next portion of the skywalk. This was an “all-eyes-on-us” event with hundreds of faces pressed to the windows of Belmark’s current office while this took place, and the team pulled it off flawlessly.
A special thanks to Mike Hablewitz and Brian Vroman and their team of ironworkers on site, Brian Hopfensperger, Chad Smith, Pat Wonderlic, Kyle Pieters, Ed Green, Brad Nick, Jason Sommerfeld and the team at the yard for getting us the equipment needed.
TONYA BREWSTER – Project Accountant
My favorite moment was great “girl” time on the Fin ‘n Feather!
MELISSA CISKE – Reception Professional
Always a fun night…pictures with Santa. Thanks Miron Construction for making the magic happen this time of year!
MALCOLM DAVIS – Project Superintendent, Precast/Steel Installation
My favorite moment was our duck and pheasant hunting trip in North Dakota.
GREG DOUGLAS – Vice President, Construction Innovation
Tonya Dittman’s birthday—she is the nomad traveler working from place-to-place, so we got her a traveling desk for a gift. The desk is complete with a computer, phone, family photos, office accessories and a cup for her stinky eggs.
Craig Bieri loves dead things—he collects unusual taxidermy (and probably has dead bodies in his freezer.) He boasted that his dream taxidermy would be a chipmunk riding a rattle snake like a cowboy. So… his Miron friends got him just that as wedding gift.
We celebrated the most successful school project in Miron’s history with a golf outing with the Lake Mills School District leadership team. To level the playing field, we made the Lake Mills team use miniature clubs on the last hole. They parred the hole and beat us soundly. Looks like we should stick to construction.
Blake Titus and I have been battling for years for the coveted Midwest Invitational Regional Outer National Billiards Championship. Blake is seen here crying while Melissa is taunting him during the match.
JEANNE GIESEN – Project Administrator
I had lots of favorite moments, but one that sticks out in my mind was Take a Child to Work Day. Both of my grandsons got to spend the morning with me and visit the Community First Credit Union job site, which just happens to be a project of which I’m lucky enough to be a part. My grandsons had a great time seeing what happens on a job site. I’m so thankful to be working for a company that promotes “family time” and always puts on a quality event!
SARA GORENCHAN – Claims Manager
My favorite Miron moment was the beautiful Christmas party we recently hosted for the kids of Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha. The Best Friends organization describes it best in this recent post on their Facebook page: “Miron Construction is known for constructing high-quality buildings and giving to their local communities. But now, thirty children in the Best Friends Program (as well as their parents) will know Miron for constructing something else—the memory of a lifetime. There were fuzzy fleece blankets to be made, delicious cookies to be decorated, personal ornaments to be created as well as entertainment from the outstanding St. Mary Catholic Middle School Choir. Santa Claus even stopped by! One child summed it up perfectly as she left the party, ‘This was the BEST Christmas ever!’ Thank you, to all of the Miron employees who contributed their time and talents to make this event possible and to the company for the incredible generosity in spreading Christmas cheer to us here at Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha. #thankful #givingback #buildingexcellence”
STEVE HEYNE – Senior Project Manager
My favorite moment was the dedication of the University of Iowa Visual Arts Building. The dedication was the culmination of hundreds of thousands of man-hours, countless meetings and great team working to bring the most complex and visually stunning building to the University of Iowa campus. We used new construction technologies, maximized BIM capabilities, managed our labor forces, minimized risks and built relationships with the owner, architects and subcontractors. Seeing the students and faculty love the space we created was very rewarding.
BOB KRAUS – Project Superintendent, Masonry
My favorite moments included working at East Troy Schools with a great team, and the Canada fishing trip really topped off the year.
DAVID LABARGE – Project Manager
My favorite moment was being a part of the Wisconsin Memorial Union Terrace Renovation Project, located right next to Lake Mendota in Madison. We met the scheduled completion date, and within 30 minutes of the terrace opening, there were 1,500 people in the space buying pitchers of beer while the UW marching band played “On Wisconsin.”
PAUL LAPREE – Vice President Business Development, Northern Region
My favorite Miron moment came early in 2016. My son plays basketball at Wausau East High School. Tragically, one of his classmates, who was suffering from multiple health challenges, went to the front office saying she wasn’t feeling well. While in the office, she passed away in front of the entire office staff. I spoke to the principal of the school the following day at my son’s basketball game to see how he and his staff were holding up. He informed me, tearfully, that the girl’s wonderful family was traumatized. Not only did they lose their daughter, but this family did not have the finances, quite literally, to bury their daughter.
None of us knew this girl or her family, but I felt compelled to explore if there was something we could do to help. I contacted Tim Kippenhan and asked permission to set up a GoFundMe account and reached out to our Miron family to share this tragic story. The family needed $15,000 just to properly bury their daughter and double that to cover her extensive medical bills. Tim and Dave Voss agreed that if Miron employees could contribute $8,000, they would personally match the other $8,000. Not only did we raise the $15,000, word of the GoFundMe account spread and more than $41,000 was raised for this family. More than 70% came from Miron employees. I have never been more proud and honored to work with such amazing people and for such a giving, caring company. Community is one of our six corporate drivers; we don’t just talk about it, we live it each and every day. This is a truly incredible company with truly incredible people. I would like to once again personally thank everyone who was able to contribute and a special thanks to Dave and Tim for their amazing generosity and caring. For me, that moment defines the heart of Miron.
THERESA LEHMAN – Director of Sustainable Services
My favorite moment was Lake Mills Elementary School earning LEED Platinum certification and receiving 16 awards as a result—in particular the Engineering News-Record “Best of K-12 Schools” Award we accepted in New York. It was a BIG team effort. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the people and on the project. Everyone was amazing. And the project is having HUGE impacts on enhancing the health and well-being of the students and staff, not to mention saving the district $91,600 per year compared to the “code compliant” version of the project.
STEVE LENZ – Project Superintendent
One of my favorite moments from 2016 was “Take a Child to Work” Day. It was very exciting and enjoyable to have them walk around the site at the Community First Credit Union project in Menasha.
JENNIFER NITZSCHE – Project Administrator
My favorite moment was the Team Rieth Zip-lining Event. It was a fun day because not only did we have a great time, but we helped each other conquer the fear of taking the first step off of the platform.
KYLE PIETERS – Project Manager
My favorite Miron moment of the year was experiencing the owner of Belmark hoisting a major structural beam into place. The biggest reason this is a highlight is that the owner had a major tragedy in his family this year and he was down in the dumps for months. When we told him we were going to have him operate the crane to set the beam, he cracked a smile for the first time in a while. He couldn’t stop smiling that day, and seemed to have a little more energy from then on. To be a part of a corporation that allows you to do things like that for clients is just amazing. Things like these make a project personal for everyone and create a family within the project. That’s why it was my favorite part of the year.
JACK ROMSKOG – Project Foreman, Industrial
My favorite moment was this past October, when my daughter decided to dress up as me for Halloween.
MICHAEL SCHMID – Project Executive
My favorite moment of 2016 was probably the groundbreaking at Thrivent. The owner’s team is composed primarily of non-construction people. They are fun and energetic. We had the excavator on site for the groundbreaking and it was exciting to watch them get involved.
DAIVD VOSS, III – Project Executive
My favorite moments include the Miron summer boat trips and the Excel Engineering truss setting.
STEPHANIE WEEGE – Project Administrator
My favorite moment was Miron’s Annual Summit. You know you have great coworkers when you have this much fun!
DAVID YOLO – Project Manager
My favorite moment was the grand opening ceremony at Slinger Elementary School. It was such a highlight because Miron took this job to show the Slinger School District who we are and what we can do. Shortly after we started, we uncovered some existing conditions that would prove very costly. The job went substantially above the anticipated budget and schedule, through no fault of Miron. It was not only great to see the project finally complete, but to be appreciated for our work in spite of the challenges and difficulties. Also, seeing Jon Sabel squirm at the thought of being in the spotlight in a packed gym was fun too, as he and other key players for the project were asked to help cut down the basketball net.
Thank you to our team and to everyone else who had a hand in making 2016 such an incredible year at Miron Construction!