What did you do in your career prior to this and how did it lead you to VBC?
Over the last 25 years of my career, I’ve worked in a wide range of industries from entertainment (Comcast-Spectacor), to healthcare (Universal Health Services), to financing (GMAC Mortgage), to forensic science (NMS Labs). Construction was totally new to me. I knew nothing about modular construction when I started at VBC, but what I do know about, is people. I take great pride in the professional relationships I’ve built over the years. It is important to build/maintain those relationships and to be a good listener. “Talent isn’t just important, it’s everything”. Without the right people in the right jobs, the company would not thrive. I’m passionate about making that match and helping those employees grow within the organization.
How did your relationship with VBC happen?
I was doing HR consulting on a project basis, primarily for former bosses and hiring managers. At the time, VBC was growing and quickly realized that they needed an HR specialist. Suzi was already on board, and specializes in back-of-the-house HR functions where I specialize in front-of-the-house functions. We both were working part-time, so splitting one full-time HR job seemed like a perfect fit.
What do you see the future bringing for the business and industry?
I see VBC becoming a major player in helping to solve America’s affordable housing crisis. The desire to innovate the industry, but also the sincere desire to help provide a solution to the issues, I think, sets us apart.
What do you see as one of the major successes of 2019?
The growth. I’ve said this before, but when I started at Vaughan Buckley Construction in April 2018, and we had an office staff meeting, it was 8 of us sitting around Vaughan’s dining room table. Now, we have nearly 200 employees, in 4 divisions spread over 5 states!
Please reflect on a memory from 2019 where you were directly involved, that speaks to why VBC is such a great team to be a part of?
Five things really stand out:
- There are a few members of the Philadelphia team who have been at VBC since before the time of massive growth. As this team grew prior to the acquisition of the factory, we quickly became a cohesive unit working towards a common goal. This dynamic team showed their dedication over and over during the acquisition and beyond to make sure we were moving forward. It’s a great team to be part of!
- My first trip the factory. Vaughan, Rob and I met with the supervisors to tell them that we were in the process of acquiring the factory and available to answer any questions they may have about our company and benefits. Everyone at the factory was so cautious and quiet.
- After many trips to the factory between January and April, and many walks on the production floor, people still wouldn’t talk to me. So, I pinned a sign to my front and back that said “Hi! I’m Marissa from HR. Go ahead, ask me anything!” and I walked around the production floor until people wouldn’t talked to me. Chris Hurd made a sign that said “Go ahead, ask her. She knows things.” It was on that trip that people finally started talking to me and I made sure to make myself completely available. Whether people liked my answer or not, they appreciated that I got them an answer.
- Offer Letter Day at the factory. So much work had gone into those offers. Suzi had done a ton of work on the compensation piece and job classifications. When it was finally time to hand out offers, seeing the looks on people’s faces when they opened their folders was something I will never forget.
- Factory grand opening day: With all the hard work and additional hours, the many trips to NC, trying to build relationships on the production floor, the time away from my family is something I never really thought about in the moment. The magnitude of all that hit me at the Grand Opening, seeing ALL of our employees, from all divisions in one place celebrating this incredible milestone.
Favorite movie and movie quote?
I’m not a big movie fan, but I would have to say my favorite movie is The Blindside. I’ve seen that movie at least 50 times and still cry every, single time. My favorite movie quote is from Forrest Gump “Mama said life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re going to get.” Truer words have never been spoken to an HR person.
What song comes on the radio with which you can’t help but sing along?
Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a HUGE Jimmy Buffett fan. So, if a Jimmy Buffett song comes on, the people around me get a concert (from me), whether they like it or not.
What do you do with your spare time?
I love to spend time traveling with my family, watch my kids play sports, hang out with friends, go to Jimmy Buffett concerts and eat tacos. Most times, many of those are done at the same time.