Jennifer Gee is one of the newest additions to GI Stone’s team. Born and raised in Chicago, she is excited to bring her experience from the construction industry to leading GI Stone’s special projects division. Read more about Gee’s background and love for the industry.

SW: Tell us a little about yourself.

JG: I was born and raised in Chicago and consider myself a lifer. My husband and I have been married for 11 years, and our son just turned eight last weekend. He’s into soccer, so we spend a lot of time attending trainings, practice games and tournaments. He’s a funny little guy, and we love hanging out with him. 

SW: You have had quite a career in the construction industry for more than two decades. Explain what drew you to the industry.

JG: My sister’s godmother was an Army Corps of Engineers architect, so I was exposed to the industry when I was very young. As an eight-year-old kid, I would spend hours looking over her blueprints and architectural renderings. Seeing how things are put together, what lies underneath the surface, is endlessly fascinating, like getting a glimpse into a building’s operating system. 

I intended to pursue engineering, but quickly realized I’d rather be on my feet than sitting at a desk creating CAD files. During an internship with the Chicago Transit Authority’s engineering department, I had the opportunity to dip my toes into construction, and it wasn’t long before I took the plunge.

SW: What are some reasons why you enjoy working in the industry?

JG: Every project brings new challenges and learning opportunities. And I continue to enjoy pretty much everything about being on a jobsite, from the sound of the machinery to interacting with the people in the various trades. Stress can definitely be a factor, but there’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction you feel when a job exceeds expectations. 

SW: What would you say was one of your most memorable experiences so far?

JG: This happened many years ago, but I’ll never forget it. We had just driven caissons into the foundation of a large municipal project when we learned that the soil had not been tested properly to see if it could support the building load. In my mind, it was a disaster of epic proportions, but my more experienced supervisor knew of an alternate way to do the testing. What seemed so terrifying turned out to be a terrific learning experience. 

SW: What brought you to GI Stone as director of special projects?

JG: Sandya was one of the first subcontractors I ever worked with, and I’ve always been inspired by her passion, professionalism and commitment to excellence. She’s a truly good person and a wonderful business lady. It’s been amazing to see how she has expanded the business into so many different areas. I’m excited to head up its institutional work and feel my construction background brings something to the table.

SW: What are you most excited about in this new role?

JG: I’m looking forward to working on GI Stone’s growing number of institutional projects, including a significant project that I can’t say too much about yet. I knew the moment I heard it was being built in Chicago that I wanted to be a part of bringing it to life. It’s very exciting, and I cannot wait to get the go-ahead to talk about it.

SW: When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?

JG: My husband and I love road trips and staycations. We have a pop-up camper and a little boat, so we’ll relax by spending the day out on the lake or picking a woodsy campground for a weekend getaway.

SW: Is there anything else you would like to share?

JG: When I first started in construction, I noticed that they weren’t a lot of women, let alone women who looked like me, and I think that’s a missed opportunity. Women are natural multi-taskers who know how to prioritize, and those are the same qualities that will ensure your success on the jobsite. So, if you’re a young girl who is interested in construction, come join us. It’s a good industry, there’s a lot of well-paying work and there’s definitely a place for you here.