Q&A: Holly Brenner, C.D. Smith Construction, Inc.

Holly Brenner
Holly Brenner

Last updated on March 23rd, 2022 at 05:32 pm

BizTimes: Why do you think C.D. Smith is an innovative industry leader?

Holly Brenner: Being on the leading edge of sustainable construction is very exciting. C.D. Smith is actively engaged in meaningful change that will positively impact the future of sustainable construction. We are currently working on two mass timber projects: Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisc, which will be the world’s tallest timber tower, and Fastenal’s Corporate Headquarters in Winona, Minn. In addition to the appealing aesthetics,mass timber construction has a negative carbon imprint and, instead of emitting carbons, it will store carbons. An 18-story mass timber building has a negative carbon imprint equal to taking 2,350 cars off the road per year!

Bt: What sets C.D. Smith apart from others in the industry?

HB: When I joined C.D. Smith, it was easy to see that the team was hardworking and committed to getting the job done and done right. We care deeply about our customers, and we are extremely passionate about building. I’ve been to countless job sites, and every visit, there is an undeniable sense of pride for their work that really stands out. I especially appreciate the innovative thinking that happens throughout our organization. Employees are encouraged to take ownership and contribute ideas. It is common to have team members coming up with creative solutions in real-time, sharing suggestions for ways to improve safety on a job, increase efficiencies or overcome challenges.

Bt: What lessons have you learned so far from COVID-19?

HB: Our culture is healthy, and we live our core values of getting the job done right, being adaptable and building strong relationships. COVID offered great confirmation of our commitment to adaptability. In the face of uncertainty, our team rallied. We pulled together even more for our customers, partners and each other; adapting to get the job done right, despite the changing environment.

Since construction was deemed essential, our crews continued to work at job sites. Safety policies were constantly changing as information about the virus transmission became available. Still, our teams in the office and field kept evolving and adapting to ensure everyone stayed safe and healthy and that work proceeded with minimal disruption.

Bt: How does C.D. Smith value its employees?

HB: As a fourth-generation, family-owned business, C.D. Smith truly cares about its employees and treats them like family. I am grateful that our company embraces our employees, encourages personal and professional development, and supports work/life balance. One of the things I appreciate most about C. D. Smith is the opportunity for employees to grow within the company. Personally, I find it very rewarding to help team members achieve their goals and reach their potential. I believe in leading from where you are and that the best ideas come from the people doing the work. The average tenure within our company is impressive. We have numerous employees who have spent their careers with C.D. Smith, which I see as a testament to the strong culture and family values. By demonstrating adaptability and an ability to build strong relationships, many are leaders within our company today.

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