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Wonderwoman Construction stands out in male-dominated industry

Posted on 25 February 2019 by calvin

Wonderwoman Construction is a woman-owned, one-stop design and general contracting business in the Longfellow neighborhood. Owner Lori Reese said, “Our team is dedicated to the concept of using building science to improve not only the look and function of your project but also its impact on the environment.”

Sustainability practices are a big deal in the building industry these days. Reese said, “The earth is our home, and we make it a priority to treat it that way. We use tools, materials, and processes that are sustainable and would make Mother Nature proud. We optimize our projects for energy efficiency, which can save both your money and your conscience in the long run.”

Photo right: Wonderwoman Construction owner Lori Reese said, “It’s super important to recognize that women can be successful in the construction business, and that we can provide strong role models.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Reese grew up on a dairy farm in Blooming Prairie, MN. “I learned to work hard on the farm,” she said, “shoveling manure, picking rocks, baling hay, carrying buckets of water. Looking back, it was kind of sexist because my three sisters and I didn’t get to weld or use any of the heavy machinery—and I wanted to do those things. I majored in business in college and did an internship in construction even though I didn’t know much about construction at the time. I liked it so much that I became a Union Carpenter in 1988.”

Using her business acumen, Reese soon opened her own business. In 2002, she started hiring employees. She had a female business partner at the time, and using their combined names for a company name didn’t suit them. “We went to superheroes for inspiration pretty quickly,” Reese said.

Growing up on the farm, Reese had loved watching Wonder Woman on one of the three TV stations that existed back then. The original DC Comics Wonder Woman had some pretty amazing powers: superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, empathy—and an enhanced sense of smell, vision, and hearing. The name fit the business, and Wonderwoman Construction was born.

The company has grown steadily, and Reese now employees 15+ employees. “We got so busy that I hung up my tool belt in 2006, recognizing that I could either be a good carpenter or a good business manager,” she said. “We usually have about ten projects going at a time, each one with a project manager assigned to it. Our workload is roughly 80% residential and 20% commercial projects. We try to work close to home to keep our gas consumption down. We do projects as small as our minimum $200, up to $1,000,000.”

Photo left: Wonderwoman Construction is located at 3715 Minnehaha Ave. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“I’ve always asked questions,” Reese said, “it’s what I’m known for. If I don’t understand something, I’ll ask. I’ve encouraged my carpenters to do the same thing because we want to look at the big picture and give our customers all the options. For instance, if a client wants to do a fancy kitchen remodel but it’s obvious they have ice dams, we’ll encourage them to deal with the structural problems first.”

“The construction industry is still male-dominated,” according to Reese, “although the judgments are a little less than they used to be.” Wonderwoman Construction employs men as well as women, and Reese refers to her team as superheroes in their own right for their commitment to excellence. She said, “Our team is made of people anyone would be comfortable having in their home. Every one of us is conscientious, hard-working, and very friendly toward kids and pets.”

Wonderwoman Construction has a master electrician on staff, a designer, and three master painters (interior and exterior). They install insulation and do custom welding. Reese recently got certified as an electrical contractor herself and, to top it all off, started a snow removal service this year. The flat fee is $75 for a house (corner lot is $95) including sidewalk, steps, and garage apron.

Call 612-210-9220 with questions, or stop in at 3715 Minnehaha Ave. M-F between 8am-5pm. Wonderwoman Construction t-shirts and other merchandise are available for purchase.