Tracy Kruse didn't start out to be one of the few women in construction, but it is a role she has enjoyed. The daughter of a high school shop teacher, Kruse was looking for work after college and ended up building movie sets in the Twin Cities.
After a few years traveling and juggling family commitments, she told her Seward neighbor, Joe Buck, that she was interested in a change. He offered her a job on his crew.
This year, Kruse and fellow long-time employee, Jason Manthey, are taking over from Joe and his brother Bob.
"Our company was started in 1983 by Bob and Joe Buck, with the goal of concentrating on remodeling urban core homes and respecting the historic design and detail of these homes," observed Kruse. "We will continue our commitment to providing high-quality service to our community." She added, "We have worked on older, single-family homes for over 35 years, and understand the challenges that these homes present. Over the years, we've handpicked a project team that can work with homeowners to design the space, anticipate the issues that older homes present and manage the construction of the project."
Read on for more from Kruse.
How has COVID-19 changed how you operate?
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of how we run our jobs. One thing we have always been proud of is running a tight schedule. With lead times on materials becoming longer and longer, it has created some challenges. We require our staff and subs to wear masks and gloves as possible while on the job site. We have created washing stations on the job sites. We are not having more than one trade at the job site at a time, which has also increased the length of our projects. Social distancing can be a challenge in construction as many tasks take more than one person, for example installing windows. While working in homes, we isolate ourselves as much as possible with plastic barriers. At the end of each workday, we sanitize any areas that the homeowner may come in contact with, handrails etc.
What trends do you see right now?
Families are looking for more liveable space in their homes with many people staying home. We have seen an increase in basement remodels and additions.
How do you seek to be environmentally friendly in your business practices?
We've always been proponents of energy-efficient design and construction, and our projects have won awards from Minnesota GreenStar. We have extensive experience at providing clients with creative options for building projects that conserve energy and promote efficiency.
What sets your business apart?
Our extensive experience has enabled us to build a team of designers, field staff, and sub-contractors who provide the quality service and high value that our clients demand. Homeowners need to trust the tradespeople who work on their projects to provide quality and stay on schedule and on budget.