Meet Jen Cowher, director of construction operations at Kingery Construction (kccobuilders.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – Kingery Construction is a general contractor. We are excited to be preparing to celebrate our 100th Anniversary in January 2024 and have enjoyed the wide variety of projects we have worked on in Nebraska.
How did you get started in the business? – My mom would take me to houses being built in my hometown when I was growing up. We would trespass (ha!) through the house and guess what each room was going to be. That started my interest in construction management and reading plans.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Being a woman in construction. Years ago, I found out that another woman and I were being paid much less than men in the same role. It was an eye-opening experience.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Getting promoted to director. I’m very honored that I was picked for this role. My goal in my career was to become a project manager, so I wasn’t thinking beyond that role. I definitely enjoyed my project manager role on my projects, but I’m excited to learn this new position.
Tell us a little about your family. – I have one daughter who is six years old.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – The birth of my daughter. Life became more about why I’m working.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Cook. I don’t mean cooking for dinner – I don’t enjoy that, but I like cooking new/extravagant recipes. I plan happy hour for my family and friends once a month. I have a new theme each month that all the food and drink is based around. It takes me three-four nights to prep. We have been doing this for the last five years and I haven’t had a repeat theme yet!
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I was a D1 athlete at the University of Nebraska.
Who inspires you? – My daughter. She tells me she wants to be a boss just like me when she grows up!
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – Ask questions. Not just for myself to learn, but also some people don’t like to speak up unless asked. I always end meetings by directly asking every person in the meeting if they have a question or comment. I wished someone would have asked me if I had a question when I was younger. There were many times I had the answer but didn’t speak up.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? – My superpower would be to read, write, speak and understand any language.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – Cake decorating. I’m pretty awesome at icing roses!
Which talent would you most like to have? – Ski. I’m very coordinated except when skis are on my feet.
What local nonprofit organizations are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Parish Council of Catholic Women (PCCW) and PEO. All three organizations are for women. I’m passionate about encouraging women in their career/life.