Employee Spotlight | Sarah Ray

Western would like to recognize Sarah Ray as our Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Sarah—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with Sarah Ray

01

What is your role at Western?

Sales Project Manager

02

What do you like most about Western?

I like the environment. Everyone here feels like family and more than just coworkers. I also enjoy the fact that two days are never the same, so I’m constantly learning.

03

What are three words to describe Western?

Challenging. Exciting. Family.

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

It would probably be my first big sale that I got an [internal] iFlash for. (Mecklenburg Pedestrian Bridges)

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

My favorite project was probably the South Mountain Spillway in Morganton. It was in the valley of the mountains, and the scenery was gorgeous during early morning meetings.

06

How did you first learn about Western?

I was in college, just browsing the internet for internship opportunities, and I came across Western. What set it apart from all of the other companies is the fact that it was restoration and not new construction. It felt like a much better fit for my learning style, so I decided to go on a limb and apply, and never looked back!

07

Before working at Western what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

My high-school and college gig was selling fireworks every 4th of July and New Years.

08

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

Just give it a try! During my time at school, it seemed like everyone could only talk about new construction. It can make people looking to go into our field feel like they’re confined to this new construction box, but that simply isn’t true. From someone who struggled with the idea of that, stepping into restoration was exactly the breath of fresh air that I needed. Don’t limit yourself and don’t be afraid to try something different!

09

What have you gained from Working at Western?

Knowledge. After two years, I still feel like I learn something new every day. Whether it’s on the admin side or the sales side or the field side, I’m constantly learning and that is invaluable.

10

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

I hope to keep advancing within the company, wherever that may take me.

11

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

Sara Bequette 😊 I love social media and marketing so I definitely think it would be fun to take a crack at it!

12

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

I personally enjoy Dirt Track Racing and Disney World. My weekends are spent on the roads with Chris Ferguson Motorsports selling merchandise or down in Orlando with Mickey Mouse! Recently, I even ventured out to become an official Disney Travel Agent! (If anyone is looking to plan a magical vacation, I’d love to help out. All Castle, No Hassle on Facebook) 😊

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

Employee Spotlight | Thomas O’Donovan

Thomas O'Donovan, employee spotlight

Western would like to recognize Thomas O'Donovan as our Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Tom—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with Thomas O'Donovan

01

What is your role at Western?

Senior Superintendent

02

What do you like most about Western?

Their open door policy and communication.

03

What are three words to describe Western?

A. Good. Company.

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

Being asked to move to Super position.

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

The Corbin Building—won the Lucy Moses award.

06

Before working at Western, what was the most unusual job you had?

Elevator Operator.

07

How long have you worked at Western?

I started here in 1980, so I'm about to start my 43rd year.

08

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

Work hard, work smart.

09

What have you gained from Working at Western?

A lifetime of memories and wisdom.

10

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

Sipping whiskey and smoking cigars in the comfort of home because I plan to retire soon.

11

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

Butch's.

12

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

Spending time with family, fishing, and thoroughbred horse racing.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

Employee Spotlight | Crystal Lazzara

Western would like to recognize Crystal Lazzara as our Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Crystal—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with Crystal Lazzara

01

What is your role at Western?

I am the Office Manager for the NYC Metro Branch. My role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of the administrative side of the office. I also assist the PMs, Branch Manager, Region Manager, and Region Controller with any tasks they need assistance with.

02

What do you like most about Western?

I like that although we are a nationwide company, you feel like you are working for a small family run business.

03

What are three words to describe Western?

Welcoming, Family, and Growth. Western is so welcoming to new employees. Once you’re here, Western makes you feel like family. There are so many opportunities for growth within Western and it’s even encouraged by Corporate. All you have to do is apply yourself!

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

I would say my proudest moment so far is being selected for this Spotlight. It feels so wonderful to be recognized and praised by my superiors for doing my job. I come to work every day and do the best I can, and it feels wonderful to be appreciated for it.

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

My favorite project would be bringing the staff together for Team Building excursions, Birthday/Life Celebrations, Office Lunches, and helping with Client events.

06

How did you first learn about Western?

I was casually looking for a job change on LinkedIn and this position had just been posted. I applied and the rest is history!

07

Before working at Western, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

I haven’t had any unusual jobs, but I think the most interesting to me was when I worked for a Coffee Importer. I learned so much about the process involved with growing, picking, roasting, shipping, and selling coffee beans!

08

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

Be a Team Player and Open Minded to learning. It really does take a team to ensure the success of a Branch and the Company as a whole. Be open-minded to learn from your Peers. There are quite a few Team Members that have been here for many years. When they offer advice, please listen and take it to heart.

09

What have you gained from Working at Western?

I have gained a true sense of the meaning of “Team Player”. Western has been the only company I have worked for that truly embodies the term. No matter who you go to for assistance, you will get it. I do not feel alone in my job at all. I have had other jobs that talked about team players and working together, but when I was in need of assistance, I received “That’s not my job” responses. I have never heard that while working at Western.

10

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

My wish is to continually help my branch, as well as the company grow. Western is already well known in the Specialty Construction industry, but I hope to help it become the absolute #1 choice for any Client seeking Specialty Renovations.

11

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

I think I would switch with our Controller, Sandrae. I have always loved numbers and Accounting and would love to be in “the thick of it”.

12

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

I truly enjoy anything involving food! I love to cook (and eat!). My husband is a former Professional Chef, and we love spending time together with our daughter making delicious meals. I have a meat smoker that runs all Summer long. I love to cook for people and watch them enjoy what I’ve made.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

Employee Spotlight | Joshua Cox





Western would like to recognize Joshua Cox as our Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Joshua—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with Joshua Cox

01

What is your role at Western?

I am the Sr. Superintendent of Chicago Concrete. I oversee Production, Quality, Safety, and the continuous development of our Field Staff. Providing them the support they need to ensure we are exceeding our customers’ expectations in a safe and effective manner.

02

What do you like most about Western?

The obvious answer to this question would be The Company Culture, and that is a testament to what has been built from the top down in the 107-year history. But what I LIKE most about Western is the fact that,

  • I LIKE my job!
  • I LIKE coming to work everyday collaborating with my team.
  • I LIKE that no two days of work are ever the same.
  • And I LIKE WINNING! AND WE (WESTERN) WINS!

03

What are three words to describe Western?

  • Consistency— In which I believe is our skeleton key that allows us to unlock many doors.
  • Optimistic— We practice optimism and preach its benefits.
  • and X-Factor— The Quality and Uniqueness we can offer our customers on a day-to-day basis can set us apart from our competition.

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

I would say my proudest moment came in 2015 after accepting the Role of Superintendent to help revitalize the Chicago Concrete branch along with an outstanding team previously assembled, that year we went on to win our companies most prestigious “George Bishop Branch of the Year” Award. However, being able to sustain that momentum and establish success on an annual basis is something our team takes most pride in.

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

I have worked on a lot of “favorite” projects. But one that comes to mind most recently would be Extra Storage Space, we were presented with the exciting task of repairing a large amount of overhead concrete repairs above occupied personal storage belonging. We attacked this challenge head on, utilized a process that the industry rarely incorporates and were able to complete the project with minimal interruption to our customer's business.

06

How did you first learn about Western?

Interesting story, I first learned of Western back in 2007 over a game of Golden Tee, where I set out to beat Carter Pogue at a local South St. Louis establishment, Carter stated he was looking to hire a good hand for only a couple weeks if I was interested. Here I am 15 years later……. still trying to beat Carter Pogue.

07

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

I would advise them to absorb everything they can from others around them. Restoration is a unique knowledge on its own. There is no way to overestimate the importance from learning from others experience and wisdom.

08

What have you gained from Working at Western?

Along with structure, self-discipline, and many friendships. I think I can personally say I’ve gained almost everything in my life from working at Western, being that during the relocation process from St. Louis. I happened to meet my wife at the airport on my first house-hunting trip to Chicago. We’ve recently built our first house in the last couple years and have added two beautiful children to the mix.

09

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

What everybody else wants, continued professional Growth and Success within the company. I would like to expand my role while maintaining a healthy and happy work-life balance.

10

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

Aside from my love for Cardinals Baseball & Formula 1 Racing, I’m passionate about self-development and self-improvement in my personal life. I’m always looking to challenge myself and learn new things, to become a better leader, father, and overall better person. I’m currently training to run my first marathon, not because I like running, but just to challenge myself.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

Josh has always done a great job leading our field team here at our Chicago Concrete Branch. He holds his team accountable for working safely and has always put an emphasis on quality of work for our customers. We really appreciate [Josh] for what he does for our team.

Justin Berndt
Midwest Region Manager | Chicago, IL
Western Specialty Contractors

Employee Spotlight | Jared Osterman





Western would like to recognize Jared Osterman as this month's Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Jared—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with Jared Osterman

01

What is your role at Western?

Sales/PM, but I like to take on extra challenges and tasks when I can.

02

What do you like most about Western?

The Family Culture.

03

What are three words to describe Western?

Fun, family, and excellence.

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

Winning a $1.4 million dollar bid by $30k after doing an all-nighter trimming it down to get it done.

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

The Expo Building on the State Fairgrounds. I like the jobs that push the limits and showcase what Western can really do.

06

How did you first learn about Western?

Zip Recruiter.

07

Before working at Western, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

Subsea Construction Surveyor in the oil and gas industry.

08

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

The interview process is long, but worth it!

09

What have you gained from working at Western?

Construction skills and knowledge, but most importantly relationships that will last a lifetime.

10

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

Progress my career through taking on new positions and help expand Western through new branch locations or new services at existing branches.

11

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

A foreman; I would like to have more hands on experience to back up my technical knowledge and skillset.

12

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

Love all things basketball, going with the “Suns in 4” for my NBA pick this season, also love traveling and going on adventures with my two daughters.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

Jared is a real team player that is always willing to go above and beyond what his job description requires. If something needs to be done, he finds a creative way to accomplish it. It never matters to him if it’s his responsibility or not; he is eager to help out however he can. His positive attitude is contagious. Jared has definitely been a great addition to our team.

Tisha Boyle
Branch Administrator | Peoria Roofing Branch, IL
Western Specialty Contractors

Employee Spotlight | George Franklin Justice, III

Western would like to recognize George Justice as this month's Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, George—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!


Q&A with George Justice

01

What is your role at Western?

I am a sales/project manager with St. Louis Concrete.

02

What do you like most about Western?

I like that Western employees strive to help each other. Whenever I have a question or want to learn something, there is always someone willing to assist me.

03

What are three words to describe Western?

Innovative, efficient, and professional.

04

What is your proudest moment at Western?

The proudest moment I had was during my first year with the company. A project we were working on was just about finished and the customer we were working for came out and said that he was beyond pleased with Western’s work and professionalism. Ever since we have been his go-to contractor and I love doing business with him.

05

What has been your favorite project at Western?

My favorite project so far would have to be Monsanto K Café. It was an underground café that needed to be excavated around and then waterproofed. It was the first big job I ever sold, and it helped me become a better project manager with all of the obstacles it presented.

06

How did you first learn about Western?

I first learned about Western from one of my college professors at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Dr. Chris Gordon reached out to me after I graduated and recommended that I look into Western since he thought the company would be a good fit for me.

07

Before working at Western, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

The most interesting job I had prior to working at Western was as a drone pilot. We would use drones to conduct surveys on the exteriors of buildings that weren’t easily accessible and then compile a report for the customer.

08

What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

I would say try your hardest and always listen. You may not begin as the best, but everyone values a hard worker. If you always listen, you will always learn something new.

09

What have you gained from Working at Western?

I’ve gained a deeper understanding and respect for all of the trades in our industry. Our jobs wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have a great team.

10

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

Eventually, I would like to become a branch manager if the right opportunity arises.

11

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

Carter Pogue. He is an excellent mentor, very knowledgeable, and knows how to run a branch efficiently.

12

What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

I love competing in obstacle course races, half marathons, marathons, and strong man competitions. Also, I enjoy offering personal training to anyone who wants to better their life. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone positively change their life.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.

George Justice exemplifies the definition of a team player. Despite only having four years of experience, George is a constant go-to guy in our office. He often helps senior staff with IT questions, shows foreman's projects, assists with takeoffs for other project managers, loads trucks, and is the first to volunteer to carry in supplies & snacks. He never complains and is always eager to help.

‘Excellent; thank you, George! We appreciate you and Western (in that order 😉).‘—Lena Vitale Gunn, Senior Real Estate Manager.

George inspires everyone around him to be better at their job and, most notably, a better person.

During the holiday season/holiday break, our branch had some employees that had to quarantine. George volunteered to help those out who were unable to go to job sites. He would start his day 1-2 hours early to visit job sites and work 1-2 hours late to stay on track.

Carter Pogue
Senior Branch Manager | St. Louis, MO (Concrete)
Western Specialty Contractors