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Fig. 2: With shotcrete capable of such high-quality, high-value installations, companies stand to benefit from hiring tech- and marketing-savvy professionals who can make sure the firm’s brand reaches its target client sector and field has not only informed my approach but also allowed me to contribute directly to our company’s success. Am I particularly good at this kind of communication because I’m a woman? Maybe, but it probably has more to do with the simple fact that I was given opportunities to develop the skills, and now my current company is reaping the benefits. I share this story not to elevate myself but to point to how hiring from a wide and diverse pool of candidates can elevate a company, and in my opinion, an industry. There are myriad women of enormous potential who want the chance to distinguish themselves as professionals, have a meaningful effect on a company’s success, and launch or continue their careers in a place where their skills will be valued and effective. The construction industries would do well to offer them that opportunity. Lily Samuels is Vice President of Drakeley Industries, a design and structural shotcrete consulting firm for swimming pools, water tanks, tunneling, mining, and other infrastructural shotcrete applications; and Vice President at Drakeley Pool Company, a specialty watershape design, construction, and service firm, both located in Bethlehem, CT. She has partnered with Bill Drakeley to develop educational materials on the history and science of the shotcrete process since 2009. Samuels received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College, Northampton, MA, and her master’s degree from Columbia University, New York, NY. So today, in my new line of work, as I work with my clients to realize their vision for their project, those same skills are relevant. I want to understand my client, comprehend what makes them tick, what they need from us, and what they ultimately hope to achieve with the swimming pool or water feature that we are building for them. I want to find out how they want to be spoken to, what makes them feel heard and understood, and how we can work together creatively. These questions are now at the core of how my staff and I interact with our clients. Too often in this industry (and only occasionally for good reasons), the client is framed as demanding, unreasonable, and on the opposite team. This could not be a more destructive mindset. It is damaging to consistent positive outcomes with clients, and it is something our company has actively worked to eliminate from our way of thinking. We have changed almost everything about the way we communicate, from our online approach to our collateral materials to the way we answer the phones. Big Payoff It’s paying off. Our lead conversion rates have gone up significantly: once we begin a dialogue with a client, it becomes clear to them that we are operating in a way that they did not expect but that they deeply appreciate, and that resonates with them as unusual and valuable. Our projects roll out more smoothly, and miscommunication between us and the client is increasingly rare. Upon a project’s completion, client feedback almost always touches on our responsiveness and the ease with which questions or problems were answered and resolved. In short, this is a prime example of how my professional experience in a completely different 20 Shotcrete • Fall 2016


2016FallShotcreteEMag
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