At D&B Construction we are committed to safety and excellence.  Recently we hosted our annual safety meeting at the “Reserve at Iroquois” multi-family community construction project located in Sinking Spring, PA. The event, which took place on August 31st, 2023, gathered the company’s leadership team and employees to reinforce the importance of workplace safety.

The meeting began with a warm welcome from D&B Construction’s Director of Operations Jessica Nelis, who emphasized the significance of safety as a core value of the company. The meeting featured presentations from various members of our safety committee, including discussions on industry best practices, the importance of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), and incident reporting procedures.

“Safety is not just a priority for us; it’s a fundamental part of our company culture. Our goal is to ensure that every employee goes home safely each and every day.”
– Jessica Nelis

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the guided tours of the construction site. Employees were divided into groups, and each group was led by superintendents and project managers responsible for overseeing the “Reserve at Iroquois” project. These tours allowed employees to see firsthand the safety measures in place and the ongoing construction progress of this project.

In a creative effort to promote safety, D&B Construction unveiled new “Speed Monitored by GPS” vinyl decals on our fleet of trucks. These eye-catching decals prominently displayed the company’s commitment to safety and the “We Care.” tagline. The aim is not only to inspire employees but also to send a clear message to the community about our commitment to safety in all aspects of our work.

Another crucial aspect of the safety meeting was the certification of all company fire extinguishers. Ensuring that these life-saving devices are in optimal working condition is vital to the safety of both employees and the construction site itself.

The Reserve at Iroquois project, situated in the heart of Sinking Spring, is a testament to D&B Construction’s commitment to quality and safety.  D&B Construction continues to build not only structures but also a safer and brighter future for our employees and the communities we serve.

About D&B Construction:

Founded in 2010 by Dan Gring and Brennan Reichenbach, D&B Construction has grown into one of the region’s most trusted construction firms. Headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania the company is driven by a commitment to quality and transparency. They have grown from the two founding members to over 50 employees with an additional office outside of Philadelphia to conveniently serve the Delaware Valley region. Today they are a full-service construction management firm offering a variety of services to commercial clients in the healthcare, multi-family, professional office, retail / hospitality, institutional, and industrial sectors. Delivering an individualized, superior experience to all of our clients, D&B is a team of genuinely good people who love to build and work hard, with their success built upon long-standing relationships anchored in honesty, trust, and fairness. Leveraging vast design and build experience, D&B is the conduit for business owners, corporations, and developers looking to enhance the places in which they work, grow, and invest. Completing projects safely, within budget, and on time to minimize any disruption to business is always top priority. For more information, visit online at:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the share of construction workers who are women is at an all-time high and has steadily increased since 2016.” The Washington Post has found that as of August, 14% of all workers in the industry are women. (The last time this number was this high was in October of 2009 when they made up 13.5% of workers).



In October of 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, announced the Million Women in Construction Initiative while speaking at the North American Building Trades Union’s Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference. The goal is to double the number of women in construction from one million to two million over the next 10 years.

Despite this positive news, a recent survey revealed that both women and underrepresented groups tend to leave construction at a higher rate. This study was completed as a way to solve the talent retention dilemma being seen across the industry. (Some background: In May of 2022, the Associated General Contractor of America (AGC) recorded the “highest number of construction job openings since the turn of the century.” Simultaneously, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that construction employees are quitting at twice the rate of layoffs or discharges. This trend has been consistent for the last 16 months).



You can view the full report analyzing the data collected from this survey here!

This past Wednesday, Procore hosted a webinar called “The Data on Diversity and Women in Construction.” Members of Team D&B attended to uncover reasons behind the industry’s retention problem and also celebrate the significant milestones in representation. One of the speakers in attendance was Betsy Bagley, Co-Founder and Director of Pulsely, an organization that helps companies measure and monitor the progress of their DEI efforts and the impact it has on business performance. She pointed out how the study revealed that “yes, everyone wants career advancement and better pay, but inclusion is also a driving factor that the typical woman was likely to attribute to their reason on deciding to leave the industry. Far more women agree that inclusion is a challenge that plays a role in them deciding to leave the industry.”

A University of Maryland study published in October 2022 shed light on the visible gender imbalance in construction. It revealed that “54 percent of women who achieve leadership roles in construction have advanced degrees, compared to just 31 percent of men. Additionally, women typically work for 56 percent more companies and hold 19 percent more job titles than their male counterparts.” These disparities clearly illustrate the additional steps women are often forced to take to advance their careers.

In order to continue the trend of increasing women in construction and showing women that they already have a place on job sites, it is important that we collectively make change happen. In the webinar provided by Procore, Pulsely’s Co-Founder and Director, Betsy Bagley, noted that “people working in the industry are committed to the industry. They just want to see change from their employers.” Today’s workforce wants organizations to take it a step beyond just addressing how inclusion looks. They want companies to meaningfully address how inclusion feels.




Here’s Some Ways To Get The Job Done:

-Companies can enroll their female employees into their local chapter for The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), which provides professional development, networking, education, leadership training and more to women throughout the Nation. There are 118 NAWIC chapters across America for women in the industry to get involved in. You can learn more about the history of this organization, as well as resources for women by heading to our #WICweek blog from last year.

-Boost innovation by boosting inclusion. Inclusion matters not only for obvious reasons, but it can also affect a company’s bottom line. According to a BCG study, companies with higher levels of diversity get more revenue from new products and services.” Likewise, a study by McKinsey revealed that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”

-Hold people accountable for behavior that is less than inclusive or inadequate. Visible Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – or DEI leadership – that shows commitment to the priorities of DEI goes a long way.

-Offer more structured career development and be more deliberate and intentional about offering fair career development for everyone.


The future of construction will heavily be defined by how our industry addresses the inequities discussed in this article. At D&B Construction, we believe that empowering all of our employees to feel included so they know their company is committed to their continued success is vital not only for our continued success as an organization, but our collective success as an industry.



A Q&A With The Ladies Of D&B:

We asked some of the women on Team D&B to offer their insight. See what they had to say below! You can view other features from years past here and here on our blog.


Meet Jessica Nelis, Director of Operations –


Number of Years in the Industry: 15

How She First Got Started in the Industry:

“I started by taking drafting, engineering and art classes in high school and went to college to major in design.  After college, I worked as a designer at an architecture firm and then switched into project management.”


Q: Is this industry one you always wanted to be involved in?

A: “I first started to consider design & construction in high school, although I wasn’t exactly sure which specific path within the industry I wanted to take. I enjoyed both art and science throughout high school and thought this industry was the perfect crossroads of left brained and right brained thinking. I am intrigued by the concept of an idea coming together in a practical and aesthetic way to solve a problem with a tangible and lasting result.”


Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: “What I love most about my job is the continual growth – both for the company and me personally.  D&B has been on a steep growth trajectory since I started here 5 ½ years ago. When I was hired, there were only 15 employees so everyone wore many hats. I worked as both an estimator and project manager in residential and commercial construction. I was exposed to many different project types and facets of the business. My diverse experience throughout a variety of departments and divisions provided me with a unique perspective and position to support the company with first-hand knowledge of our systems and processes.”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “I love being involved in an industry that is so critical to people’s lives. Buildings are essential to communities and families. They’re where we live, learn and conduct business on a daily basis.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? How do women add value to this male-dominated industry?

A: “Women add value because they offer a unique perspective.  Studies show women tend to be more web thinkers than men so being able to connect the dots across the big picture is helpful in STEM based industries such as construction.”


Q: If you could go back and tell your younger self one piece of advice that you know now, what would it be?

A: “Don’t overthink it or second guess yourself; just do it… with confidence!”


Q: Do you feel there is now more women in the field compared to when you first began in the industry? Why / why not?

A: I am encouraged to hear more young girls are entering STEM related fields, which gives me hope for the future! It’s a great field to consider for women – studies show the pay gap is smaller in construction than most other industries.



Meet Rachel Hope, Office Coordinator –


Number of Years in the Industry: 2

Q: Is this industry one you always wanted to be involved in?

A: “I never pictured myself working in the construction industry (administration side), and I was nervous changing my medical career to this industry but I could not be happier I made this move. I have learned so much in the last two years, and I am thankful for the time our team has taken to answer and teach me everything and anything I need to know about construction.”


Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: “Being the point of contact and keeping the office running as smooth as possible for everyone to work efficiently with office supplies and have necessities at hand. Also, I am so happy to learn how marketing works, help to schedule meetings for the team, and volunteer in our community when time allows. I’m so happy to be part of such a great team.”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “I love seeing the before and after of finished projects. I am amazed how one day I am driving past a cornfield and a year later seeing families living in houses, making memories in that same spot. Everybody has such an important job to make these projects a reality.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? How do women add value to this male-dominated industry?

A: “Women in the construction industry bring a lot to the table. We were born multi-taskers, we can balance and juggle duties, and we have great organizational skills. Women need to build one another up and help one another succeed in this career.”



Meet Anna Velinsky, Estimator –

Number of Years in the Industry: 18

How She First Got Started in the Industry:

“My dad was a structural engineer, and as a kid I always saw him at the draftsman table. I think my first ‘construction’ drawings were plans I drew for a bird house at the age of 5 sitting next to him at that huge table with weird arms and rulers. It fascinated me.”


Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: “Every project is as unique as the people who the project is going to serve. It is never boring.”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “Making a dream of a building become a reality. You are part of creating something that people use and everyone can see and appreciate.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? 

A: “Despite it being a male dominated industry I’m not treated any differently and respected for my abilities. I find it’s a very meritocratic industry where anyone can succeed no matter what gender they are. There’s a true equality in opportunity for women. I’m proud to be a part of it.”


Q: How do women add value to this male-dominated industry? 

A: Women have natural abilities to be detail oriented and good at multi-tasking.


Q: If you could go back and tell your younger self one piece of advice that you know now, what would it be?

A: “Be confident in your abilities. The world is full of possibilities. Go for it!”


Q: What advice would you give to women looking to enter the industry?

A: “The industry will always require qualified and talented people. There’s no better time to consider construction industry as a very rewarding career choice.”


Q: Do you feel there is now more women in the field compared to when you first began in the industry? Why / why not?

A: “Yes, I see a lot more women in all construction related professions. Women are attracted to rewarding long term careers where they can be financially successful.”





Meet Melany Eltz, Commercial Project Coordinator –

Number of Years in the Industry: 1

How She First Got Started in the Industry:

“My involvement in the construction industry first started when working for a retail store fixture manufacturing company. How something starts as a paper drawing and ends up as a complete fixture in a certain amount of time amazed me.”


Q: Is this industry one you always wanted to be involved in?

A: “Not at first. I wanted to be involved in the pharmaceutical science industry and changed my interest to marketing and business management. From there, I landed in the manufacturing industry, which then lead me to the construction industry which I didn’t realize would be so exciting!”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “There is a lot of variety which keeps it interesting, and I am always learning something new.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? How do women add value to this male-dominated industry?

A: “I’ve always considered myself a strong woman in a man’s world. It is a good feeling to be accepted in this industry as a woman, and I am proud to be working together with men. Women are naturally adept at reasoning and listening, which I feel is integral to building good relationships and trust with workers, contractors, and vendors. I also feel women add value by staying more organized.”


Q: If you could go back and tell your younger self one piece of advice that you know now, what would it be?

A: “Never be afraid of trying anything new; keep your head up and persevere.”


Q: What advice would you give to women looking to enter the industry?

A: “In any industry, be confident in yourself, respect those who are more knowledgeable and learn from them. You’ll eventually gain their respect as well.”




Meet Maddie, Construction Intern –

Number of Years in the Industry: 1

How She First Got Started in the Industry:

“My first experience in the construction industry is now with D&B through my internship. I chose this internship opportunity because it would give me insight into all of the different occupations, and I get to see the different types of employees that work together in the construction process.”


Q: Is this industry one you always wanted to be involved in?

A: “I knew that I wanted to be involved in either the engineering or architectural side of the construction process since middle school, but it has only been this year through my internship with D&B that I decided I want to go into residential architecture.”


Q: What do you love most about your internship and why?

A: “I love that I get to see the construction and on-site side of the design process because I will see less of this side of the industry in college and once I start my career as an architect. However, I still need to understand this side of the process to be successful, so this experience is very valuable.”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “My favorite thing about the industry is how many people of different job types and backgrounds get to work together in one company or on one project to make the process run smoothly.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? How do women add value to this male-dominated industry?

A: “I am proud to be a woman in this industry because it is an accomplishment to be able to thrive in a male-dominated industry – especially being younger. I believe women provide a different perspective to the industry and bring new and successful ideas.”


Q: What advice would you give to other women looking to enter the industry?

A: “I would tell them to be confident. Even when they may not think so, they belong here and should stand up for themselves. Always ask questions because you can always learn from others around you.”



Meet Angela Cremer, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Number of Years in the Industry: 2.5


Q: How did you first join the industry? Is construction something you always wanted to be involved in?

A: “I found myself in this industry as a result of COVID-19. Prior to this, I worked on the corporate marketing team of Boscov’s, a large retail department store. When the pandemic hit, we were laid off and thus my job search began. I never really set out to join the construction industry. When I joined D&B, I had not previously worked for a construction company and had little construction knowledge. I had done marketing, PR, and branding for a variety of other industries, from restoration and retail to many nonprofits, so it was a learning curve – and one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I regularly am going on jobsites to document the progress, so in the last two years I’ve become more confident in my knowledge through OSHA training provided by D&B and just gaining the experience that comes with time.”


Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: “I find the responsibility of marketing a construction company fun and rewarding. It is such a neat process to document a job from start to finish.”


Q: What do you love most about the industry and why?

A: “There’s so much that goes into a construction project before mobilization happens and before boots even hit the ground. I love being part of the ins and outs of this process and seeing our team create new buildings or breathe new life into old buildings throughout our community is gratifying.”


Q: Women make up only about 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in this male-dominated industry? How do women add value to this male-dominated industry?

A: “I’m proud of the women in this industry because they are breaking glass ceilings every day. There’s research and data that prove a positive correlation between companies with a more gender diverse leadership team and profitability. I think that tells you everything you need to know about how women add value to a male-dominated industry.”


Q: How can male leaders within the industry empower their female colleagues?

A: “By evaluating a woman’s job performance by the one relevant factor – her work product. How she looks or dresses or other personal factors should not play a role. Simply treating women as equals in the field goes a long way. I recently completed volunteer work with co-workers that involved installing cabinets to renovate a nonprofit’s kitchen. As an office worker, I wasn’t treated differently than my male co-workers in the field. They were all willing to teach me the proper way to use certain tools and offer insight without judgement so I could gain hands-on construction experience.”


Q: What advice would you give to other women looking to enter the industry?

A: “A recent article I read stated: ‘For women, advancing in the AEC industry generally means having to climb career ladders with more rungs than men of similar status.’ Don’t let the visible gender imbalance in construction stop you from achieving your goals. Instead, use it as fuel to light your fire. The view from the top once you break the glass ceiling will taste that much sweeter since you worked so hard to get there.”

How Jay First Got Involved in Construction:

If you ask our Construction Supervisor, Jay, he’ll describe his exposure to construction throughout his youth as “generic,” noting that he would help his Dad or Grandfather build a shed, do deck repairs, or other things along those lines.

As time marched on, Jay “was confronted by a couple different opportunities to get into the business, and that kind of turned into a little bit more high-end trim carpentry, cabinetry, built-ins, libraries, things along those lines.” He defines his journey as kind of going backwards. “I started from the fine stuff and moved back into framing and things of the like instead of the natural progression where you would typically start on a framing type of issue or drywall hanging issue and progress into some of the finer stuff.” Jay’s experience in high end construction came during his time in New York and New Jersey. He mainly worked in the city in New York, so obviously there wasn’t a lot of room for ground-up construction. “There’s no grass, to be blunt,” he explains, “so we focused more on fit-out jobs – both high-end residential and commercial work.”

He spent quite a few years doing this work in the second to none hustle and bustle that is working in Midtown “before redeveloping, re-upping, and moving into the agriculture end with my company, GreatGrow, which brought us out here to Pennsylvania.”

GreatGrow, which develops soil and plant amendments that increase crop yields, improve soil structure, relieve soil compaction, improve soil oxygen, and promotes the use of water while suppressing foliage and root disease, has since turned into an Intellectual Properties firm, as Jay has been “basically selling his inventions off and things along those lines.”

Jay found himself back in construction – only on the other side of the table – as a Building Code Official and Zoning Officer for Kraft Code Services for six years. “From there, it felt like the natural progression was to move away from that and get back into what I spent so many years doing in New York on the construction side of things,” says Jay.

Jay Meets D&B:

Jay describes himself as a learner and a thinker. Although he had an element of sitework experience in the past, it wasn’t quite to the scale of the multi-family projects that he is leading with D&B Construction. “I like learning new things, so moving into the sitework and infrastructure work and these big parts of the multi-family is very eye-opening and exciting,” he explains.

“I’ve only been with the company for a bit over a year, and I have my hands in a bunch of stuff. I think just with as many moving parts that we have throughout all the different projects, that challenge to keep up with the Joneses and to make everything happen and keep everybody happy that’s pretty much what fuels the fire within me. You wake up and hit the ground running 100 miles an hour all day long.”



Jay Outside of D&B:

His main motivation that gets him out of bed in the morning? His family, of course, which he describes as “the most important part of my existence as a whole.” Jay and his wife have two children: Madeline and McLaen. Although his son is getting ready to go away to college soon and his daughter is about to enter high school – thus making things a lot less busy than when they were much younger – the Holmgren family is still very active.

Madeline is described by her father as a “brilliant dancer,” and McLaen, who played a lot of soccer growing up, has since transitioned over to music in his late teen years – following in his Dad’s footsteps. “He’s picked up a lot of my instruments that I held. Once COVID hit, and I told them they weren’t going to be on their screens 24 hours a day, he started running with it. He’s actually moving more towards playing the bass than the guitar like I did. That love for music has definitely been passed down there. He’s quite the guitarist, quite the bassist,” Jay says with a proud smile. A younger Jay used to write poetry and lyrics, and his son is also following in his footsteps in that regard, too, having put his first couple little pieces together, which Jay describes as “well thought out and well done.”

He describes his daughter, Madeline, as the same with her dance and her art – she draws a lot and things along those lines (just as Jay used to sketch and sculpt a bit).

“I like to think that a lot of the artistic stuff that I did when I was younger was passed down to the youngins,” he explains. Obviously – school’s always important. Jay’s wife, Suzanne, helps the kids with homework as much as possible. “It’s a day to day. You know – we’re just a family,” explains Jay, “but it makes it all worthwhile when you come home to a house full of issues – or not – to keep a smile on your face.”

Finding An Extended Family in D&B:

“I think D&B’s support structure overall is – not to throw the word / term ‘team’ around, but there is such a team structure to D&B. I’ve worked in companies and represented companies in the past where they were very fragmented. Everybody kind of worked on their own keel, not a whole lot of cross over. I do really feel at D&B you have solid relationships. If you need somebody to talk to about this, that or the other, there are people here that are genuinely interested and really nice shoulders to lean on here and there. I try to provide the same, but you know it’s definitely a family feel, a lot of support structure. If people need things, we’re there for each other.”


Often times, we are asked “What’s your why?!” Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to get out of bed each morning? What is your calling?

Our Senior Superintendent, Mr. Ruza’s calling was always construction. His dad was a builder, so he got into construction at just 10 years old. This instilled Mr. Ruza’s unparalleled work ethic at a very young age. Growing up, he traded in his summers and weekends at the shore to help out his Dad on the jobsite.

He joined the Local 845 Carpenter’s Union to complete his apprenticeship, and he also attended college for two years to study Architectural Engineering. Mr. Ruza worked as a Carpenter until he left for the Marines to serve in Vietnam. After serving his four years, he soon started working again, and he has been doing it ever since. If you ask Mr. Ruza about his career he’ll give you this simple – yet definite – answer: “It’s in my blood. That’s all I really know how to do.”

Something else you should know about Mr. Ruza? He just might be the definition of grit. He loves a challenge, stating that he’ll “never turn down a challenge when it comes to work.” With a smile, he concludes: “The harder it is, the better I like it.”


Another aspect of his calling just may be his commitment to safety. It’s no secret that safety is a huge component of construction day in and day out, but Mr. Ruza goes the extra mile, embodying the D&B way of safety being our standard. In 2013, he worked for a General Contractor that was working for a University in Philadelphia. They had just finished constructing a restaurant that was supposed to open at 5:00, but next thing they knew something broke and they were trying to fix it. There was a hole in the wall that was not properly covered. Mr. Ruza walked across it, fell, and shattered about three inches above his ankle. He spent about 30 days in the hospital and 18 months learning how to walk again. “I always took safety seriously, but after that I really got into it. I’ve been doing it since 2013 as a Health and Safety Officer for different companies. That’s why I’m here as a Senior Superintendent for D&B. My job is to enforce OSHA regulations and safety,” he explains.

As an active member of D&B’s Safety Committee, Mr. Ruza has an OSHA manual on the desk in his job trailer. Here, it does anything but sit and collect dust. He is actively reading it from cover to cover to stay up to date with any changes, and he isn’t afraid to pull someone off his jobsite if they are violating any safety regulations. “I liked working with my hands. Now I’m getting well-seasoned, so now I use my brain and my knowledge. I try to teach anyone that wants to be taught,” he says.


For Mr. Ruza it’s all about work and one other important thing – family. After his accident on the jobsite in 2013 he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to work again. While that in itself was difficult for him, the hardest part of that time in his life was not being able to do things with his two young children.

Today all of his children are grown. His son just bought a house to fix up and rent out, so he’s been going over to help him with that. Otherwise, he lives a simple life. “I leave my job site. I go home, eat, and watch TV. I go to bed early because I get up early. That’s about it. I don’t really take vacations or anything. It’s all about work,” he explains. Mr. Ruza takes so much pride in his work that he has even spent Holiday weekends giving his family a tour of his jobsite. That’s passion for the job.    


Mr. Ruza enjoyed spending part of his Easter Sunday giving his kids a tour of the progress taking place at the mixed-use building he is currently overseeing construction of in Kennett Square, PA. That's passion for the job. That's a love for what you do. That's the D&B way. That’s the D&B difference. PS: Dad's a good boss — All PPE was required on the job site, even on a day off from construction because #safetyisourstandard.

Alex is a Construction Manager with a 16-year record of success overseeing all phases of large multimillion-dollar construction projects. In addition to completing many multi-family communities for D&B Construction, this includes various other commercial projects, infrastructure, and upscale residential communities.

Backed by strong credentials and a proven history of high-quality project completions, Alex’s success exceling in his work of managing large multi-family construction projects was a result of his Grandpap pushing him to “go on to bigger and brighter things.” Alex’s experience in the industry started at the young age of six years old. His grandparents owned a construction company, and after school he would always want to be dropped off with his Grandpap on the job site. He loved the action of construction.

Alex and his Grandpap over the years
Alex working with his Great Uncle Stanley circa 1993
Alex always enjoyed building and renovating things from a young age
Alex built this bridge over the creek at just 7 years old
This home was build by Alex's Grandpap in Bedford, PA. Alex would often visit and spend time with his Pap while it was being constructed.

Alex continued gaining hands-on experience until he graduated from high school. It was then that his Grandpap encouraged him to go to college. Although Alex wanted to take over his construction company, his Grandpap envisioned the bigger and brighter plans that he is currently fulfilling at D&B.

Alex obtained his Construction Management degree from Penn College. After graduating, he worked for both Ryan Homes and NVHomes building single family and first-time home buyer houses. He was recognized with over 10 awards during his time at NVHomes, one of the top home builders in the nation. “Once I got to that stage it really kind of brought it full circle. I got to interact with so many different homebuyer people and meet them before we even broke ground. Throughout the process we developed a relationship with these guys, and it was so cool to take their dream and turn it into a reality,” explains a grateful Alex with a smile.

His passion for being part of the process of taking “ideas on a napkin” and making it come to life is evident in the smile that crosses his face when he describes why he does what he does for a living. Alex says there is no better feeling than watching this process take place and seeing an idea transition from engineering and architecture to buying ground and taking it vertical.

Alex continues to pass along the lessons and work ethic that Dave, his Grandpap, instilled in him from a young age through his own two sons – Cameron and Liam. They both had great time getting a tour of what a day at work is like for their dad – safely with their PPE and all!

Alex with his wife Michelle and sons Liam and Cameron

If you ask Alex’s wife, Michelle, she’ll tell you how much their sons love helping Alex out with projects around the house. “They always ask to help us, and if they’re not helping they are definitely watching and learning,” explains Michelle. “They’ve used their old gator to help take an old deck down, helped install floors, and they ‘renovated’ the club house attached to their swing set by adding a door, a table, and a pulley system to carry things up and down in a 5-gallon bucket with some help from Alex.”

Michelle could definitely see them following in Alex’s footsteps, just as he did his Grandfather. “Cameron is always building something with his magnet tiles, and Liam always pretend plays by setting up construction sites with his toy trucks and toy tools and acting as the Project Manager,” she says with a smile.

When asked if she thinks Alex still would have worked in the industry had his Grandpap not owned his own construction company, her initial response was no. However, she elaborated to explain that she thinks he still would have done something with his hands – be it a mechanic like his Dad or working in the family’s logging company. “I think he would still have that passion and dedication for great customer service in any career he chose,” she explains.

Alex is on time, if not early, with deadlines. He’s responsive and takes time to explain the building process. I have seen his passion and dedication to his customers continue over the years. We have met many people and made many new friends through his work. I think the fact that people who he’s worked with in the past still keep in touch with him speaks volumes about the passion and dedication Alex has. He just really cares about people and giving them a quality product,” she concludes.

This is why Alex is a great fit for the D&B culture. He has the “We Care” mentality that we call the D&B difference.

We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Luca over the past year as he shadowed members of our team on D&B job sites and in the office. Luca gained valuable hands-on experience from experienced members of our team leading the project for Stratix Systems’ new headquarters in Wyomissing. He also got to shadow members of our residential sister company, D&B Elite Custom, and watch a custom home come to life while also seeing finishing touches to a home renovation.


Join us in wishing Luca continued success as he pursues his degree in Civil Engineering at Drexel University! We know he will accomplish great things.

How his days at D&B were spent:

“The majority of my days were spent on jobsites shadowing site superintendents. My responsibilities included communicating with my intern supervisor, site supervisors, signing in on jobs, wearing appropriate safety equipment on site, and completing weekly site inspections when needed.”


What he learned:

“A lot of valuable skills and information on how a construction management business runs both in the office and on the site. Some of the skills I learned was the importance of communication on the jobsite and in the office. I was able to sit in on meetings in the office and also saw communication take place on the job site through formal meetings, RFIs, and informal communication when the job superintendent talks with subcontractors onsite.”


Some of his favorite memories:

“Some of my favorite memories are coming back to my internship after Winter or Spring break. My supervisors were very excited to see me since they hadn’t seen me in over a week, and it was the best feeling. Another favorite thing to do is to look back at the old photos on Procore and see the progress that has been made on the sites I have been attending the company. I have seen rubble turn into an 8,000 SF home.”


What he is most proud of:

“Everything that I was able to accomplish from this internship within the past year. Looking back and seeing everything I have done and learned from this amazing experience has been great.”


How this internship impacted him:

“This internship has helped me influence my plans for the future. Before this internship, my plan was to attend college to study civil engineering, and although that plan hasn’t changed I owe the confidence I now have for this major to this internship with D&B. Being at a company almost every day now for the past year has helped me truly understand my passion. This provides comfort to me because I can finally say with confidence that I know what I am doing in my future. I am very thankful for both this internship program and D&B for providing me with this comfort.”


Luca with some of the main team members he worked with throughout his internship: Barry, Site Superintendent at Stratix Systems’ jobsite; Jess, Internship Committee Chair; Rachel, Office Coordinator and Bryan, Foreman at Stratix Systems’ jobsite

The old perception that construction is a “man’s job” is outdated, and there’s no better time to shed a light on why that is than during Women in Construction week. You’ll find women leading multi-million-dollar job sites and overseeing operations for construction companies across the country. With supportive employers, they’re also building a more inclusive industry.


What is Women in Construction Week?

Women in Construction Week always takes place during the first full week in March. The purpose of this week is to highlight the many great initiatives and work of women within the industry, while also illustrating all of the opportunities available to women in construction.

The history of Women in Construction Week is allied with the National Association of Women in Construction, which was founded in 1953 by 16 women working in the construction industry in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1960, just seven years after being founded, Women in Construction Week was introduced in honor of the association. The National Association of Women in Construction was initially created to “support the few women working in construction at the time.” The organization has since “gone on to ease the passage of women into construction, helping to create awareness and better working space for those who desire to work in the industry.”

Today, you will find 118 NAWIC chapters across the United states, all providing professional development, education, networking, leadership training and public service. We owe many victories in the industry to the 16 courageous women who started this foundation nearly 70 years ago. Some examples include the fact that the overall stigma of women working in the industry has reduced tremendously, and the pay gap between men and women is relatively small when compared to other industries.


Resources For Women In The Industry:

To learn more about resources for women in the industry check out our Women in Construction Week blog post from last year here on our website. We always like to refer people to the two nationally recognized groups that provide networking and mentorship opportunities for women in the industry: Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE) and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

We also happen to love NAWIC’s official podcast, Build. Lead. Succeed., which you can listen to here! The newest episode features an interview with Laura Jones, Project Manager with WW Gay Mechanical Constructors, and discusses what it takes to be able to accomplish maximum career growth while raising children.

Another vital resource? Giving our women in construction access to mentors! is on a mission to do just that. This program offers monthly sessions, workshops, meet ups and networking opportunities, and was created by women for women. By joining as a mentee, ladies will belong to a network of women in the construction trades. They can be “matched” with their own professional personal female Mentor, who will help grow their career. The group is also always looking for mentors to help recruit, retain and support females new to the construction trades. Feel free to connect with Sarah Hilton, Director of Programs, to learn more!


How Women Help Grow The Industry:

Research has shown that organizations with above-average diversity had 19% greater innovation revenues. There is a clear positive relationship between innovation and diversity, as depicted by The Boston Consulting Group’s survey on diversity, which spanned across 1,800 companies in eight different countries.

If you are alive in today’s world, chances are you aware of the workforce shortage issue. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 400,000 new jobs will be added to the construction industry from 2020 to 2030. One solution to this growing problem is recruiting women, who make up 47% of the total workforce. It is not only smart – but necessary – to employ, educate, and support women construction workers. Doing so helps ensure long-term industry progress.

Another report by McKinsey & Company revealed that gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability than companies with less diversity in their Diversity Wins report from May 2020. One highlight in particular that stands out from this report? When women filled 30% or more executive-level positions in a company, the companies were 48% more likely to outperform their least-diverse competitors.


A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that women are more likely to collaborate than men, a trait highly sought out in construction management since there is no doubt that construction projects require a high level of collaboration. The increase in teamwork and cooperation that women bring to the table can lead to significant improvement in a company’s productivity and profits.

Women’s ability to be great listeners and communicators and to pay attention to tasks that require precision for longer periods of time make them valuable employees on the job site, too, where tasks such as framing require great accuracy.

Overall, adding a woman’s perspective to a male-dominated world can bring a new approach to how things can get accomplished. Their input is valuable and beneficial, and they can greatly help to improve interpersonal relationships.

Despite the many advantages that women bring to the table, only 7% of architects and engineers are women, 5% of contractors are women, and 4% of construction managers are women. Below are some reasons as to why this may be given the set backs women have historically had to face:


Pay Gap: Historically, statistics reveal that 43% of organizations don’t actively monitor gender pay gaps. However, this trend has slowly been reversing. The National Association of Women in Construction recently reported that “women earn an average of 99.1% of what their male counterparts make in the field.” It has been reported that women working in construction and trade earn 30% more than those working in women-dominated occupations.


Gender Bias: Women are the victim of 60% of gender discrimination cases in the workplace.


Lack of Advancement: Over 70% of female construction workers have felt passed over for roles because of their gender. Women only make up about 14% of staff executive and 7% of line executive positions. The good news? In 2018, it was reported that nearly one in three companies promoted women to leadership roles and other executive-level positions. According to NAWIC, “a significant percentage (44%) of women currently employed in construction projects work as construction managers and other management professionals.”


Ways To Empower Women In The Industry And Those Looking To Join:

Lead by example. Help the women on your team feel like part of the solution (because they are). Treat all workers equally – with respect and courtesy – at your construction site.


Provide the women in your industry with female mentors or role models within the industry to help them navigate workplace challenges. (Don’t forget to check out com if you are interested in having or being a mentor.) Did You Know: Over 45% of women in construction have never worked with female construction managers?! Reducing this shortage of role models would have a lasting impact.


Offer STEM mentorship. Statistics don’t lie and they show that when it comes to who is graduating with a construction management degree, men still “significantly” outnumber women. Why is this? The answer may come down to the simple point that women may not be presented with construction as a career option the way men are. Conducting outreach for young women interested in exploring the field is crucial. STEMblazers does this by inspiring girls to visualize themselves in science, technology, engineering, and math professions. They have a long term goal to reach 1 million girls and influence them to pursue a career in STEM so women can be equally represented in the STEM workforce.




Meet The D&B Ladies:

Last year you met Lesley, Jess, Beth and Angela as we celebrated WIC week. In a year’s time the ladies of D&B have since doubled. (Woohoo!) Meet Bryn Heist, RA (Project Manager), Rachel Hope (Office Coordinator), Melany Eltz (Commercial Project Coordinator) and Kellie Mackie (Estimator and Assistant Project Manager) for our sister residential company, D&B Elite Custom:


Meet Bryn, RA – Commercial Project Manager: 

Bryn is a seasoned Design and Construction Project Manager and Architect. She joined Team D&B with nearly 40 years of industry experience. Bryn first joined the industry as an Architect serving clients before making the transition to Owner’s Rep, which allowed her to coordinate between the Design Team and Contractors. She is excited to continue to serve clients through her role as a member of the Contractor’s team with D&B Construction. Bryn’s career experience spans across an array of sectors including healthcare, commercial, institutional, industrial and residential construction.  She has spent the last 20 years of her career with a focus in the healthcare industry as Senior Project Manager for Universal Health Services (UHS) and Project Manager for Tower Health Systems (Reading Health Systems). Throughout this time, Bryn effectively managed multiple projects ranging from $100K to $52M concurrently. She enjoys being involved at the inception of a project and seeing it through from construction to occupancy. Bryn appreciates the problem-solving aspect of design and construction, particularly the collaborative team efforts required to produce the end result of the process – an occupied building which fulfills the Client’s needs and exceeds expectations.


Q: What has been the most memorable moment in your construction career and why?

A: “Being the Sr. PM for the design and construction for a 100 bed 82,200 SF Behavioral Hospital facility which came in under budget and on schedule.  The 5-acre site, fall start date in a mid-west region, REIT funding and a JV partnership provided multiple challenges. The Design and CM team were great collaborators and the relationship established and maintained with the City and State made this the success it was. The project provided much needed care for patients across the region, which were otherwise not served. Plus, the building functioned well and was aesthetically pleasing.”


Q: How do women enhance profits for companies and what do they bring to the table?

A: “Diversity in general, not just gender-related, is known to provide different backgrounds, skills and perspectives, all qualities which can enhance the workplace.  Companies who are more diverse have a larger pool of applicants which lead to better talent.   Diverse teams are known to perform better with improved decision making and new ideas.  Increased creativity, skills and productivity impact the bottom line.”


Q: What are the advantages of being a woman in construction?

A: “Construction provides more variety than many other industries where women are often employed.  It requires new skill sets, knowledge and experience, all of which creates a richer career.”


Q: What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?

A: “Learn as much as you can both in the classroom and in your work experience. Gain as much experience by accepting all reasonable opportunities. Speak up when you have something that can contribute to the team. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of being in the minority. Listen and continue to learn.”


Q: Women make up only 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes you proud to be a woman working in the construction industry?

A: “Gaining respect from men who may not have worked with women up to that point after proving you are capable of the job and add value to the team.  Leading the way for other women.”


Q: Has there ever been a time throughout your career in the industry where you felt you weren’t taken as seriously due to your gender / any specific stories you would like to share?

A: “There are always men who cannot accept a woman on equal ground.  Just do your job the best you can and ignore what you can’t change.”


Q: Have you ever felt bothered that there aren’t more women in construction? Why / why not?

A: “No, I have not felt bothered because I’ve been in the design/construction industry for 40 years and see the great strides that have been made and continue to improve for women in all industries.  The fact that you can purchase decent looking work boots says it all.”


Q: Do you feel you see more women in the field compared to when you first started working in construction?

A: “Twenty years ago, I was almost blatantly rejected as a hospital PM because of my gender.  I was eventually hired for that position.  Now the same company wouldn’t even consider that to be an issue.  So yes.”



Meet Melany – Commercial Project Coordinator: 

Melany is a testament to the fact that having a female mentor and role model can play a big roll in fulfilling a career in the industry. Melany’s mother has worked in the furniture manufacturing and cabinet industry for over 20 years, with 18 years in retail prior to that. She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to retail stores, office fixtures, and residential spaces.

“I started helping my mom with computer data entry of client sales orders at the young age of 12. This allowed me to become familiar with what a manufactured piece of furniture was and how demands needed to be met. During and after college her business was looking for interns, so I was excited to be part of the company on a new level. Working with my mother for six years taught me how to talk to clients and co-workers to get positive results. She taught me that using kindness, patience, listening to others, never saying you could not help, and setting an example for her team equals respect and admiration. My mother works hard, delegates when needed, and manages people in a friendly way. As a result, people love working hard for her to get the job done on time, and she has a great client following from providing service in excellence.”


What advice would you give to young women entering the industry?

“Have confidence in yourself, know you worth, and know that a woman is the best man for the job.”


What do women bring to the table for their companies and the industry as a whole?

“I believe that women are creative, innovative and are not as rigid / ‘black and white’ as men.  It’s the grey area that women seem to be able to think more outside the box and can maybe find more creative ways of making money or profits. Women bring sensitivity and compassion to the table, along with being well organized and having that overall drive to always do a job well to make clients and coworkers happy.”


Women make up only 10.9% of all workers at a construction site in the U.S. What makes Melany proud to be a woman working in the construction industry?

“The ability to excel in a ‘man’s world’ as a woman is exciting and rewarding.”


What do you think is the most important change currently happening in the construction industry and why?

“With the issues and challenges in this world today with material shortages, rising costs and delivery delays, the ability to focus on the big picture, exude patience and understanding and have the ability to reason with clients and co-workers is truly a must have.”



Meet Rachel – Office Coordinator: 

Rachel joined Team D&B with 15 years of experience as an Optical Manager for an eye care office. Although she never worked in construction before joining our team nearly a year ago now, she can attest to the “big impact that having a strong woman leader in the work place has.” In the last year since she joined Team D&B, Rachel has “learned how to be strong, prioritize workloads on projects, the construction ‘lingo”, and the huge impact that safety has in the industry.” She is excited to continue to keep learning and growing in construction and is “pleasantly happy to see how many women have been working in this industry for a long time.”


What do women bring to the table for their companies and the industry as a whole?

“In doing some research, women have outscored men in their ability to take initiative and drive for results. Women have empathy, are mindful, can multitask and have open communication – all which are great traits and make teams more in sync.”


What do the women of D&B bring to the table for our clients, trade partners, and co-workers?

“The women of D&B build solid workplace relationships.”


What are the advantages of employing women in construction?

“Women can introduce new methods or approaches that have not yet been explored.”


What are some ways that male leaders within the industry can empower their female colleagues?

“Be sure women’s voices are heard (in meetings, especially), practice transparency, and listening.”



Meet Kellie – Residential Estimator / Assistant Project Manager: 

Kellie joined our residential construction company, D&B Elite Custom, in September of 2021. Prior to starting her career with D&B, she worked at Griffiths Construction for nearly four years as a Project Estimator.


What has been the most memorable moment in your construction career and why?

“I have had many experiences in my career but most memorable would be the final walk through with a woman who was planning on moving her aging mother and handicapped brother into an ADA addition we completed at her house. To see the satisfaction in knowing she now could care for her mother and brother in a safe and comfortable setting right at her home was priceless.”


What do the women of D&B bring to the table for our clients, trade partners, and co-workers?

“In my experience women in construction bring just as much to the table as our counterparts! My experience values me, not my gender. I love the diversity our company brings to our clients. The gender stereotypical roles of the past are breaking down and we are seeing more females take the lead in designing, coordinating and actually performing the field work. This can only set the stage for future growth as D&B stands out among our competitors.”


What are some ways that male leaders within the industry can empower their female colleagues? 

“Without the forward thinking of men in the construction field, women would not be able to achieve what we have to date. Since most of the construction field is male dominated, it takes a smart man to see past a woman’s gender and look at them for their experience and not their gender. I am thankful for the men at D&B who have succeeded in achieving this mind set and evaluate each individual on their skill sets and experience rather than gender.”


Insight From Our Executives:

In order to encourage more women to join the industry and lift up those already working in construction, it is important to have everyone amplifying the voices of women in construction. Dan Gring, Chief Executive Officer of D&B Construction and Drew Bell, Vice President of Business Development, offer insight on how male leaders within the industry can empower their female colleagues, how the industry as a whole can work to attract more female candidates, and more in their Q&A below:

The number of women that make up D&B’s growing team has doubled (from 4 to 8 women) just since last year’s Women in Construction week. How can the industry as a whole work to attract more female candidates?

DG: “Focus on women’s overall work experience versus just focusing on specific construction experience. There are so many industries that cross-over construction (Engineering, Design, Sales, etc). It is important to look at overall success versus simply construction background. Without changing to this broader thinking, we’ll be missing many well-qualified female candidates.”

DB: “I think the heavy influence of men in construction comes from trade schools.  Boys/young men get pushed into the trades as a career much more than women.  I think the construction industry as a whole should emphasize that working in the trades is an honorable, noble and lucrative career path for women as well.”


What do the women of D&B bring to the table internally for our D&B family?

DG: The experience, knowledge, and commitment our women bring to our overall team is extraordinary.  Our women bring a great emphasis on culture and are committed to a true team atmosphere.  The attention to detail to their day to day helps D&B keep on track to our mission and goals.”

DB: A different and valuable perspective. It’s no secret that men and women’s brains have variations to digesting and using information.  Our women in construction bring a can-do/get-it-done attitude that is a great asset.  They also have a knack for details which is instrumental to keeping everyone on task and fully completing objectives.”


What do the women of D&B bring to the table externally for our clients, trade partners, and suppliers?

DG: “Communication is the most important thing when interacting with our clients, trade partners, and suppliers.  Our female colleagues at D&B are some of our best communicators, and our clients and partners recognize this.”

DB: “Everything.  Most importantly could be relatability.  Many of our projects are for companies that are run and/or owned by women.  The ladies of D&B help teach men on our team the best way for conveying information and asking the right types of questions to make sure everyone is on the same page.”


Why is equality in the workplace important? How does D&B work to shorten the gap of inequality?

DG: “D&B recognizes the need for equality in the workplace.  It creates more positive and productive working relationships, creates brand reputation, and it attracts the best talent.  D&B is working hard through recruiting and an overall brand to represent ourselves as a place where all people want to work.”

DB:Equality is the best method to create the most cohesive office environment.  Everyone’s input and experience are invaluable in making essential business decisions.  It’s essential to secure a good balance of influence from men and women in every facet of life, particularly work.”


A report by McKinsey & Company revealed that gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability than companies with less diversity in their Diversity Wins report from May 2020. Why do you think this is? In your opinion, how do women enhance profits for companies?

DG: “By having a gender-diverse company you create those relationships with clients and business partners that help bolster reputation and sales.  We believe gender-diverse companies help to increase creativity within the organization that sets you apart from the competition.”

DB:It comes down to perspective.  Everyone thinks differently.  Diversity in ethnicity and gender is critical for having collective decision making.  Women, from my experience are great at critical thinking.  This plays a significant role in strategic planning and day to day project management.”


What are some ways that male leaders within the industry can empower their female colleagues?

DG: “Male leaders can empower their female colleagues to continue to give their thoughts and opinions as their message is powerful and creative compared to the ‘standard perspective’ of our construction industry.”

DB: “Listen, include and value.  I feel it’s common for people to be dismissive of input from people who are perceived to be less skilled/experienced.  It’s changing the perception that is key.  Men should not be dismissive of a woman in construction because she didn’t cut her teeth by swinging a hammer or hanging drywall.  Our female colleagues have learned from experiences throughout their own construction journey that has educated and solidified their understanding of our job’s demands.”

Team D&B is thrilled to be working with the Wilson School District‘s Honors Internship program once more! In the 2021-2022 school year, we have the pleasure of working with two talented seniors, Luca and Savanna. Our Construction Intern, Luca, has been shadowing team members working on our adaptive-reuse design-build project for Stratix Systems‘ new headquarters in Wyomissing. He has also been shadowing our residential team, D&B Elite Custom, as we build a custom home from the ground up. This opportunity has allowed Luca the invaluable experience of seeing the differences between commercial and residential construction, which has helped him get a better idea of what he may want to pursue as he heads to college. We sat down with Luca to learn more about his internship experience thus far:

Q: What do most of your days look like on the job-site?

A: “I spend most of my days shadowing and working closely with the commercial Site Superintendent, Barry, at Stratix’s job site, as well as shadowing John, the residential Superintendent.”


Q: Tell us about a day / task that you enjoyed most at your internship so far and why?

A: “I enjoy looking over project submittals the most because I get to see how different applications on the job were approved.”


Q: What are some things you’ve learned throughout your internship so far?

A: “I learned the importance of safety on a job-site is by far the most important aspect. OSHA safety requirements are the guidelines for construction job-sites. I’ve also learned that everything must get approved before even starting and this can hold projects up for months. I’m learning about what is on the drawings and how to interpret what is on them. I also have been sitting in meetings and participating in weekly site inspections to really get a grasp of things.”


Q: What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself so far through your internship experience?

A: “That I know more about the construction industry than I thought I did.”


Q: What would you say is the most important skill you developed / strengthened at your internship so far?

A: “I learned the importance of listening.”


Q: What  are your internship goals for the rest of your time with D&B?

A: “To continue to be able to complete individual tasks and be trusted at completing these tasks.”



At the beginning of January, we sadly said goodbye to Savanna, but we are so excited to hear about her experience interning with our friends at RE/MAX of Reading for the second half of the school year. Savanna shadowed our Marketing and Business Development department to learn the ins and outs of this field, both for our commercial side of the business and our residential side, D&B Elite Custom. After completing her internship experience, Savanna reflected on her time working with D&B and how it has prepared her for attending college as a Business Major. Here’s a Q&A from Savanna so you can learn more about her experience:


Q: What were your responsibilities throughout this internship?

A: “My responsibilities included researching, writing, and editing articles for blog posts and newsletters. I learned about graphic design and how to create things in design programs like Canva and Adobe. I also learned how to navigate WordPress and the back end of a website, as well as MailChimp. I completed Benchmarking analysis and learned the differences between preparing copy for social media and blogs/newsletters.”


Q: Of all your responsibilities, which did you enjoy most and why?

A: “I enjoyed creating things for D&B on Canva. It gave me a chance to be creative and really understand branding. Besides that I also really liked coming up with research for articles and gathering information in general. I liked interviewing people and getting quotes and information. Interviewing people was a great way for me to learn more about some of the staff here at D&B.”


Q: How was your overall experience interning with D&B Construction? 

A: “I was lucky to come into a business that was not only friendly and accepting, but that also had knowledgeable people who I could learn a great deal from, especially since this was my first internship experience. I rate my experience 10 out of 10 because coming into this, I had no idea what my internship was going to be like, but being here for a semester allowed me to learn more than I ever expected to about what goes on in a business. I also strongly believe that I gained a lot of hands on experience, from having my own computer and my own documents to work on in the office, to being able to go out to the job sites and take photos.”



Q: Do you feel this internship enabled you to apply knowledge and skills to prepare for college?

A: “Yes! Since I am in high school, I don’t have a focused major just yet, but my internship coordinator, Angela, went through a list of different tasks at the start of my internship. I was able to voice my opinion on what I thought I would be good at, what interested me, and what I wanted to learn more about. This allowed me to use my skills to the best of my ability throughout the internship. For example, I took Honors English all four years of high school, so I was able to write a lot of blogs and articles during this internship. I was given support and encouragement throughout training during my internship. If I didn’t know something, that was alright because then I was taught it, and that allowed me to learn new things and gain new skills. I really feel that this internship confirmed that I am on the right path. Through this internship experience I even realized that I would like to do some sort of marketing in my future career.”


Q: Do you feel this internship helped prepare you for your future career?

A: “Going into my internship I knew I wanted a business career, but I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do in the business world. This internship helped me gain knowledge about the business world and what really goes into marketing. It not only gave me an idea of what I want to go for in college, but I also gained experience and have a leg up compared to to my peers since I have an internship on my resume already. Not a lot of high school kids get this experience. This experience is valuable because it not only looks great for future jobs but will help me with getting into college.”


Q: What did you learn throughout your internship that you did not expect would be so important?

A: “I learned many things at my internship, but one thing that I didn’t think would be that important is branding and how we have the same colors and logos for everything. Another important thing I learned is the importance of having your business being a thought leader in the industry, not just as a company that does construction. I learned so many workforce skills that a classroom can’t teach me.”


Q: What are you most proud of from the work you produced throughout your internship and why?

A: “I am most proud of the blogs I wrote and posted with the help of my internship coordinator. It is something that I can say I worked on from start to finish and can add to my portfolio.”


Q: How would you describe D&B Construction’s company culture in three words?

A: “Innovative, thought-leaders, and welcoming.”

Dedicated, Welcoming, Fun – These are the three words that Ben chose to describe D&B Construction’s company culture following his internship experience.


Ben, who will graduate with a degree in Media Effects from Penn State University’s Main campus this coming Spring, enjoyed receiving hands-on experience throughout his Summer internship with D&B’s corporate Marketing and Business Development team. As a Professional Writing Intern, Ben helped write articles for D&B’s blog through gathering research and interviewing team members. He also helped with various business administrative tasks that allowed him to learn to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, our construction management software, Procore, and email marketing tools such as MailChimp, to name a few.


Although the majority of Ben’s three months with us was spent in the office, our team made sure to take him on active job sites. Ben was able to go to both commercial and residential job sites so he could see what both sides of the industry are like in person.


Ben learned about proper PPE to wear on job sites and safety protocols from D&B Construction’s Superintendent, John. This photo was taken on-site at a commercial healthcare project being complete for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


Ben eagerly listens to D&B Elite Custom Superintendent, Paul, answer one of his questions about processes out in the field while visiting a residential jobsite.


After completing his internship experience, Ben reflected on his time working with D&B, which he described as a “fun and valuable learning experience” for his future. Here’s a Q&A from Ben so you can learn more about his experience:


Q: What takeaways, including new skills, techniques, and knowledge did you learn throughout your internship with D&B?

A: “I thoroughly enjoyed learning the ins and outs of construction. The responsibilities I was given aligned with the classes I take at school, and I now have plenty of material that I can include in my portfolio as I start to job hunt post-graduation. I have developed better writing skills throughout the course of my internship. When I look back at rough drafts from my first article versus my rough drafts towards the end of my internship, I can see that I have made a lot of improvement. I learned how to use tools like Canva, which was useful. Ultimately, I was able to experience what it is like to work in marketing in the real world, which was a really good way for me to realize that marketing is a career I think I can pursue.”


Q: Did any of the classes you have taken in college directly prepare you for this internship?

A: “Yes! My media effects classes and writing classes prepared me for this internship. For example, my business writing class taught me essential skills to writing professionally. My media effects class taught me many things about how to effectively use social media. Actually, one of my assignments was similar to the benchmarking I did while at D&B, as I was asked to look at a celebrities’ Instagram accounts and analyze the good and bad things about them.”


Q: Did this internship make you re-consider what you want to do once you graduate college or confirm that you are in the right field?

A: “I have done a lot of thinking about what I will be doing when I graduate and start looking for a job. Even though I am not exactly sure what field it is that I want to work in, learning more about the construction industry and experiencing the environment in the office has definitely made me consider a job in this industry. I have also realized that I truly do enjoy working in Social Media / Marketing. Before this internship I thought that I would like a position like this, but I was never 100% sure. This internship also made me realize that there is nothing to be scared of, and I should go into the real world with all the confidence possible. Working for D&B has been a great step for me in finding a job once I graduate.”


Q: What are you most proud of from the work you produced throughout your internship and why?

A: “I am most proud of the articles that I worked on while I was here. I have always had to write for school, but writing for D&B’s Blog allowed me to have published work. I am proud to see the articles posted on the website.”


Q: How did you enjoy going on the job sites? Was the difference in commercial vs. residential jobs what you expected?

A: “I really enjoyed going to the job sites. It was cool to go on the job sites and see how D&B Construction works. Both residential and commercial job sites were completely new experiences for me. The difference is what I expected. The commercial job sites have a more hectic feel than the residential job sites because there are many more people working at commercial job sites.”


Q: What is your most memorable moment throughout your internship and why?

A: “My most memorable moment from my internship was visiting CHOP Souderton. I had never been to a commercial construction site and it was interesting to see the dynamic between the D&B Superintendents and our Trade Partners. I also thought it was really cool to see some of the obstacles they may face while building.”

On February 22, 2021, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary! This milestone is something to celebrate. According to historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry has one of the lowest business survival rates. About 25% of small construction companies don’t survive their first year, and labor statistics also show that 70% of these businesses never make it to their 10th anniversary.

From flipping homes and completing renovations, to building entire custom homes from the ground up, to entering the commercial construction industry and completing over 5 million SF since then… A lot has happened in the last decade. We owe it all to our amazing team members, trade partners, suppliers, clients, friends and family! Thank you for being part of this journey, and we look forward to what’s to come in the next decade!


Reflecting on 10 Years

To celebrate this milestone, we asked our team members to share some of their thoughts on what it is like working at D&B Construction, how they have personally grown during their time here, and any fun memories they wanted to share:

Q: Any fun memories or stories that you’d like to share?

“When I first started at D&B we were much smaller, with offices across the hall. I was excited to work for Al, Dan and Brennan because there was an underlying positive energy that was contagious. I remember Brennan bouncing his ball against a wall when he would visit our side, driving us all crazy, and Dan running through the office saying “coming through”. When Tom started we made him a make shift desk in the copy room. It was a little rough and we made it work.  If you ever need anything go to Adam, he is our historian and remembers everything! We have grown so much in the five years I have been here, and it has been fun being part of that growth both personally and professionally. I work with the best team! They happily share their knowledge, teach me something every day and challenge me to grow. They are my extended family. I also want to thank Al, Dan and Brennan for giving me an opportunity to be a part of a great team!”

-Beth, Project Coordinator

“When I first started we were limited on office space at the Park Road office. I was sharing an office with three other team members. Within a week, I adapted and found a corner in the room where the printer was. I made a desk from cardboard boxes and an old countertop. Talk about improvising. It actually worked well. HA!”

-Tom, Construction Manager & Safety Director

“I remember the first time I met Dan & Brennan when they first got started 10 years ago. I was on the other side of the job as an inspector for Lower Heidelberg Township. I believe they were constructing a deck, sunroom or an addition somewhere in the Green Valley area. I came across a lot of contractors in my 13 years as a building inspector, but always remembered them from the first meeting. Great guys with a goal of doing it the right way! This 10-year anniversary is a testament to them honoring their commitment to doing things the right way for their clients, employees and themselves!”

-Andrew, Assistant Project Manager



Q: How have you personally grown since first starting at D&B? What have you learned?

“The importance of teamwork. D&B has shown me what can be accomplished when there is a team that will support you from top to bottom.”

-Matt, Project Manager

“I have grown my leadership skills tremendously, and I learned that I can actually make a difference.”

-Tom, Construction Manager & Safety Director

“I’ve been here since January of this year, but I feel like it’s been much longer. The team has accepted me, and I love the company culture. I have learned a ton about our processes, software and my teammates. The ‘go-getter’ attitude of our leaders has me extremely excited for the future!”

-Andrew, Assistant Project Manager



Q: How have Dan and Brennan evolved as leaders since you began?

“They are evolving into awesome leaders. The growth that the joint venture of Metro and D&B bring are endless. They always have and always will have each other to bounce ideas off of. Not one decision is made for the company without them both discussing it together.”
-Alex, Superintendent

“Dan and Brennan are growing as leaders since I started and will continue to grow with the company.”

-Tom, Vice President of Construction for the Reading Division



Q: When you think of your D&B family what is the first thing that comes to mind?

“Teamwork. A commitment to excellence and doing things the right way for the client.”

-Andrew, Assistant Project Manager

“Compassion and understanding.”

-Matt, Project Manager

“Unbelievable teamwork and teammates.”
-Alex, Superintendent


-Tom, Construction Manager & Safety Director


-Barry, Superintendent



Q: Anything you want to say to the D&B team as a whole?

“Keep up the good work and adapt with the growth.”

-Tom, Vice President of Construction for the Reading Division

“I would like to say thanks to everyone. Many people in the company reached out to me when my mother passed, and it means more to me than they know.”

-Matt, Project Manager

“Being a part of this team makes me feel so proud. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I can rely on our team for help or ideas. As long as we stick together and use all of our teammates, there is nothing we can’t do!”
-Alex, Superintendent



Q: How would you define our company culture in a few words?

“Teamwork. Cohesive. Fun!”

-Andrew, Assistant Project Manager

“Engaging, welcoming, team oriented, rewarding, flexible, motivating and connected.”
-Alex, Superintendent

“Teamwork and striving for excellence.”

-Matt, Project Manager

“The culture here is unique compared to other companies.”

-Tom, Vice President of Construction for the Reading Division



Q: What do you love most about working at D&B?

“The challenge to keep up.”

-Barry, Superintendent

“Everyone has been extremely helpful in bringing me up to speed and getting me involved in as much as possible. The work atmosphere is fun, all while getting the tasks accomplished in timely manner. It is a great team with great balance across all facets.”

-Andrew, Assistant Project Manager

“The people. Everyone is down to earth and is there to support whenever possible. In times of need, D&B employees have been there to lend a helping hand or provide insight on an issue on a project.”

-Matt, Project Manager

“Mentoring the younger team members and watching them grow.”

-Tom, Vice President of Construction for the Reading Division


Learn More About D&B

If you follow our social media, you’ve likely seen our YouTube series reflecting on 10 years to celebrate the company’s milestone. Catch each episode here:

Episode 1: Dan and Brennan, and their wives, Urs and Jenny, reflect on the many different office spaces we’ve had throughout the last decade. Learn more about how we went from an office space in a house Dan and Brennan ended up flipping to where we are today.

Episode 2: Dan and Brennan discuss how D&B has grown in the last 10 years and whether or not they expected to be where they are now.

Episode 3: Did you know that Dan and Brennan were teammates long before they started the company? They played soccer together at Elizabethtown College (where they were also roommates). Learn how they have grown over the years and how their partnership complements one another.

Episode 4: This episode focuses on our most important asset – our team! In the words of Dan and Brennan, “Our team is what got us here today.” Dan, Brennan, and their wives recognize and celebrate everyone who makes up the D&B family.

Episode 5: Dan and Brennan’s family send their congratulations to Team D&B on their 10 year anniversary. Plus, you’ll learn what some of the D&B kids love most about visiting their dads and the team at the office.

In addition to celebrating International Women’s Day this Monday, we’ve also been celebrating Women in Construction Week here at D&B!

It’s no secret that construction is a male-dominated field. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 10.3% of workers in the construction industry are women. This number has stayed nearly stagnant since the 1990s (see statistics below from the NAWIC):

Across the nation, there are over 1.1 million women in the construction industry. Meanwhile, in a drastic comparison, men come in just shy of 10 million at 9.9 million. Click here to see Construction Coverage’s list of cities with the most women in construction.

Another doubtful secret is that women in the construction industry are most likely to work in office positions. For example, men make up approximately 20% of office / admin roles in the industry, while women make up about 80%. In contrast, men make up nearly 100% of occupations in the construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair fields.


Resources for Women in the Industry

We’ve compiled a list of some of the D&B ladies’ favorite resources for women within the industry. Be sure to give their social channels a follow to receive a number of resources.

The National Association of Women in Construction is the leading association for women in construction. Its humble beginnings date back to 1953 when 16 women working in the industry founded what was then known as “Women in Construction of Fort Worth, Texas.” Their goal was to create a support network for women. The organization’s success led to it becoming a national charter in just two years. Today, this organization is still based in Fort Worth, however it has grown exponentially with over 115 chapters throughout the United States. They are committed to championing women to impact the direction of the construction industry, while also strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the industry. They do this by providing education, community and advocacy for women builders, professionals and tradeswomen in all aspects of the industry. According to NAWIC, “The focus of Women in Construction (WIC) Week is to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry. WIC Week also provides an occasion for NAWIC’s thousands of members across the country to raise awareness for the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry. It is also a time for local chapters to give back to their communities.” The northeast region of the U.S. has 16 NAWIC chapters, with one in Philadelphia and a second in South Central PA. Learn more about becoming a member here, and view their resources here.


If you missed our first blog post, be sure to check it out to learn all about Xena workwear for women. This company is all about inspiring girls to pursue careers in STEM and the trades… and did we mention they are OSHA compliant while also being comfortable and stylish?! No wonder the ladies at D&B love them so much. See below for a picture of D&B team members, Angela and Jessica, rocking their Xenas on the job site for Riverfront Federal Credit Union.


We also love the Women in Construction Summit Blog, which serves as a great resource for women in the industry. While you are at it, have you checked out Women Construction Owners & Executives USA (WCOE)? Located in Washington D.C., they aim to provide a network of executive women in the construction industry for mentorship, peer-to-peer assistance, information and support. Last but certainly not least, the Professional Women in Construction (PWC) is a nonprofit organization that works to support, advance, and connect women and promote diversity within the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) and related industries. It all began in 1980 when eight women started attending industry events together in New York City. They knew their presence would be stronger together than individually. That same mentality resonates throughout the organization today throughout their five chapters located in New York, Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey and Philadelphia.


The D&B Ladies

True to the NAWIC’s mission, we wanted to highlight the talented, innovative and powerful women who make up the D&B team. We’d be remiss to end Women in Construction week without recognizing them. Learn more about them, their impressive accomplishments, their advice to other ladies looking to join the industry, and how they started working in construction in our Q&A below:



Meet Beth Varone-Barrer, Project Coordinator at our Reading Office


Time with D&B: Beth celebrated her 5 year anniversary with us in November.

How Beth Enhances our Team: Without Beth, we aren’t sure where we would be! She is such a vital part of our company, handling so many daily operations. She is loved by our clients who always have nothing but positive things to say about their experience with Beth and how helpful she is to them. Beth has a keen eye for design and helping our clients select the perfect options for their project.

Q: Did you always plan on being in this industry?

A: No. I realized I wanted to be in the industry when I started working at D&B. The energy was contagious, and I enjoyed seeing a vision come to life. I started as an Administrative Assistant for Al, Dan and Brennan. Jess McAllister would ask me to assist her with selections and research for projects, which I really enjoyed. When she moved on, she went to bat for me, and I was given an opportunity to assist with selections. From there, it grew into a Project Coordinator position. I was hooked. I love what I do!


Q: What do you love most about working in this industry and why?

A: The process and purpose! Someone has an idea, and our team brings it to life. There are many moving parts, and that keeps what I do interesting and never boring. I work with an exceptional group of experienced men and women that teach me something every day, and I appreciate that they share their knowledge with me. l enjoy continuously learning.


Q: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?

A: If you want to, you can do anything!


Q: What is something you’ve accomplished since at D&B that you are most proud of? 

A: I am a Project Coordinator! When I started with D&B, I did not realize that there was room to grow and advance. I am so grateful to Al, Dan and Brennan for giving me the opportunity to challenge myself and grow personally and professionally.


Q: Have your daughters and granddaughter ever shown interest in being in the same industry as you? What do they want to be when they grow up?

A: My daughter, Remington, is an EIT working for a firm in Malvern. I am so proud of her and how she has grown personally and professionally, learning to navigate in a male-dominated industry. I love that we have the industry in common, and of course she always teaches me something. Although my other two daughters are not in the industry, I would support their decision if they ever chose to work in construction. I am also very proud of the strong women they are! My advice to my three daughters is and has always been, “If you want to, you can do anything!” Guess what I tell my granddaughter? “If you want to, you can do anything!”



Meet Jessica Nelis, Operations Manager at our Reading Office


Time with D&B: Jessica is celebrating her four year anniversary with us in July!

How Jessica Enhances our Team: Jessica first joined us as a LEED AP certified Project Manager, with experience creating custom branded retail fixtures for renowned clients like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors FootwearBirkenstock, and The North Face. She has managed projects ranging from single flagship stores to national rollouts, designing over two dozen Harley-Davidson showrooms from Juneau, Alaska to St. Augustine, Florida. Jessica has completed many impactful projects for clients such as Tower Health, Penn National Gaming, S&T Bank and more. After nearly 4 years as one of our Project Managers, Jessica recently shifted into a new role as our Operations Manager where her many skills as a management professional shine.


Q: Did you always plan on being in this industry?

A: Yes. Originally, I was looking to go into design. I graduated from Philadelphia University with a BS in Interior Design. I started my career there before moving over to the construction side of the field.


Q: What do you love most about working in this industry and why?

A: I like starting with a problem, working from a single idea, developing it into a full concept (which in turn is planned down to every detail) and then executing to bring a single basic concept into a tangible, physical building. 


Q: Would you say there are more women in the industry since you first started? Why / why not? 

A: It’s hard to say, but I just read an interesting opinion in Reading Eagle’s business section on the need to tap into women to fill a huge upcoming talent gap in the construction workforce, so I definitely feel like it will be more diverse in the next few years.


Q: What advice would you give to younger women / girls looking to join construction or any other trade / STEM career path? 

A: Just because you’re the only woman in the room, doesn’t mean you don’t belong there!


Q: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?

A: Be bold, take risks and speak up.


Q: What is something you’ve accomplished since at D&B that you are most proud of? 

A: Taking on new challenges in both residential and commercial divisions, and being able to walk finished spaces with happy customers!


Q: What is something you’ve accomplished during your time in the industry that looking back you never knew you would? 

A: Working with big brands to create retail store experiences throughout the country in high-end shopping malls, department stores, airports and in high-end shopping districts!


Q: Your favorite quote / piece of advice?

A: “Women need to shift thinking ‘I’m not ready to do that’ to thinking ‘I want to do that and I’ll learn by doing that.’” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook



Meet Lesley Yocum, Project Manager at our Philadelphia Office

Time with D&B: Lesley just celebrated one year with Team D&B in February!

How Lesley Enhances our Team: Lesley came to D&B with 16 years of industry experience and a degree in Architectural Design from Lincoln Technical Institute. She has completed work for impressive clients like Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Capital Health, and Inspira Health, to name a few.


Q: Did you always plan on being in this industry?

A: Yes and no. I studied and started my career in the Architectural field. After spending 15 years designing, I found that I enjoyed being on site more than in the office. I started to talk with my husband about the possibility of a career side step. It just so happened that D&B was hiring when I decided to move forward with the change. The stars aligned.


Q: What do you love most about working in this industry and why?

A: I enjoy the process. The planning, problem solving, seeing it come to life and ultimately the final product.


Q: What has been the hardest part of pursuing a career in construction, a field that is mostly male-dominated?

A: Respect from the older generation. Some are set in their ways. But respect is also earned, so it takes a bit of time sometimes, but we always get there.


Q: Would you say there are more women in the industry since you first started? Why / why not? 

A: In the construction industry, sadly no. But I’ve only been here a year. In the Architectural side, YES! I have high hopes that it will start trickling over into construction.


Q: What advice would you give to younger women / girls looking to join construction or any other trade / STEM career path? 

A: It’s a career that you can be proud of. Go for it!


Q: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?

A: Always walk away knowing you did your best.


Q: Your favorite quote / piece of advice?

A: In a world where you can be anything, be kind.


Q: Has your daughter ever shown interest in being in the same industry as you? What does she want to be when she grows up?

A: My daughter builds! She will take all her toys and build a tower, castle or house. Her structures are detail-oriented, and she will build and rebuild something until it’s perfect to her. Currently, she’s four years old and wants to be a Mom.



Meet Angela Cremer, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at our Reading Office


Time with D&B: Angela has enjoyed being part of Team D&B for nearly 6 months now, having started in October 2020.

How Angela Enhances our Team: Angela is an ambitious and proactive communicator who tells D&B’s story through multiple channels. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Albright College with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising.


Q: Did you always plan on being in this industry?

A: No.  I majored in Public Relations and Advertising in college and have done marketing for a variety of different industries, from nonprofits to fashion. In 2017, I became the Director of Public Relations for a restoration company, also a more male-dominated industry like construction. Although I never really had a plan to enter the AEC industry, I have found there are countless opportunities, and I enjoy being part of it.


Q: What do you love most about working in this industry and why?

A: Each day is different. I love getting to go to our many job sites to document the process as our team transforms a rendering into reality. It’s a privilege to be able to share that process with the world. I have the upmost respect for our team members and everyone in the industry. They put in long days of hard work on the job site, either building something from the ground up or re-envisioning a pre-existing building into something to better benefit our communities.


Q: What has been the hardest part of pursuing a career in construction, a field that is mostly male-dominated?

A: I think a lot of women would agree that gender bias is more alive than most of us may want to admit this day in age. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy working here and in this industry. Even though most of my days are spent in the office, the days I do get out on the job site help to break down such biases. The more ladies that continue to enter this male-dominated industry, the more “normal” it will become to see a woman in a hard hat on the job.


Q: What advice would you give to younger women / girls looking to join construction or any other trade / STEM career path? 

A: Glass ceilings are meant to be shattered. Don’t limit your goals and aspirations based on what is expected of you or considered the norm. Be the outlier. That’s how we create change.


Q: What is something you’ve accomplished during your time in the industry that looking back you never knew you would? 

A: I’m relatively new to the team, but when I am out on a jobsite gathering footage I make it a priority to ask more questions. It is a goal of mine to become more well-versed in construction terminology. Just last week while at our active construction site for CHOP Souderton, our Superintendent John was more than happy to answer my questions and teach me a thing or two. I’m appreciative of our team members for taking the time to do that. This is how we collectively grow as a company.


Q: Your favorite quote / piece of advice?

A: “Some days it storms, some days it shines. This is how flowers grow.” This is my go to reminder that not every day is going to be great, and that’s necessary. We can’t appreciate the ups without the downs.

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