Describe your role with The Stahl Companies.
AU: As the CFO, two important roles I am responsible for are to ensure the company maintains good financial health and to manage the Human Resources for the company. To do this, I work hard to create and foster professional working relationships with our clients, service providers, sub-consultants, vendors, bankers, insurance representatives, tax authorities, and many others.
How did you become interested in a career in construction?
AU: My career in construction started when I took the position of department secretary (yes, that is what they called it back then) in the Construction department of a large healthcare organization. Shortly after, I found I was doing more project administration than secretarial work and I was enjoying it. So, I decided to enroll in Construction Management courses at UC Davis and set a goal to become a project manager. Turns out my true talent is working on the finance side of the business, more than the constructing.
What has challenged you most as you’ve progressed through the industry?
AU: I think my biggest hurdle was in my lack of education and knowledge in the business environment.
How did you overcome that challenge?
AU: I began my education by taking a certificate course in Construction Management at UC Davis.Then a few years later, with the encouragement of my family and my boss, Walt Stahl, I enrolled in college. It took me 4 ½ years but in the end, I earned both an Associates of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
Was there one person who was instrumental in getting you through that challenge?
AU: I had many supporters who would not let me quit school. My biggest supporter was my husband, Mark.He encouraged me from the start and pushed me through the toughest times, when all I wanted to do was quit. Without him, I am not sure I would have finished.
In your opinion, what skills/or traits are crucial to have in this career?
AU: I think focusing on the details is critical in my field of work. Small details cannot be glossed over or ignored, because doing so can be detrimental to the health of the company.
Who is a role model you look up to, and why?
AU: I would have to say Walt Stahl is a role model I look up to. He took a risk starting this company from nothing 18 years ago, and we are now over 25 employees strong. He has a high level of integrity and professionalism. He appreciates his employees and he treats everyone with fairness and respect.
What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
AU: I am an avid reader. I read to relax and escape stress.
What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
AU: I would say earning two degrees in Accounting while working full time, raising my son, and balancing my home life with my loving husband.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
AU: "Never play leapfrog with a unicorn" and "You can do it"
What is your favorite line from a film?
AU: "I'm not a witch. I'm your wife!" - The Princess Bride