Missy Scherber on Building Up The Construction Community

February 26, 2020

Missy Scherber has taken the social media construction community by storm. With over 17K Instagram followers, this construction boss is shining a spotlight on #womeninconstruction, the importance of community and the role that we all have in supporting each other.

Missy Scherber! Image borrowed from Heavy Equipment Guide.

Her reach is not limited to social media, either. As the co-owner of T.Scherber Demolition, Excavating and Roll-Offs, Missy is connecting with contractors and construction professionals daily, running a business and learning the ins and outs of the industry. These two combined elements of her career have given her unique insights into the industry as a whole. 

Missy has been working with ConExpo since last spring as the host of the ConExpo / CON-AGG podcast. Called “Contractor Conversations”, the ConExpo podcast aims to provide a “boots-on-the-ground” perspective from business owners. Successes, challenges and anything in between are the topics of the podcasts with the goal to connect industry people to each other and help build relationships.

Image borrowed from Construction Junkie.

DOZR sat down with Missy to hear her story and find out what her journey in the industry has been like. It quickly became clear that there is more than what meets the eye for how she got involved in the industry, in ConExpo and how she has changed the construction industry for good.

Becoming the Voice of ConExpo

Last spring Missy was approached by ConExpo to become the host of their podcast. The ConExpo – CON/AGG Radio Podcast launched in 2016 and has since been a staple of the expo.

A promotion for the ConExpo Podcast, featuring Missy and Keaton Turner of Turner Mining Group. Image borrowed from T.Scherber Construction.

“It’s been so fun to connect with contractors on the ground and realize how important a show like ConExpo is for them. Not only for them to shop around and see what’s next in the industry, but to connect with their own community and peers.”

Joining the Community

Although Missy Scherber is now recognized throughout the online construction community she actually didn’t start off working in the industry at all. It wasn’t until she met her now-husband Trevor, that she first got involved in the construction, earthmoving and waste management industries.

“Falling in love with a Dirt Man, as I say, was what really got me into it. I had a downtown job at the time but Trevor really introduced me to the industry. His family business is involved with many services at the foundation of a construction project including demolition, excavating, sewer and water, hauling and trucking. I kind of felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the industry. Trevor actually gave me work boots as my first gift so I could visit him on site.“

Trevor and Missy Scherber. Image borrowed from Tscherber

A History of Community Service

Before starting in construction Missy worked in the nonprofit industry in a fundraising position for interfaith churches. Working as a Donor Officer was a job filled with meaning and passion. Entering construction, however, she was not about leaving this passion behind. 

Growing T. Scherber Demolition and Excavating has allowed Missy and Trevor to give back to the community, to donate to organizations that mean a lot to both of them. Children’s Hospital MN is just one example of an organization that they donate to.

Several of their Roll-Offs feature the logo of the hospital and they donate a portion of each service item back to the hospital. 

Another way that Missy does good in the community is through her messaging as a woman in construction. Often referred to as an influencer for women in construction, her power to shine a light on the difficulties facing women in a male-dominated industry.

“I don’t think I viewed myself as an influencer until the messages started pouring in to my direct messages that people were inspired by me. I was so surprised by it and definitely felt pressure from it. It’s a tall order to fill. But to hear that message of “you inspired me to keep going”, or “you’re showing me what it looks like to be a woman in construction. I didn’t know women could be in this industry or moms could be in this industry.” It’s such a powerful experience and it meant a lot to me.

It definitely changed how I saw myself and my role in the industry. I like to think of it as trying to inspire instead of influence. At the end of the day, I don’t want it to be about me, but about them – the ones who need to be told they have power and have a voice. I prefer to take the attention off of me and put it back on them. I like to ask the question, “What am I inspiring you to do or what were you inspired to do? How is that going?” 

This is what drives me forward: giving a voice and being a support system for people who didn’t feel that they had that before. “

Her movement of Women In Construction Wednesday (seen on Instagram as #WCW and #WomeninConstructionWednesday) started off as a way to highlight the women who worked alongside men, building our world. What started off as a simple Instagram hashtag has since grown into a movement in the female construction community. 

Growing #WomenInConstructionWednesday

Women from all branches of construction have since posted selfies, shared photos of other coworkers and reached out to Missy directly to share what this hashtag has meant to them. Many women felt empowered by being in the construction industry by taking part in this Wednesday hashag, telling missy that they felt important and like they had a right to share their story because of her movement. Eventually, it caught the attention of one of the biggest brands in the industry.

Inspiring the next generation, especially the next generation of women is important to Missy. Image borrowed from Beautiful Chaos Companies.

Last summer the Caterpillar social media team reached out to me and said that they were releasing something exciting on Women in Construction Wednesday and they were letting me know that I was going to be really excited about it. So there I was by my phone on Wednesday waiting to see what Cat was coming out with for their customer story for that day.

 

It was a story about an all-woman paving crew and that they were thoughtful to release on Women in Construction Wednesday. It was the moment that I realized that this simple hashtag had become a sort of movement. No matter how busy I get Wednesday is important to me every week.”

The US’s first all-women paving crew as featured on CAT. Image borrowed from CAT.

Standing Up to the Word “No”

When she entered the construction industry, Missy did so as a business owner. Since taking on that role, she has learned many lessons about being successful, a leader and running a business as a whole. Grit and determination are two things that have been big lessons for her. 

Missy remembers first learning about a deep level of determination also known as grit in a book by Angela Duckworth – appropriately called Grit – as the ability to persist in the face of obstacles by leaning on your passion to help drive you through and focusing on the long term and meaningful goals.

This passion was something new to her and so was finding the grit to work through the ups and downs of business ownership. 

Angela Duckworth and her book, Grit. Image borrowed from Dan Gottlieb.

I feel like we’re raised to be frozen by negatives and the word, “no”. But in business that can’t happen. These difficulties have to propel you forward. You have to be comfortable in the middle of negativity and difficulty. 

 

One that I’ve worked hard on is how to maintain steady in the midst of negativity. You know negative things happen and that “no”s will come your way. As a business owner you have to learn how to respond instead of react. I think that’s been the biggest perspective change for me as a business owner – recognizing that there’s a huge mental game and learning the art of maintaining your composure in every situation. 

 

Your mental game has to be strong.”

Upcoming Construction Trends

As both a business owner and an online construction personality, Missy enjoys staying up to date on the latest trends and news in the industry.  There are two main trends in the industry that she is most excited about: autonomous equipment, and the changes happening in clothing and PPE design for the industry, specifically for women. 

“There are two reasons I’m so excited about autonomous vehicles. One, the safety aspect of autonomous equipment. I watch some of the demolitions we do – a big house or a large building – and I’m so aware of the risk management factor. I know my guys are in there, in this equipment, knocking down buildings. Autonomous equipment could be the next wave of how we do this better and safer.

 

I also think the next generation of labourers is going to be really excited about these advancements as well and it’ll be a great way to connect us to them.

 

Regarding clothing, I think that companies are finally tuning in and listening to female construction workers in the field when they’re developing new clothing projects and PPE. Better fit and styles can make a huge difference on the job. The reality is that clothing for the industry has to be safe to be comfortable. It’s becoming more custom and tailor-made so that everyone can be safe and visible.“

What To Expect At ConExpo

Missy will be happily booth-hopping on behalf of the PodCast and ConExpo as well as exploring new technology for her own business.

Construction tech will be a big focus for Missy at the show as she and Trevor are both interested in incorporating more technology into their daily business life.

We want to get better at technology, so we will be dedicating a day at ConExpo to just learning about all of the tech software fleet management opportunities out there. We’ve been a smaller business as well as newer. We haven’t invested as much in tech or been able to up until where we are now. So this will be my year to really learn about the tech available.

 

Technology in construction is something I’m really excited about. I think that if technology can advance every other industry forward so quickly then it can do the same for construction. “

See you at ConExpo!! Image borrowed from The Scherber Report.

Missy will also be sitting on the “Ask the Influencers – Panel Discussion & MeetUp with Instagram’s Most Popular Construction Minds” on Wednesday, March 11 at ConExpo along with Keaton Turner, Stacey Tompkins and Aaron Witt.

You can also see missy on Tuesday March 10 at the “Seasoned But Not Too Salty – Young Leaders Discussion” session, and on Wednesday, March 11, “New Approach to Building Female Construction Leaders”.

DirtStories

DirtStories dig up the hidden gems in the industry to share untold stories with the world. From large companies and independent contractors to individual interviews and event coverage, DirtStories is challenging the way the world views construction by sharing the stories of the people who build and feed our world.

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