Get to Know Business Operations Specialist: Sara Hofstee
Sara is coming up on five years at McKinstry where she has had a realm of different roles from working at the front desk of the Spokane office to her current role as a business operations specialist. Sara has made it her personal mission to bring the employees of the Spokane office together whether it is celebrating National Dinasaur Day, “Ladies Night” happy hours or fun family events. The Spokane office has certainly been positively impacted by Sara’s infectious energy.
In the Q&A below, you can learn more about Sara and the enthusiasm she brings to McKinstry every day.
Learn More About Sara’s Experience
I started about five years ago in the information center and I was a warranty account coordinator/manager. During the pandemic, I transitioned to Edo for a short time until I took the front desk position at the Spokane McKinstry office. Soon after that, I moved up and took on a Business Operations role for the Inland Northwest, and it has been truly life-changing for me. I love every single thing that I do. I am obsessed with my job, it’s really annoying.
When I first came to the Spokane office, post-pandemic, I noticed something that really bothered me. I watched people walk right by each other without saying hello. No friendliness, no openness and a sense of disconnect within the office. I think the pandemic made folks feel insecure. Not insecure about themselves but insecure about the world and how uneasy and unsafe it felt. People did not want to be vulnerable, however, I happen to be the most vulnerable person you’ll ever meet, so for the last year, I made it my personal mission to bridge these gaps. I started planning events, like “ladies’ night” once a month at my house, community service events as well as other fun get-togethers and celebrations at the office. I made this my job even though it may not be in my job description. The Spokane office has truly come so far from where it was a year ago. I am seeing the genuine human connection that was missing. I am seeing departments working together and employees wanting to be involved in each other’s lives. The Spokane office feels like a family and a community. Coming together is what it’s about right? That is how we are successful. It’s teamwork that makes us strong because we won’t succeed just on our own.
Two moments come to mind for me. The first was after our Catalyst family event that took place a couple of weeks before the Spokane office officially moved into the building. I ended up going to dinner with CEO, Dean Allen, as well as other McKinstry executives, and in front of the whole dinner party, Dean tells me that I am a wildfire spreading swiftly through McKinstry and he loves what I have accomplished since I have been with the company. This truly touched my heart and made me feel like this is where I belong. I want to be that positive wildfire and I want to spread this energy everywhere, so the fact that the owner of our company saw that in me was life-changing.
In addition to this, there was one day quite recently that I was outside of the Spokane office loading a vehicle for delivery and Ash Awad, President and Chief Market Officer, runs up to me and tells me “It is an honor to meet you, Sara, you are so special and what you are doing with the Spokane office is incredible”. Again, a life-changing experience. Just to know that I was being seen and appreciated from afar by an executive like Ash meant everything to me.
I was raised in an interesting way. My parents had a divorce when I was three and both remarried at the same time and had more children. My dad and stepmom lived and worked on a dairy farm in Priest River, Idaho, and my mom and stepdad lived in Spokane Valley where my stepdad was a foreman for Garco Construction. Both sets of parents were in two very different industries, and both were equally difficult for women. However, both sets of parents made a point to raise me as a very strong and confident individual who never saw herself as less than and having that assurance throughout my life served me well when I came into the construction industry. I did not have the fear of being misunderstood or not being respected, and I can tell you that I’ve had a great experience at McKinstry. I recognize that this is not the case for all women in construction and I also recognize that I am not in the field, but from what I can see and what I have experienced, the men of McKinstry are inclusive, compassionate and supportive of the women of this company.
I am also the chair of our women in construction for the Inland Northwest and it is a great way to network and come together with other women in the industry. We have a multitude of women in various business units as well as a few field workers.
When I first started it wasn’t about passion. It was about work and making money to support my family. It wasn’t until I took the front desk position in addition to my current role that I truly found my passion. My passion has been and will be bringing people together. I also find passion in working for a company whose mission is to serve a greater purpose and to do good for the planet. There is certainly a sense of purpose here at McKinstry that makes me passionate to be in the industry.
I am the most vulnerable person you’ll ever meet, and I am not ashamed of it. I know it can be scary to be so vulnerable and it is definitely not comfortable for everyone. However, when I see that being myself unapologetically helps others to do the same lets me know that I am doing something right.
Also, I am obsessed with dinosaurs. Ever since I was little, dinosaurs were the most incredible beings to me, and they still are today. In fact, I have a blow-up dinosaur costume and lots of dinosaur decorations, so on National Dinosaur Day I bring anything and everything dinosaur related into the office, and I put on a mini celebration! Check out the picture below to get a glimpse!
I really enjoy reading, and I actually have a book club outside of work that I look forward to. I also love anything outdoors. I was raised on a dairy farm, so any type of outdoor adventure brings me joy. I also genuinely just love being with my family. I have always been a family girl, as I was the oldest of 10 kids growing up, so having a family of my own is everything. I have a wife, a son who is going to be 17 soon and a 100-pound lab that’s 11 months old. They keep me grounded and keep me whole as a human.