Steve Allison, foreman at Greiner Buildings, lives by the adage that there’s no such thing as a stupid question.
While working his way up to be a foreman, he would ask questions to understand how he could improve, and that’s still true today. “He’s not afraid to call the project manager and say there’s something he doesn’t quite understand,” says Shawn Redlinger, general manager and owner of the company. “He doesn’t want to be wrong and have to fix something later on.” As a result, he’s the most particular guy on the job site, Redlinger adds. He’s also the guy who receives the most compliments from customers.
Nominated as Crew Foreman of the Month, an award sponsored by the National Frame Building Association, Allison has worked nine years at Greiner, which has offices both in Kewanee, Illinois, and Washington, Iowa. He served as foreman on several award-winning buildings recognized by NFBA in its Building of the Year competition, and his projects routinely fall under budget and are completed ahead of schedule.
Rachel Fishback, marketing manager, says that Allison also has exceptional communication skills in his work with builders, contractors and fellow employees. “He builds a great relationship with customers, and they trust Steve with their construction questions,” Fishback says. One customer, Terri Walker, offers an example of the comments heard from Allison’s customers: “Steve was awesome to work with. He came early and stayed late to get the work done. Steve was always professional, and when I had questions about what we should do, he always had an answer.”
Growing up in Washington, Allison worked as a teenager doing commercial flooring in the business of a family friend. When he began at Greiner, he admits he had misconceptions about post-frame construction and thought it involved only building simple pole barns. But today he is challenged and inspired by the evolving technology and the variety of structures that are possible with post frame. He is patient with customers who do not have a knowledge base for understanding how the construction system works, and he takes the time to help them appreciate the advantages and efficiencies.
Allison is proud to drive his six-year-old daughter by his first project, Archer Appliance, in his hometown of Washington. Two other projects he recalls with pride are a hobby shop that won a Building of the Year Award and another customer’s “dream house.” In fact, the variety of the work and the total lack of repetition are favorite aspects of his work.
Allison’s mother taught him to aspire to be a leader, not a follower, and that is what he tries to do every day. Though new crew members may be challenging at times, he encourages those questions he is famous for asking himself. “It drives me crazy when someone messes up a wall and then says, ‘You know, I thought something went wrong.’”
Although it might be tempting to do difficult jobs himself, he knows the importance of helping his crew grow and learn. He’s now at the point with his crew where he can go on vacation and relax, not worrying about the job being done without him.
In his spare time, Allison likes to spend as much time as possible with his daughter, whether taking her on a visit to the Iowa Children’s Museum or fishing together on the pond at Redlinger’s home (which Allison was involved in building). Calling himself a “hands-on, outdoorsy type,” he also enjoys hunting.
A curious and questioning person, Allison says he likes to understand how things work. “I like learning new things. I like knowledge.”