Erika Cleaver rises to any challenge that is put before her.
Cleaver, senior project manager at Tri-North Builders, got into the industry around 12 years ago and has witnessed it become a lot more inclusive.
“They’re definitely more women than when I started,” she said. “One good thing from the pandemic is the use of virtual meetings — it is a wonderful tool and so easy to get with the architect, engineers, or subcontractors and work through issues right on the screen or showing video of something in the field.”
Cleaver has served as the leading project manager on many projects, including dormitories, parking ramps and senior housing.
“Erika has done a great job honing her interview and presentation skills, working with our marketing team to secure work,” said Tri-North Vice President Anna Stern. “Public speaking and effective communication aren’t always easy, and Erika has done an incredible job to research and understand what will connect with the specific owners that she is presenting to.”
“She is a key reason why we were awarded the Urban League of Greater Madison’s Black Business Hub project.”
One of the biggest difficulties in the industry right now is a lack of skilled labor, Cleaver said. The pandemic has presented a lot of obstacles as well, ranging from inflation, the limited supply of materials and longer-than-normal lead times.
Cleaver said what she enjoys most about her job is the variety — no two jobs are ever the same.
“Even if the type of construction is the same, each owner, design team, project location, different means and methods all bring their own challenges,” she said.
She also believes in giving back. Cleaver helped to found Kids Building Wisconsin, which is meant to expose kids to the construction industry through fun events. She has also served as a board member for CATCH (Community Around the Children’s Hospital) and She Builds.