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Elder earns respect of peers around industry

Jacquelyn Elder –
ZoKa Solutions

Jacquelyn Elder inspires people around her to be better.

Elder, a former director of site utilities for CornerStone One, initially joined CornerStone five years ago as an assistant project manager. She was later promoted to project manager and then director of site utilities before recently breaking out on her own to start her own consulting business called ZoKa Solutions.

“She has earned the respect of her peers despite the fact that she has never installed a water main or sewer before,” said CornerStone One Founder Steve Adkins. “Jacq recognized the need for more specific training of our crews and developed a two-week paid training program. Her teammates learned both technical skills as well as (emotional intelligence).”

The only thing that’s consistent in construction is change, Elder said.

“On the site utility side, you never really know what you get until you put a bucket in the ground,” she said. “Sometimes the balance between shifting gears when something comes up can be challenging as you still have to get your to-do list done even if you have to change priorities midday.”

There has always been a worker shortage in the construction industry, and the pandemic has only made it worse, Elder said.

“Finding key people and help is extremely challenging in this environment,” she said. “The supply chain issues since COVID have also been a huge shift as we use to be able to get to a job within about a week or so and now it can be weeks/months out depending on material.”

Elder is an avid reader and participated in CornerStone One’s monthly “Chapter One” book club, as well as the Executive Agenda peer group.

She credits her parents, along with her stepmom, for helping her achieve the success that she has enjoyed in her career.

“There is a quote that I have always lived by, ‘A wide array of people come into your life; good ones give you happiness, bad people give you experience, worst ones give you lessons, and the best people give you memories.’”

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