Name: Stacey Morrison

Age: 54

Title: CEO and owner

Company: Ganneston Construction Corp.

About: A construction manager, design-builder and general contractor serving Maine.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Finding qualified workforce. There is a lack of younger people entering the workforce. It is a numbers thing and a skills thing.

The big push for college, and we have been discounting the value of technical training. A plumber could be trained and could easily set up his own shop and have his own company and do very well, or work for someone else and still do very well.

In the bigger picture, college isn’t for some people. They don’t want to do work behind a desk. They like to work outside or work with their hands.

Our buildings and libraries and schools are not going to be building themselves. There won’t be robotics there. And when the roof leaks, who fixes the leaks? Who’s going to fix our cars?

We haven’t done a good job telling people these jobs are good jobs with good benefits and they are local. I hear of college graduates having a hard time finding a good-paying job. But I guarantee you, if you graduate from a technical school with a certificate or a degree, you will find a good-paying job.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

If you want something, you have to work for it. It’s not going to be delivered to your door.

That’s from my dad (Eldon Morrison). He encouraged me that I could do anything in the world. It didn’t matter that I was female, it would not hold me back. He encouraged me in education, in buying this business, he was my silent partner. He’s been in the office maybe four times in 17 years, and three or four years ago, I bought him out.

He’s still available for advice. When I have had challenges in life, he’s there. He tells me, “You are one of the strongest people I know.”

How do you foster creativity in yourself or your staff?

I have an open-door policy. I invite people to come in and talk to me. When they do, I encourage them not to come with problem, but with solutions. I encourage them to think and communicate ideas. No questions are stupid, and no ideas are stupid.

What’s your biggest fear?

This is something I think about — if there were a large-scale natural disaster in this area, how would we handle that? What would that mean for all the projects that are running and our employees? Have we lost power and water? When you have a blackout and don’t have use of a computer, you see how much you rely on them. We know our electric grid is out of date and if it went down and were not restored like in Puerto Rico, how would you keep your company going?

How do you navigate changing market conditions?

You have to have the ability to react quickly and position the company in such a way that you can survive those conditions.

Having gone through the recent recession and going from a company doing $15 million to $6 million (in gross sales) that meant tightening up budgets and reducing salaries and benefits rather than laying off people.

I guess being able to react (to changing market conditions) quickly and survive it. If some sectors stop spending on projects, we have to develop other areas and projects.

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