Women Who Build West Michigan – Stacey Czarnopis
As an extension of Women in Construction Week (WIC) – The Construction Careers Council has a mission to celebrate, educate and promote the roles of women in construction. The Council set out to highlight the women who currently work within West Michigan’s industry through our “Women Who Build West Michigan Series.” The goal is to inspire and educate specifically young women but also those interested in being a part of our next generation’s construction workforce.
I sat down with women across West Michigan to discuss their career path, the work they do, what they like or dislike about their role, what motivates them and much more. Our conversations were authentic and the women I interviewed have a wealth of stories and tips to becoming successful.
Our next conversation was with Stacey Czarnopis, a licensed real estate agent who works with Snowden Builders to ensure their clients’ needs are met with custom home building. Stacey was a joy to speak with and exudes positive energy. She grew up in the building industry and tried multiple career paths before finding her niche with home building real estate. Stacey gives great advice about how to use your strengths when looking for your best career path, enjoy!
Q: Mac Dodds
A: Stacy Czarnopis
Q: Hey Stacey welcome, tell me about yourself!
A: Thanks, my name is Stacey Czarnopis and I work for Snowden Builders, working in real estate sales and I am also a licensed realtor.
Q: Can you tell me more about your role?
A: As a licensed realtor, I help purchase a home, sell a home, purchase land and sell land, helping where I can with the real estate side.
Q: Very cool, how’d you get to where you are, and find yourself at Snowden Builders?
A: It goes back to high school. My stepdad is the owner of Snowden Builders and growing up I would be in the office, filling in here or there, and got into the work back when I was growing up. Then I went to cosmetology school after high school, did that for a while and then went into medical coding. With medical coding I was missing the face-to-face aspect of work, so I reached out to Bob (Snowden) and asked how I could help with his clients. And we decided on helping with the real estate side of things, so I set out to get my real estate license. From there, I started helping his clients that want custom buildings find land and help with the overall building process.
Q: Awesome, what drew you to real estate and working with custom build clients?
A: My husband and I went through Bob and Snowden Builders to build our custom home. Seeing that process from start to finish made me love that aspect of the business. I wanted to help others build their dream home, occupy that residence and have them see the end product. It was me building, seeing that process, and timeline and understanding that I could help Snowden clients as well.
Q: Would you say being a woman in the industry has any effect on your role with Snowden Builders?
A: Not at all, if you have the personality and drive you can be successful. As a woman, I have not been made to feel inferior in any of the work I do. It makes me feel more empowered. You have your own power when it comes to completing your tasks.
Q: That’s great, what are the pros and cons of working in the building industry?
A: One main point for me with real estate is I can pick my hours, and that is huge for a mom. I also like that every season is different. There will be ebbs and flows to the work, which helps you prepare and schedule your time more effectively. This can be a double-edged sword though, because when work calls, it may not always be at the most ideal time. If a client wants to meet on Friday night, because that’s when they are free, you must make a personal sacrifice to accommodate them. So, there’s some give and take.
Q: Someone interested in doing what you do, what are some ways to start and what should young people know about your role?
A: The benefit to real estate is you can do an online course. I was able to earn my license all online at my own pace which was great. Or you can do it in-person in a shorter time frame. It’s a 40-hour course, so you are there for a week. You complete all your training during that week and follow it with an exam. Earning that license is a great first step, but like any job you learn as you go, and that’s where on-the-job training becomes invaluable to your career. The training is great, but once you're in the field you actually understand the role.
Q: What would you say to someone, especially young women about the building or real estate industry that would be good for them to know?
A: Don’t be afraid to try something new. Your path doesn’t always have to begin at high school and then at college for four, six or even eight years. I attended some college to be a radiology tech, I did all my prerequisites but was placed on the waiting list for the program. I was then blessed to have a child and life happens so didn’t complete that, but it opened new doors. So don’t be afraid to change your path.
Q: That’s great, last question – anything you wish you knew when you were 16-18 years old?
A: Be open to new ideas. College is not a bad thing but don’t feel like you must take that route. If you are a person who likes to make their own hours, the real estate side of things is a great option. If you want to get into building, it’s a little more complex but also a terrific opportunity. If you are in high school right now, meet with builders, talk to them, see what type of roles that they that would be available to somebody coming out of high school.