North Bay Business Journal asked 2019 Women in Business Awards winner Barbie Simpson to fill us in on her background, responsibilities and community involvement, and insights into what makes her a notable professional in the region.
Professional background: I have worked at Simpson Sheet Metal, Inc. since I was 16 years old. I started out filing and answering phones and learned every position here over the years. I took over as owner/president a few years ago.
Education: Associate of arts degree in accounting from Heald College Staff: I currently have 70 employees
Tell us about yourself and your company: Simpson Sheet Metal is a family-owned business that was founded in 1981. The business was started by my mom and dad, Bill and Nancy Simpson.
I took over as owner/president a few years ago. I started working here when I was 16. After graduating Heald College I began working full time.
Our business has grown over the last few years as a result of an amazing team of employees in the office and on the job sites. We currently have 70 employees and are in one of our best years since we opened our doors.
We look forward to continued growth and development of our team. It is always our intention as Simpson Sheet Metal to provide excellent customer service to our customers. We love what we do~
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
My biggest accomplishment in the last year was going through the process to become a certified woman-owned business and being granted the certifications by the WBENC and WBE.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
My biggest achievement that brings me great joy is creating a team of employees that work well together and who are like minded with the common goal of working hard and enjoying the process along the way. I believe this has allowed our business to thrive in the last few years.
What is your biggest challenge today?
One of our biggest challenges as a company right now is hiring qualified help during our period of growth.
Words that best describe you: If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a person who loves with her whole heart and who is grounded by the love of her family and friends. I am determined with a splash of strong mindedness and always try to come from integrity in all that I do.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
My biggest obstacle of being a female in a male-dominated industry came when I first took over my business as the president. I needed to step in and make some big changes at first and I felt a little push back. Once my team got used to me and how I do things everything fell into place. Rarely do I make large decisions without getting the perspective from my management team. We count on each other daily to make this business grow in a positive direction.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
My hope is that in the next five years more and more women will get involved and become leaders in the construction industry as a whole.