About the Author
Our MarkSystems User of the Month is Emily Holler, Operations Manager with Mungo Construction located in Irmo, South Carolina. In this interview, Emily discusses the challenges in her role, how the industry is changing, and shares advice for those coming into the home building industry.
Tell us a bit about your role and your company?
I’m the Operations Manager for Mungo Construction, located in Irma, South Carolina. We built 60 homes last year and have more than that planned for the upcoming year. We serve the needs of third-party developers by providing design-build and construction management services for residential construction, with an emphasis on urban revitalization projects.
What has your career path to becoming an Operations Manager looked like?
I’ve been in the role of Operations Manager since July of 2019, but I have been working in home construction for over two years.
I graduated from College of Charleston in Business Management which provided me with a broad skillset so I could take on different roles. In one of my jobs prior to Mungo, I worked for a consortium management firm that audited, reviewed, and managed sub-contracts and prime contracts for the Department of Defense.
So, I kind of fell into it. When I saw the job description, it pulled me in! Since a lot of what Mungo Construction does is affordable housing, they are also working with government funds so there are some similarities. I love it!
How do you see your role evolving over the next few years?
Right now, we're ramping up all our databases and getting all our vendors into place. With the expectations that the technology will lead to more automation and create efficiencies around processes, I feel that I can allow myself to get out into the field more and be involved with people rather than being in the office all the time; more involved with the community, and engaging and promoting our business more in person. Let the system do the busy work!
What's the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging aspect of the job is we have so many different clients that we work with and every one of them is completely different. They all have completely different needs and requests.
Every day, you're teaching yourself something new. But with those challenges, there is growth and improvement, so I can't complain because the sky's the limit!
What do you do to overcome that challenge?
Take it one project at a time; I keep an internal training document for myself, so every time we come across something new, I write down the process and how I did it, and what I did then. Sometimes you do go over the same things repeatedly, so by creating a manual it gives me an easy way to reference how we handled similar situations.
How have you seen the home building industry change in the last few years?
On the affordable housing side, they are leaning more toward sustainability and green buildings, which drives costs up a little bit.
On the private side of the business, I feel like I'm seeing a lot more customization. Customers are seeing more options online, ways to do things and then they want it, too. There are so many nice things online!
How long have you been using MarkSystems?
We’ve been using MarkSystems for over six months, since we put our first home in August of 2019. And I'm in it a lot! I’m in all aspects of the system—sales, house documents, work orders, vendors.
Given the nature of our business and not being a typical home building business, we have found MarkSystems to be flexible—it lets us work with features of the system in different ways. Once we put our home data into the system, after the initial training and implementation, we started asking more questions because we were directly working with our data. But post-implementation support has been great.
What’s the one MarkSystems’ feature that you can’t live without or helps you be more productive/efficient?
I like the built-in reports and there are lots of them! The reports make it easy to drill down into them, and if you still need to do further analysis, you can just export to Excel and do it there.
I also like the Excel import feature—it helps me tremendously, especially if I have to enter a lot of data at one time. It makes it so much easier.
Do you have any specific successes you'd like to highlight?
I think I’m most proud of how we manage this business as a team. We have great leadership and do such a great job of working together. I think that helps us manage a lot of projects despite being a small team.
What is the best career advice you have received?
“Everything can be figured out.” With the business we’re in, where everything seems to be different and every client is different, it’s kind of shocking when you feel like you don't know how to do something. But then you think, I've been able to figure out everything up to this point, surely I can figure this out as well.
Another piece of advice is be kind to everybody. I feel like that has gotten me a lot further with everybody that we work with. It’s so important taking this approach—we deal with so many different people in this industry that you just have to be kind to everybody.
Do you have any tips or advice for those entering the home building industry?
My advice for those entering the home building industry—take it one step at a time and think everything through.
Also, be open minded, listen to everybody else's side of things, and figure out solutions together. In this industry, communication is important, and documentation of that communication is also key!
Favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love redoing my house, whether it’s painting, new furniture, or new design! Being in the industry and seeing all the home options makes it all so tempting!
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About the Author