Women in Construction: Hooper Corporation

Hooper Corporation was founded in 1913 as a small mechanical contractor in Madison, and was originally named C.A. Hooper Corporation. Over the last 100-plus years, the company has expanded across the United States and specializes in the nine industries that they serve. Since the beginning, they have been a union business that values safety as their number one priority. Hooper Corporation has grown leaps and bounds over the years, but one thing will never change, they will always do their best to provide their customers with exceptional mechanical and electric power construction and service.

Madison Area Mechanical and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (MSC) and Madison Association of Plumbing Contractors (MAPC) are continuing Women in Construction Week, March 3-9, 2019, with a little insight into a couple of the women who work for Hooper Corporation.

Kala Jochem, Hooper Corporation

Kala Jochem has been with the company for almost three years and is currently in her second year as a plumbing apprentice. She chose a career in the construction industry to give her family a better life.

“I am a single mother, and I wanted to better myself, and make something of myself,” explained Jochem. “I wanted my daughter to grow up, and be able to look up to her mother. I want her to know that women are strong, and that we are capable of doing anything we put our minds to.”

Growing up in a union household, Communications Specialist, Hanna Jeske, understands the importance that unions hold and the construction industry in general.

“Working for one seemed like a natural transition after college,” Jeske said. “Starting my position at Hooper is thrilling, because I am able to put to practice skills that I developed while in school.”

Jaclyn Kelly, Corporate Accounting Manager at Hooper Corporation, started with the company six years ago and was drawn to working in construction.

“I was looking for a job that my skills and education would have an immediate and important impact on the day-to-day operations of the business,” shared Kelly.

All three of these women find their jobs at Hooper Corporation very rewarding. Jochem finds work fulfilling as, every day, she feels that she has accomplished something, whether it is completing a project or learning something new. Kelly is a problem solver and enjoys creating internal reports that show how the company and projects are performing. Jeske has found happiness in working on the Hooper Foundation and giving back to the Madison community.

Jochem is continuously learning on the job as she progresses through her five-year apprenticeship. She is like a sponge, absorbing as much information as she can every day.

“I work hard, and being an apprentice, I try to listen and learn as much as possible,” said Jochem. “The people I work with are wonderful, and I feel lucky to get to work with them every day.”

Jaclyn Kelly, Hooper Corporation

Kelly wants women in the construction industry to know that they can and should stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

“Women in the construction industry need to have confidence and know their worth,” expressed Kelly. “They shouldn’t be afraid to assert themselves and offer advice.”

Jochem is not afraid to show her value on a job site, but her small stature can be a challenge.

“Being a five-foot tall lady, I am underestimated,” explained Jochem. “Given my size, people think I am unable to do the job.”

These women are strong and confident in their abilities, and encourage their coworkers and fellow women in the construction industry to do the same.

“Construction can be a tough nut to crack,” said Jeske. “I think it takes a bold and brave woman to truly have her voice heard in construction. Having the courage and guts to back up what you believe goes a long way. Truly believing in yourself and not wavering from that view point is immensely helpful.”

Kelly shares, “It is a great industry to go into if you are ambitious, wanting to make a difference, and show your leadership skills.”

Being in the field and hands on with many plumbing projects, Jochem wants other women to know that they can do anything they set their mind to.

“My advice would be to just go for it,” said Jochem. “We are strong, and we can do anything. You have to work hard, and be completely dedicated.”