Get to Know McKinley: Meet Steven Asher

Steven Asher, Project Superintendent at McKinley

Steven Asher has assumed additional responsibilities to enhance project management and support functions.  He will serve as a crucial link between office and field staff, ensuring effective communication and collaboration. Steven will provide oversight on project schedules, prioritize safety input, monitor contractor allocation, and maintain quality assurance across projects.  Additionally, he will streamline processes for improved efficiency, emphasizing his pivotal role in promoting project success, safety, and quality standards.


1. Can you briefly introduce yourself and describe your role within the company?

My name is Steven Asher, I am 42 years old, and I have been in this business for 20 years. I was hired by McKinley Building in May 2015 as a Project Superintendent. Here recently I have been allowed to expand my role.

In addition to overseeing my projects, I am tasked with visiting all job sites and engaging with the Project Superintendents about their projects. This role also helps facilitate a better line of communication between the Project Superintendents and Project Managers.


2. What initially attracted you to this company, and how has your journey been over the last 25 years?

My journey over the last 20 years has been a blessing. After graduating from East Carolina University, I moved to Wilmington to follow my brother. I was hired by a small local GC that ended up closing their doors. Another door opened and went to work with Lee F Cowper Inc. Everyone at LFC was top notch and I keep in touch with most of them to this day. After LFC I went to Thomas for a few years. All my work was out of town, and I ended up getting burned out and realized it was time to make a change. Then I got the opportunity to go to McKinley Building in 2015 and made it my home.

My favorite part about McKinley Building is all their work is local and everyone including myself can go home to their families every night. I’ve had opportunities to go elsewhere but when you find a company where you feel like family, it’s hard to beat.


3. Could you share a significant accomplishment or project you’re particularly proud of and explain its impact on the organization?

Sawmill Point Apartments, downtown riverfront, is a significant project that stands out to me and McKinley. This project consisted of 270 units, deep foundations, wood framed, parking deck podium slab, etc. I was selected to start this project and get it out of the ground, then I was going to another job. That didn’t happen, I was on the job for the duration. I know that myself, McKinley Building, and especially the city of Wilmington are proud of this job because more apartment complexes continue to be built downtown.


4. What have been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned during your time here?

I think the most valuable lesson that I have learned is that sometimes you have to slow down and breathe because most jobs are on a tight schedule and when people try to rush, mistakes are made, and quality is nonexistent. The job can be very stressful at times but if you create a schedule and hold subs responsible for meeting the milestones then most of the time the job will click like a clock. There are always unforeseen obstacles, but you must learn how to maneuver around them and keep making progress.


5. Are there any mentors or colleagues who have had a significant influence on your professional growth? How have they supported you?

There are a few people that ring a bell who have influenced my professional growth but I’m going to name Arthur Boone. He was the lead Superintendent at the Engineering Building at North Campus and hired me right out of college. I was green as grass but proved to Arthur that I was willing to learn and was going to be running my own jobs one day.

11 years later McKinley Building and LeChase did a joint venture on Sawmill Point Apartments. Arthur was their Superintendent and I was one of McKinley’s. We had reunited! We both worked great together, and he begged me to follow him to another project in Durham. I haven’t heard from him lately but I did learn a lot from him on managing job sites.


6. What advice would you give to new employees who are joining the company or aspiring to a similar role?

I try to tell the younger crowd to ask questions to subs. That’s how you learn. If you are asked a question and don’t know, make sure you do anything and everything possible to find the answer or make a logical decision, before asking someone else. Treat everyone on the job site fair and with respect. Scratch people’s backs and you will get yours scratched. You won’t make it far by hollering and screaming at subs. Study the plans as much as possible during the slow times. Take notes! You can’t remember everything.

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