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image Oralia Meneses, President/Owner, Surveying Equipment Specialists Instruments and Field Supplies,

HOUSTON - Oralia Meneses really had no intention of getting into the surveying and construction instrument and field supply business. She certainly never thought she would become the president of Surveying Equipment Specialists Instruments and Field Supplies. But life, and health, can take some unusual turns. Fortunately, her husband Rudy Meneses, while not a doctor, knew that a construction career would be the cure for what ailed her.



Share about your background and introduction to the construction industry.
     I grew up in Houston and lived all of my life in Spring Branch. I actually started working in the medical industry right out of high school and I worked for a doctor at the Memorial Health System for 27 years.
My husband, Rudy Meneses, was working in the surveying and construction instruments and field supplies industry and he kept telling me that I needed to come and work with him. I was still working in the medical industry, but some medical issues came up where I had to leave my job. I stayed at home for a while and started helping him. Slowly, I started learning the construction lingo and finally I had the chance to start coming in here and helping him around the company. That’s when I started getting more involved and decided that I would work in this industry. We decided to make this our job.
    The company has been here for more than 20 years but I have come into the company within the past six months. We provide surveying and construction instruments and field supplies as well as services and training like Robotic Total Stations, scanners, GPS, PC software, data collection, laser levels, and accessories for the surveying and construction industries.

What were your initial feelings about transitioning to construction?

     I was very nervous about it at first because I wasn’t sure what to expect. To me, it was something totally different than I was used to; I had always been working in the medical field. It was hard for me to translate what I used then into this job, but it’s worked out really well. I have a lot of management experience that I can bring into this company. I’m working myself into this company, but it was hard at first, I have to admit.

What skills have you carried over from your work to the construction industry?
     I’ve brought along my attention to the details. I’m coming in here and getting everything organized, which is something that I always did at my previous jobs. I’m dealing with different people; this is totally different for me because it’s more of a male-based industry, where before I was used to working mainly with women. It’s a big change for me, but I really like it.

What has surprised you about working in construction?

    As I have I have met the new customers coming into the office and have introduced myself as the owner, I have been surprised at how accepting people are of our woman-based company and of our minorities who work here. That’s a good thing.

What are your plans as the company’s new president?

    We want to introduce the company and our products that we represent to the industry as a woman- and minority-owned business. We want to promote women to the surveying and construction industry. A lot of women that do work in surveying don’t really get noticed because it’s mainly a man-owned industry.
    We really want to expand here. We want to have more opportunities for women, and more training for the surveying and construction industries, not just for women but also for men.

Who has mentored you on this journey?
    My husband. He’s my mentor for everything here. If it were not for him, we would not be where we are today. At first, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work; I had never worked with my husband before. We’ve learned to separate things already; when I was working in another field, I learned not to bring things home. There is a place for work and a place for home, and we try to leave work here and not take it home.
    He’s really been my inspiration for all of this, telling me that we can do this. He’s with me for every little step that we take, praising me. He’s a cheerleader for everybody in the company, and we definitely need somebody like that.

What kind of company leader do you hope to be?
    I want to be someone they can look up to and say, “Yes, she did it, even though she came in here not knowing much.” Hopefully, we can bring this company up, knowing where we’re coming from.

Share a little about your employees and the way that you bond with them.
    Right now, there are six of us. We love our employees that work with us; they’re great. They’ve stuck with us through everything that our company has gone through, even with our last owner that we had. We’re very happy that we have a good group of people.
    We have activities that we do sometimes. We try to do a lot of things, and now that I have come in. I plan on doing more things, such as celebrating Christmas and the holidays.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

    I normally go on a vacation with my family once a year. We already did this year, but unfortunately my husband was not able to go because he was working. Right now, it’s been really rough trying to keep this going and open up the doors and introduce us to everybody.
    Normally, we just get together with family on the weekends, go to the park and have a barbecue. We are animal lovers and advocates for animal rescues; we have dogs at home and we care for any animals that my husband finds and brings home. He also brings his dog, Max, to the office every once in a while because Max likes to come to the office.

Do you miss the free time you had before your new role at this company?

    I am missing the free time! I’m normally a homebody – both of us are – and I enjoy just being at home with my dogs and having the time off. I know, though, that at the end of the day, it will eventually pay off and we’ll have more time with our dogs and family later.

Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that you would be in the construction industry?

    No, never! My husband and I have always talked about it and I did think about it, but I never thought it would happen for some reason. Finally, it’s here. I’m a little overwhelmed with everything – it is totally different for me as far as the construction lingo, but I’ll get there.
What do you think will make you successful in this industry?
    I think having quality customer service, providing our customers with the best service and support, following up with them after sales and having open communication with our customers will help us. It has helped us before. I think if we stick to that, we can definitely come out ahead.
    Supplier Surveying Equipment Specialist Instrument and Field Supply is located in Houston. – mjm

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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net