Rhonda Tiger celebrates 20 years at Essex
Posted: Mon, Sep 30 2019 12:00 am
Before joining Essex, the longest I’d worked at another business was five or six years. That was because I moved around a lot, living in LA & Orange County in California, Denver and Portland after growing up and graduating high school here in Eugene. When I was in college, I became interested in going to Israel. I went just after I graduated and studied Hebrew for a year on a kibbutz. I fell in love with the country and its people and when I returned home to the United States, I converted to Judaism so I could emigrate to Israel. I met my first husband there. He had also emigrated from the United States. Together we had twin boys and were all dual citizens of Israel and the US, planning on living there forever. Unfortunately, my husband passed away at a young age after we’d been living there for 9 years, so I brought my two six-year-old boys back to Oregon where my family could help me raise them. Fortunately, I met my current husband, Kerry, after returning to Oregon. We “clicked” after discovering we’d each lived overseas. He spent junior high and high school on an air force base in Madrid, Spain.
After working other jobs here in Eugene, including one at another construction company, I was recruited by my long-time friend, Connie Rolfe, to join Essex. At the time Connie was the consulting accountant for Essex, not yet an employee, much less partner. I’ve been here since our “fleet” consisted of 4 vehicles and about 5 people had “push to talk” Nextel phones. No one had laptops, just desktops in the office. We had one estimator, two people in Admin, and Connie came in to bill the owners and close the books each month. Besides Jon Texter, who started the company back in 1987, there are only two employees who’ve been here longer than I.
Now 20 years later, my boys are all grown up, I’m a grandmother and I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary here at Essex! I’ve had several different job titles over the years. Pretty much the only thing I haven’t done is construct the buildings. My responsibilities over the years have primarily focused on accounting and administration. I’m a numbers person, detail-oriented and committed to doing things accurately. These skills have served me well. Now I’m the office manager, and I keep the office running smoothly, with a lot of help from the wonderful people I work with, though I run a tight ship (they call me The Rhondinator). It feels like I’ve come full circle. When I was sixteen, I worked in an office, did the filing and other organizational tasks. I’m back at it now and happy about it. My organizational skills help keep Essex running smoothly. And having done virtually everything, I serve as backup when people are out and I’m helping get the SOP’s in shape. I feel like I’m helping prepare the next generations to take over and be successful.
Side Note: I would encourage anyone who has kids trying to decide what to do with their lives, to get into construction. Go to a trade school. Explore all the options and don’t be married to the idea that you must go to college. It’s not for everyone. One of my twins has a masters and teaches fifth grade which is perfect for him. And the other went to welding school at LCC and has a career that he loves. (Yeah, they’re fraternal twins.) I’m happy that a couple of my boys’ childhood friends are working for Essex now: Tucker and Trevor.
As I look to the future, I have no immediate plans to retire. I enjoy the work I do and the people I work with. Construction is a great industry, and I’m very happy that I found Essex and my family here! Let’s continue to build stuff together!!