When Susan Denk was in college, her parents demanded that she get a summer job. She began working for a construction company in San Antonio, Texas, 27 years ago and has not strayed from the profession since. Today Denk owns White Crane Construction, based in Minneapolis, which she started five years ago. White Crane is a design builder specializing in both residential and commercial remodeling.
White Crane Construction
4749 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Denk cares deeply about what she does and finds many aspects of her work fulfilling. “It’s very rewarding owning my own business, being able to work closely with both my colleagues and my customers, as well as being an integrated part of the community, both from a business and social perspective,” she said.
Though you might suspect it’s not easy being a woman in a male-dominated field like construction, Denk sees things differently. “It’s wonderful being a woman-owned business; I see that as an advantage rather than a challenge,” she said. Denk said many people are not aware of the number of women who work in construction, but she thinks women especially have what it takes to successfully manage a construction company. “There’s a good advantage for women because we are challenged to balance a lot of things in our lives, including family, community, work and children,” she said.
Though Denk has many years of experience under her tool belt, she said she still has many mentors. She is active in many organizations, including the Women’s Presidential Organization, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the College of St. Catherine. One of the most useful connections in terms of being mentored, she said, is serving on the board of the YWCA of Minneapolis. She described the mentoring from other board members as “huge.”
Denk finds inspiration being active in the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “That’s an opportunity to work with my colleagues and competitors, but in a very positive way,” she said. It is clear that Denk truly loves her work. “The construction business is an exciting business,” she said. “Every time we build a project, it gives me a real sense of satisfaction. “I love to see the quality product we produce … the beauty,” she said. “I find beauty in both the end product and the process.”
Along with building new kitchens and bathrooms, Denk builds relationships throughout the Twin Cities. “I believe in community and I believe that there are ways that we can contribute to our community, both locally and nationally,” Denk said. “It’s important to lead, both through our businesses and through our business lives.”
She thinks business owners have a unique ability to make an impact. “We have the opportunity to leverage our time for the community both as business owners and personally.
“I do believe that we create the world we live in.”