Knutson Construction CFO looks at more than the numbers

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Jennifer Green, the new chief financial officer at Knutson Construction, is helping to streamline business operations to support growth of the century-old, family owned company based in St. Louis Park. Green is using her two decades of accounting and finance experience in the construction industry to help shape Knutson’s strategy […]

Jennifer Green, the new chief financial officer at Knutson Construction, is helping to streamline business operations to support growth of the century-old, family owned company based in St. Louis Park.

Green is using her two decades of accounting and finance experience in the construction industry to help shape Knutson’s strategy and to expand the use of technology to improve the business.

“Knutson’s values of integrity, ownership and innovation are really important to me, and they’re things that I bring to the table,” Green said. “My integrity is really important to me, ownership of whatever I’m working on and the innovation piece, looking at how we can do things better. I consider myself a lifelong learner, someone who’s really focused on continuous improvement and that really aligns with the company.”

Also important to her, Green said, is Knutson’s commitment to a diverse workforce, diversity among subcontractors and suppliers and its creation of a Women’s Employee Resource Group to support women working in the male-dominated construction industry.

Green began her career in public accounting, which she pursued because of her interest in math and business.

After working with construction companies as clients, Green moved into the industry when she joined Illinois-based Pepper Construction in 1999. She worked in information strategy and technology services there before serving as chief financial officer. Green also has been CFO at construction companies in Texas and Kentucky.

An Arkansas native, Green has an accounting degree from Arkansas State University and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.

In addition to its St. Louis Park headquarters, Knutson Construction has offices in Rochester, Mankato, along with Iowa City and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The company has 350 employees.

Q: How do you view your role as CFO?

A: I’ve always been interested in being more than the accountant and to be involved in the business and the strategy side. It really brings together the business. Even though we build buildings, we’re really in the people business. It’s very fulfilling to work with people, to develop and mentor people and you’re able to do that when you understand the business as a whole and work across the business.

Q: Why is Knutson Construction a good choice as a general contractor?

A: Knutson lives their values. I’ve experienced it from the time of my interview through my onboarding process and a couple of months here. It just flows through everything they do, not only for an employee but for a client. The tagline or saying of “fulfilling the dreams of every employee, client and partner” really is a focus of everyone here at Knutson.

Q: Why have you focused your career in the construction industry?

A: When I was in public accounting, I had my first experience of working with construction clients. Then I saw firsthand in my first position with Pepper Construction as a project accountant how important it was to understand the different facets of building a project from the design team, to the owner’s team, to the general contractor, to the subcontractors. It just was a lot about the people and the people, I saw, helped to make everything happen. Yes, there’s a technical skill side to it. But a lot of it was about people. That’s really been part of my passion and part of why I like the business as a whole and why I like using technology to help with that because that’s how it all comes together.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is [email protected]

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