In this week’s “Meet the Team,” we feature Maryann Toddings, our Resource Specialist who has semi-retired after nearly a decade of working for our Accounting Department. Maryann is a true mentor and has strengthened our team in many ways. We are privileged that she has continued to provide her guidance and support to our Aitken Family.
How long have you been in the construction industry? I began in the industrial construction industry many years ago, then left to work in the business world until I retired in 2007. Because my husband was not yet retired, I wanted to remain in the work force, but stay closer to home – that’s when I arrived at our company. I’ve been in the construction industry more than 11 years.
What do you like most about working at Richard Aitken Builders? The many wonderful and talented people I’ve met over the years here is what I like most. Next is the ability to perform so many different functions that I enjoy doing.
How long have you been with Richard Aitken Builders? I’ve been with A. Richard Aitken, Jr., Builder – Contractor LLC nine years, going on 10. My original plan was to work only about three more years – my, how that changed!
How does working at a “family comes first” company like Richard Aitken Builders for so many years impact you personally? It matches my personality and philosophy perfectly. I firmly believe in family first, as does Rick and the key people I’ve met in this organization. I would hope the ‘family” influence has rubbed off both ways.
What do you like most about working on Long Beach Island? Being near the ocean and its soothing rhythmic waves crashing on the beach is the most serene atmosphere for me. I’ve loved visiting the beach since I was a child. Being able to work next to this natural wonder and visiting it at lunchtime is fantastic. I also love the diversity from Victorian to Modern home building styles that can be seen throughout the 18-mile stretch of LBI.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Designing and making Santa Claus figures, sewing, cooking, baking, sports, and being anywhere near my family. My husband and I have three sons and daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren who keep us moving constantly.
Describe how the company has changed since you first started. The number of employees has grown significantly. There was a tremendous surge in our growth immediately following Hurricane Sandy because Rick could not say “No” to anyone who asked for his help after that local tragedy. That growth continues to this day.
I know you are enjoying semi-retirement. How has working at Richard Aitken Builders helped you to do that? When I wanted to retire a few years ago, Rick said “No” – we would have to find a way for me to remain with this company. I told him that as long as he and Christine felt I could offer a meaningful contribution to this company, I would continue to do my best to provide that contribution. We were able to reduce my workdays to three, move from the Accounting Department functions to Resource Specialist, and allow me to work mostly from my home office, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Now, if that isn’t working things out like a “family,” I don’t know what is.
How do you balance your work at home and office life and keep connected with each? Modern technology helps provide the balance. My hours are flexible within reason; therefore, I am able to attend special functions with my grandchildren, participate in family events, help my siblings care for my 92-year-old father, and so on. Being able to do these things is most important to me and makes me happy about my home life. With the combination of our company keeping in step with modern technology and my small home office, I am able to work at my convenience. If I’m working on a special project that requires extra time, I can work those hours earlier in the morning, later in the evening, or on a weekend, as personal commitments allow. As long as my husband, my family, Rick, Christine, and I are all happy, I believe I’m enjoying the perfect balance.
In your opinion, how has our team raised the standard for the building industry in our area? Rick’s commitment to fulfill his clients’ dreams while building and maintaining trust and a long-lasting relationship with them is the first thing that comes to mind. He accomplishes this by providing the best in quality workmanship and material, and does not believe in the phrase, “we can’t do that.” Whenever a new challenge presents itself, Rick and his crew find a way to meet the challenge. I have been amazed several times over the years how he and his staff keep working at ways to accomplish methods that have not been done before so that they can withstand the unrelenting challenges of our barrier island location. It is because of this commitment that I have not hesitated to recommend our company to friends, family, and acquaintances when they need help with their home projects. I am proud to be considered a member of “The Aitken Team.”