By Evan Henerson
Last-minute changes? Supply-chain uncertainty? A $28 million hospital project moving into the home stretch?
None of these factors phases foreman Alice Zegers.
“We’re getting into the peak of the job,” Zegers said during an interview on the third floor of the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center (PCSTMC).
“This is the time when I work better under pressure. This is the time to shine.”
Zegers, who will celebrate 25 years with Rosendin in 2022, has a lengthy history with the hospital. She helped with designs in the company’s detailing department in 2017 before taking some time off and then spending the following five years as general foreman for Rosendin’s work on Ventura County Medical Center. Zegers returned to the PCSTMC site as a foreman in April.
This kind of work is in the Zegers family DNA. Alice’s father, Mike Zegers, was a contractor and lineman who later ran his own business, often with Alice coming along and, eventually, working for him. When it came time to consider college, Mike recommended his daughter join the apprenticeship program. In her first year, Alice Zegers signed on as a pre-apprentice. The following year, she was picked #1.
From those early years up to the present, the construction life has suited Zegers.
“I like being outdoors, not being in an office,” she said.
“I like being able to move around and interact with different people and being challenged all the time.”
“I tell my guys, ‘We are a can-do-it company.’ When they say, ‘I can’t,’ I say, ‘Come on, let’s figure out an alternative.’”
That attitude has served her well on the Tarzana site. Hospital additions and upgrades come with lots of changes and reconfigurations, including sometimes going in and ripping out something that was just installed. Working during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant dealing with uncertainty in material availability and supply chain scheduling.
“As far as the pandemic, that has caused us to reconfigure things and be creative, convincing the client that there are alternatives and getting them to accept them,” Zegers said. “At this level of construction, everything is specs, and you can’t deviate from the specs. So, it’s a big deal when you find out you can’t get the brands you need because they’re stuck out on a boat somewhere.”
Zegers runs a crew of 11, including five apprentices and six journeymen. Working with a union crew means individuals taking pride in their work and delivering quality craftsmanship, she said.
“I’ve been doing this for a while, and I try to take the lessons I’ve learned from the past — whether it be teaching an apprentice or showing the guys how to get the job done, keeping them happy, and keeping Rosendin happy,” said Zegers. “I like to show that kindness doesn’t kill.”