She’s been with Danella for decades and is still acquiring new skills. We talked with Rae DeAntonio about what’s kept her at Danella, her responsibilities as Assistant Project Manager, and the memory she likes to share.
Rae, is it true that you recently hit a big employment milestone?
I did! Last November marked thirty years since I started at Danella. I was hired in 1988 by an employment agency that thought I’d be a good fit. I basically moved in and never left! (laughs)
What has kept you here for 30 years?
Above all, the fact that [owner] Jim Danella is family-oriented and takes care of his employees.
There’s a story I like to share: Years back, when my then-fiancé, who was also a Danella employee, was diagnosed with lung cancer, Jim was there to support us in many ways throughout his treatment. It touched me in a way I’ll never forget, and that I’ll never stop thanking him for.
I also appreciate the people I work with, many of whom have also been here for years. The woman who hired me thirty years ago – she’s still here! A lot of the staff feels like family and Jim is someone you can talk to and be real with.
Has your role evolved since you started?
Absolutely. I started as a Billing Clerk with Danella Construction of Pennsylvania. That title was later changed to Job Costs & Billing Assistant.
In 1992 I moved within the company to the Danella Line Services division, as it was growing and needed help. I handled billing there, mostly accounts payable and receivable. After a few years I came back here [to the Pennsylvania office], and two years ago I was promoted to Assistant Project Manager.
Did you have any construction experience prior to joining Danella?
Definitely not! Danella is only the third job I’ve ever had, after a job at Gino’s – a fast food chain – and then a Marriott, where I did accounting work.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know the construction industry, picking up terminology, and asking questions. Even at 56, I’m still learning.
How do you spend your days as an Assistant Project Manager?
I support the Pennsylvania office’s Senior Project Manager and Project Manager in a number of ways: by confirming time sheets and passing them through to payroll, checking them against purchase orders, and handling billing as well as profit and loss statements, among other duties.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Danella encourages us to speak up about skills we’d like to learn. Currently, I’m interested in learning more about profit and loss statements. For about a year now, my coworkers have been taking time to sit with me and explain the larger strategy and thinking.
What might people be surprised to learn about the construction industry?
People sometimes seem surprised that our [Pennsylvania] office building is just absolutely beautiful! It doesn’t look like a building that a construction company might be in. It’s a 2-story brick building with marble on the inside, designed and built by Jim Danella about fifteen years ago.
People are sometimes surprised, too, by the fact that I look forward to coming to work. My coworkers and I really get along.
How do you spend your free time outside of work?
I have three dogs – so they take up most of it!