In the News

Posted on January 18, 2024

This article was originally published by Jodi Schwan of SiouxFalls.Business

One is a space designed for the city’s newest businesses. Another is the home of one of Sioux Falls’ oldest family banks. And Hayley Robley has helped deliver improved offices for both in less than two years.

Robley joined Journey Construction, a division of Journey Group, as a project manager in 2022.

“It’s kind of a crazy story,” she said. “You hear about Journey and think they’re so big. Working with smaller companies previously, I felt like those were the kind of places where you feel like a family and they care about you.”

Her boyfriend, who also works in construction, encouraged her to consider applying at Journey.

“I still thought it was too big but finally said I would apply, and then in the interview, I just said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the place for me,’” Robley said. “I had interviewed with others, but they just didn’t feel right. And after the interview with Journey, it was signed, sealed and delivered — these were people I wanted to work with. I could tell right away.”

Robley’s path into project management uniquely prepared her for the role at Journey. After starting at USD, where she considered a degree in business, a family opportunity to work in construction drew her to Wyoming. At age 20, she took on an administrative support role for a general contractor that was building a $222 million power plant in 2013.

“That sparked an interest in the construction world, and I never left. It was seeing something start from nothing and become something so big that drew me to the industry. There’s a satisfaction in a finished project,” Robley said.

“So I worked my way up from an administrative assistant to a project manager.”

Along the way, she gained education in the project management field from Colorado Technical University and work experience everywhere from an industrial electric company in Denver to a small concrete company when she moved home to northwest Iowa, where she grew up. Working in a small office exposed her to everything from accounting to scheduling and managing residential construction projects, which cemented her enjoyment of project management.

She joined Journey Construction in the summer of 2022 and was assigned as the project manager for the Startup Sioux Falls headquarters in a historic downtown building.

“I had never done anything like that before,” she said. “I have a background in industrial construction and experience in residential and concrete, so this was completely out of my wheelhouse, but it was an awesome project, and I learned a lot.”

From there, it was on to The First National Bank in Sioux Falls, located just a few blocks south of Startup Sioux Falls, where phases of the bank had been under construction since 2019.

Robley was brought in for the final year, which included office renovations and common spaces, including the boardroom and gathering areas.

The First National Bank project was done by Journey Construction’s special projects team, led by Mark Lukonen.

“Hayley and our superintendent on that project, Denis Strizhius, were both fairly new in their roles. They partnered on it and turned over one of the highest-quality projects I have ever walked through,” Lukonen said.

“The punch list was basically zero. They had the attention to detail and knew the bank had invested a lot into it, and when they told the bank it was ready for inspection, it was truly ready. We had a hard time finding so much as a smudge of paint.”

Robley “was pretty new with Journey Construction when she started with us, and it was great working with her and seeing her develop,” said Kae Klinkenborg, facilities experience manager for First National Bank.

“She’s attentive, detail-oriented and great at follow-up. Journey Construction and the other subcontractors they used were very respectful to the people working here. Lots of people who weren’t even part of the construction project got to know them.”

Robley’s diverse background in the construction field helped position her for success, Lukonen added.

“She’s just done a great job leveraging every experience and strength she’s got to really seamlessly fit into our team and figure things out,” he said. “She’s hungry to do better all the time, up for the challenge and always open to opportunities.”

Robley now is working on a renovation at Avel eCare and just finished improvements at the USF Stadium, including a renovation of the hospitality suite and locker room.

“I’ve never felt more encouraged or empowered,” she said of her time at Journey Construction.

“Mark has been one of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Coming up as a woman in construction, I had to work harder to be recognized by people, especially to even become a project manager, but I never really noticed it until I came to Journey Construction because I’m treated like everyone else here. It’s the same way in the entire building, not just on my team.”

The environment is one that welcomes questions, she added.

“Everyone here, throughout the entire company, wants to help everyone else succeed.”

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