Meet Matthew, the Newest Straub to Join the Team!

Matthew StraubMy name’s Matthew. As the newest member of the Straub team, I thought I’d take a minute to introduce myself.

I joined in March as the marketing coordinator. But the truth is I’m no stranger to Straub Construction. My full name is Matthew Straub, as in son-of-Ernie-Straub.

Back in the early days, my siblings and I also got recruited to be the cleaning crew for my dad. I grew up coming here, treating the office as more of a playground as we cleaned on Saturday mornings.

Now I get the honor of coming here every day. It’s a fun change of pace, seeing familiar faces and Straub employees I’ve known my whole life—getting to call them co-workers.

My role in the company…

I’m getting to know this organization in a new way as I transition into my role as marketing coordinator. It’s really cool, going out to the jobsites and seeing the incredible work our guys are doing. One of the things I’ll get to do in my role is help highlight work on the jobsites. Which means that while I’m out on the sites, I’ve been taking quality photos with our drone, getting a bird’s eye view of each site.

I have a heart for connecting with people. It’s one of the reasons I majored in business management at Benedictine College. After graduating in 2013, I worked as a property manager in the Kansas City area. Managing offices for apartment complexes, I had the opportunity to hone my skills of problem solving, coordinating the needs of residents with the services we provided. I am excited for how these past experiences will help me continue to grow at this people-first organization.

When I’m not at work…

Starting my job at Straub has been a big change, but it’s one of many changes in my life right now. The happiest day of my life was in last October, when I married my best friend and love of my life, Kathleen. We just bought a house in Overland Park, and have been enjoying the process of making the house our own, with a few renovations and repainting. And probably the biggest news is that we’re expecting our first baby in August!


When I’m not at work, I love spending time with Kathleen. Whether it’s watching Netflix together (We’re on our second or third round of watching The Office), hanging out in our backyard (I love to grill almost as much as my dad!), or checking out some of the restaurants in Kansas City (I’m especially a fan of the ones with a wide selection of craft beer).


I also love playing soccer. I’ve been kicking around a soccer ball since I was five and even played in college for two years. My dad was my soccer coach early on. I was often the focus of his frustration during games. Yes, he yelled at me a few times when I was going the wrong direction, but he pushed me to get better and develop a strong work ethic. I just hope he doesn’t yell at me in the office!

What I love about being a part of this team…

Ever since graduation, my dad has hinted that there would be a place for me at Straub Construction. It had always been a possibility in the back of my mind, and when I was looking for a change in jobs, the timing seemed perfect to join at Straub. While I’m grateful for the experience and expertise I’ve gained through the other organizations I’ve worked with, the decision to work here has felt like a good fit from the first day.

There truly is a sense of collaboration and positivity at Straub. I recognize that isn’t always a given in the workplace. I’m excited for the ways I can contribute to the amazing team at Straub Construction as we continue to grow and add to the skyline of Kansas City.

Employee Spotlight: Angela Tunnell, Payroll Administrator and Compliance Coordinator

Angela TunnellAngela Tunnell has been with Straub for 11 years and currently serves in our accounting department.

Originally from Wichita, KS, she has known since junior high school that she wanted to work with numbers. She majored in accounting at Emporia State University.

Angela’s been married to Doug for 22 years. They have 3 children… Jonathan just started an electrical apprenticeship with Heritage Electric, Madison is a Senior at Olathe Northwest, heading to K-State next year and Jackson is a 4th grader at Cedar Creek Elementary.

When asked what she likes best about being a part of the Straub team Angela said; “I really enjoy my job as Payroll Administrator/ Compliance Coordinator. Everyone feels like family and I love helping them take full advantage of Straub’s great benefits.”

In her spare time, you might find Angela traveling with her family, watching kid’s activities or binge watching shows on Netflix. Her kids even got her hooked on Pokémon GO! Angela’s favorite movies are Top Gun, for the awesome soundtrack, and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because it just makes her smile.

Angela brings a positive, can-do attitude to her work and is always willing to help someone.  It’s great to have Angela on our team.

Employee Spotlight: Kip Gibler, Superintendent

Kip GiblerKip Gibler is one of our veteran superintendents at Straub Construction having recently completed his 13th year with us. Originally from Blue Springs, Missouri, Kip now calls Lee’s Summit home with his wife and three kids.

No stranger to large and complex projects, Kip is currently finishing up Liberty at Shoal Creek, a massive 277,000 square foot, 185 unit active senior living community in the Northland.

Kip is a graduate of Kansas State University and has always been interested in construction as a career. He says “I enjoy the process of building and being part of a company that wants to make a difference”.

One co-worker said of Kip, “I can’t stress enough his attention to detail, ability to see ahead, the working relationships he develops with subcontractors and just his flat out ability to get the job done.” Another said, “He’s a straight shooter, if you ask for his opinion, be ready for a thoughtful and truthful answer. He’s quiet but confident, in control and sees the big picture well. Team player.”

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching his kids play soccer and skiing. A little-known fact about Kip is that he could swim at 3 years of age! His favorite movie is Gladiator, because you “can’t go wrong with Russell Crowe.”

Kip’s favorite quote, “Just when I thought you couldn’t be any dumber, you go and do something to completely redeem yourself”. That’s from Dumb and Dumber by the way…

It’s great to have Kip on our team!

Employee Spotlight: Jason Riordan

Jason RiordanOne of the more multi-faceted jobs in construction is project management. Project management includes knowing what it is to be a superintendent, knowing how to estimate, and requires some accounting experience. Who better to take on the responsibility of being a project manager than Jason Riordan.

Jason graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics, Suma Cum Laude.  He came from Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Panera Bread where he oversaw the construction of 5 new stores, 13 tenant finishes and the addition of 4 remodels and drive-thrus. He had 12 years of construction experience.

Since Jason has been on board, his role of project manager has included the construction of a school, an athletics facility, a propane truck facility and his current project of a senior living facility.

Jason loves the fact that Straub provides the tools to be successful and persists in doing things the right way. Having the ability to take ownership of what he does allows him to feel free to be himself.

The family environment is very appealing to Jason especially now that he and his wife Shannon will be welcoming a son in September.

Some of us dream about going to Disney World or Disney Land just once, but being a kid at heart, Jason has been there ten times! I bet he can’t wait until his son is old enough to appreciate the Magical Kingdom. Jason is also a huge Royals fan along with baseball in general. You can tell when you walk into his office. He also loves going to the lake and working on his house.

Jason’s favorite quote which hangs in his office is “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

Employee Spotlight : James Mowdy

James MowdyJames Mowdy is our site superintendent on The Gardens of Northgate Village – Phase 4. This project is an independent senior living project being developed by the Rainen Companies at N. Oak Trafficway and NE 32nd St. in North Kansas City, Missouri.

James grew up in Durant, Oklahoma. His first job was building a parking garage in downtown Dallas. He was a union iron worker for 14 years and has been in construction for the past 29 years. Construction has always been his first choice as a profession.

Reflecting on what he appreciates about Straub Construction, James had this to say:

“Straub gives employees the tools to do their job so they can succeed. They leave no stone unturned and if you need help, all you have to do is ask for it. I haven’t met a Straub employee that wasn’t proud of his or her job. The best thing I like about Straub is they are always trying to improve and are not afraid to try something new.”

In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his family and church and also boating, camping and fishing. He has four children and four grandchildren. James appreciates movies like Tombstone and Unforgiven because they have “grit”.

His favorite quote is: “Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.”

It’s great to have James on our team!

Employee Spotlight : David Baalmann

David BaalmanDavid Baalmann has been with Straub Construction since December 2007 serving as a Superintendent. During this time, David has successfully completed schools, churches, a manufacturing facility, even a recreation center — eleven projects overall.

Never one to back away from challenges, he jumped off the high board at the pool and swam to the side at the age of 3! David was known for a long time that he wanted to be involved in construction, ever since he helped add on to his family home when he was growing up in Oakley, Kansas. He went on to complete his degree in Construction Science and Management from K-State in 2004.

David was nominated this spring for Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas City Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association. This follows a recognition last year by the ABC Heartland Chapter Award for Excellence in Construction for the Westmor Industries Expansion.

“I like to interact with the guys on the site, getting to see everything that can be done with a little teamwork. The Straub team is more of a family which is the best part about it.”

“I love to spend time with my friends and family. I also love to play golf, but with kids’ activities, my chances to play have gone down in the last couple of years.” David and his wife Julie have an eight year old daughter, and seven and five year old sons.

Recently David gave back to the Noble Prentis Elementary School participating in a career fair for 3rd to 5th graders. “Everyone had a lot of fun as we talked about different tools used on the job, safety, different types of projects, what classes are needed in the construction industry, and then let them do a little hands-on work of driving a nail or two into a board. They did great on it. Only two or three nails got bent over out of a hundred or so that were driven.”

David’s favorite quote: “It is what it is”.

One of Ernie’s Best Birthdays

Turning 60 is one of those birthdays that can cause you to do a lot of reflection and soul searching on your life, past and future. For me, the reality of the day gave me a chance to think about what a wonderful life I’ve had so far, but more importantly, how I want to spend what time I have left.

As luck would have it, my 60th birthday fell on the night of my daughter Rebekah’s first father/daughter/mother/son dance at Benedictine College. I knew it was going to be a blast as Rebekah is known to close down many dance floors and loves having fun with her friends at Benedictine College.

The whole afternoon and evening was really special.

We started with mass late in the afternoon. Then Rebekah made me a cup of coffee and we got to hang out in her room and review all of her decorating choices for 30 minutes.

Ernie's 60th BirthdayWe met up with some of Rebekah’s friends, Lindsey and Laura, and their Dad’s for dinner. It was a packed crowd. I got a great picture with Rebekah giving me a kiss on the cheek which I displayed proudly all night!

The dance got started with a quick video of the students doing an imitation of Dad or Mom’s “Go to” dance moves. Needless to say, young people have a different impression of what our “go to” moves are than we do.

We danced for hours and I cherished every song, watching the happiness and fun Rebekah was having. Holding Rebekah for the last dance to “Home” by Michael Bublé, topped the night.

The night had gone so fast and had made my 60th birthday so special. I left Atchison with the hope that I get many more years to enjoy family, friends and loved ones. Life is short. Make the best out of each day you have! I love you Rebekah!

Employee Spotlight – Maribeth Fischbach

Maribeth FischbachAs the Accounts Payable Lead, Maribeth Fischbach has had the distinct honor of paying the bills for Straub Construction since 2002. Her job requires some diplomacy because she is the “lady that pulls the purse strings.”

When we asked what her favorite thing about being a part of the Straub Team is, she said, “it just feels like family.  I can always count on the people that I work with to be there for me through really rough times and good times.”

Family is important to Maribeth.

“I’m the youngest of six with five older brothers. My husband, Bruce and I met in kindergarten and began dating just before my senior year in high school and we’ve been together ever since. It will be 32 years this year!  We have two children and two grandchildren.”

A global perspective.

Maribeth has had the pleasure to travel the world and meet a lot of different folks. That explains her natural ability to connect to others.  She is originally from Wisconsin, and truly enjoys the memories her travels have brought her.

“During our stay in Germany, my parents came over to visit and we were able to see 7 countries in a week and go to Octoberfest. My Dad served in WWII so we were able to drive around and visit some of the places where he was in the war.  Seeing his past was pretty special.  Plus, I’m lucky enough to be able to sometimes join my husband when he travels for work and we love going to St Augustine’s in Florida just to relax and soak up the history there.  Recently, we went to Sonoma Valley for our anniversary which was a very relaxing trip.”

Connection to others starts with Maribeth’s commitment to serving others.

“I’m very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  I was the Treasurer for the Department of Kansas Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary for 4 years, President for 3 years and I’ve held positions in District and State.  Currently, I’m Flag Bearer for State Auxiliary.  My husband was State Commander for the VFW in Kansas last year and now he’s on the committee for the Governor for Veteran Affairs.  I often attend the meetings to support him and other veterans and their families.”

Learn more about Maribeth and how she supports local veterans in this interview conducted by the VFW.

We’re proud to have Maribeth on our team!

Crunching Numbers in Style: Michael Knight

Michael KnightWith the coolest name in construction, Straub’s Vice President of Pre-Construction Services, Michael Knight, slays budgets in his sleep. (See what we did there with the Knight slaying a dragon reference?)

His love of construction started with his dad, who worked in heavy highway and sewer treatment plant construction.  Truth be told, estimating was not his first choice when it came to picking his poison.

“I started out in project management for Straub but the need presented itself as my more seasoned co-workers started looking at retirement. I’ll call it the youth movement but honestly I was already doing some estimating even as a project manager, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition.”  The rest as they say is history with Michael performing as a full time estimator for the past 12 years.

This year, Michael will celebrate 18 years with Straub having started with the company after graduating with a Construction Science and Management Degree from Kansas State University.

When asked to list his favorite thing about working for Straub, Michael replied, “They allow me the freedom to make decisions and they respect those decisions.”

When not working at Straub, Michael is all about family time – he enjoys the comfort of home being laid back and relaxing with his wife and two daughters.

“The work day can get really hectic and then there’s kids sports and activities so my wife and I really focus on having a good life work balance by taking it easy when we can. I do have a favorite hobby that I’d like to do more of and that’s working on vintage cars. I really enjoy fixing things.”

Michael is probably one of the most easy going people in the office, so we had to see if we couldn’t find an interesting story about him and he didn’t disappoint.

“I had one job on my wedding day besides showing up, and that was to bring the marriage license. I forgot to bring it! In my defense, I took great care to make sure the marriage license was safe and ready to go. I had packed it away in my suitcase for our honeymoon. My uncle saved the day by going to get it for me. Besides being a little late getting it signed, it all worked out!”

Back to his name, yes, he’s heard every reference to David Hasselhoff and Knight Rider that you can imagine, but he takes it all in stride. Let’s face it. With a name like Michael Knight, what else would you expect besides an epic amount of coolness?

Meet The Wizard of Straub: Michael Strick

Michael Strick - The Wizard of StraubHave you ever wondered how someone’s hobby becomes their passion? Or how a person can be highly proficient in two very distinct careers or job functions? This month’s spotlight shines bright on Michael Strick, a Senior Estimator who’s been with Straub Construction for the past 7 years.

Tito, as we like to call him, is not only an excellent Estimator great with numbers, but a virtual wizard at Information Technology (IT).

When asked how he got interested in computers and IT:

“The movies “The Net” and “Hackers”.  The way Sandra Bullock hacked into the ancient PC was mind blowing! And I’ve been hooked on figuring out the brain inside the PC ever since.”

Michael is our go to guy for all things computer – he recently helped us cutover to Office 365 and bring on a new IT support company. It’s as if he’s a natural born teacher, but when given this compliment he says he’s not that guy.

I’m absolutely not [a natural born teacher], I find it very hard to convey any piece of knowledge verbally to someone else.

You’d never know it by his helpful attitude and willingness to drop what he’s doing to take care of your needs, whether it’s your computer, your phone or just figuring something out – Tito just seems to be the “go to guy”.

With over 12 years in the construction industry, Tito says it’s the diversity that is his favorite part of his job.

Michael Strick - The Wizard of StraubI’m actually an estimator for Straub, which has its own diversification since we dabble in  a wide range of construction projects.  But throwing tech and IT into the mix takes it to a whole new level.  With estimating, it’s like a [complexity] factor of 256 but with Tech introduced it’s like 512 now! (If you aren’t a math guru, that means it’s 256 times harder!)

What I really like about working at Straub is the atmosphere and employee relationships.  We definitely seem to take it to the next level beyond being just “coworkers”.

Besides being a part time computer guru – Michael enjoys hobbies like soccer, rock climbing and coaching his kids soccer teams – he and his wife have two boys and a girl.

When asked what are his passions in life and the things that drive him the most, he thoughtfully adds:

My Christian Faith and Family.  In the end nothing else matters in this life.  My morals and faith drive me each day to become a better person, not only at work but also at home.  It’s by far not an easy thing to do, but it’s definitely worth it.

So we thank Tito for helping out when our computers crash, phone apps don’t download, or we just can’t seem to figure out why the thingamajig won’t work – we couldn’t do it without you – Our Great Wizard of Straub!