“When I think back to my early career, it feels like I’ve come 180 degrees – from being ostracized in the industry to being recognized as a leader in the industry.”
These words represent the past 40 years of Jennifer Pinck’s career and her two decades as a small business owner. As the founder of Pinck & Co., a Boston-based firm providing planning, design, and construction management services, Pinck has overcome adversity to lead Pinck & Co. to a soaring 94.59% growth rate and 2016 revenues of $5.15 million. This success has also placed Pinck & Co. on the Inner City 100 List six times since 2011, demonstrating Ms. Pinck’s vision and leadership that has resulted in such impressive and sustained growth. . With the 2018 Inner City 100 Conference and Awards taking place in Boston this October, ICIC spoke with Pinck about her start in the industry, how being on the IC100 list six times has affected her strategy, and where she sees Pinck & Co. in the future.
Being a female entrepreneur in construction management is not an easy path, and Pinck experienced frequent discrimination at the beginning of her career in the industry. “I started out in the building trades in the 1970s – a time when my co-workers wanted nothing to do with a woman trying to break into construction,” she said. But with persistence, she worked her way up to construction superintendent, eventually working in management positions for the Boston Harbor Cleanup and the Big Dig. The latter two experiences helped break down some barriers for Pinck, but she wasn’t free of them yet. “After starting my firm, I encountered general contractors and architects who were suspicious and doubtful about the value of my participation, but I knew a lot of people, [and] continued to network and build relationships in the community.”
Working in Greater Boston during the current construction boom has proven valuable for her business: “the region’s landscape is rapidly changing and it’s exciting to think about being a part of those changes. We have easy access to our clients, downtown and in the neighborhoods, and to major industry and cultural events.” She went on to add that Boston is a great central location for working with clients in and around the city. Boston Business Journal recently recognized her success, something Pinck called “a total surprise and a great honor.” She’s also quick to give credit to her team, saying that the award is “recognition of our cohesiveness, hard work, and our dedication to our clients.” Pinck was both succinct and forceful: “I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my team.” It’s this leadership that has helped Pinck expand her company enough to be on the IC100 list as early as 2011, calling it an “honor to have made it to the list six times, as well as an honor to meet the other recipients each year and learn about their stories [and] their successes.” Given this multi-year period of major growth for the company, Pinck has adjusted her strategy to expand her team, take stock of the company’s direction, and diversify the company’s client portfolio. Pinck & Co. now operates offices in Boston, Springfield, MA and Glastonbury, CT, with an expanded team, including new project managers and development consulting teams assisting clients in obtaining funding.
Despite the pushback she has experienced, Jennifer has gained great success as a result of her unorthodox approach, saying that she would tell her younger self to “get a degree in engineering and have more confidence,” and that everything she has done has been “incredibly non-traditional, pursued in a non-traditional way.” It’s this confidence and Pinck’s ability to strategize that has kept Pinck & Co. on the IC100 list for five years running, and her continued adaptation to the market that will keep them successful in the years to come. When asked where she sees Pinck & Co. in 20 years, Jennifer explains that she hopes the company will “continue to be an industry leader, comprised of a larger staff with the same high caliber of talent.” She’d like to keep expanding, while remaining close to the community that supports her, having a desire to be “more involved in professional mentoring, community work, and charitable organizations.” Jennifer Pinck is truly emblematic of the entrepreneur’s spirit, creating something out of nothing and always thinking of how to improve both her company and the place she lives and works.
To learn more about the incredible work our Inner City 100 alumni do, visit the IC100 website.