MANHATTAN (KSNT)– The New York Times reports less than 10 percent of electrical contracting businesses are owned by women. One businesswoman in the Little Apple is showing anything boys can do, so can girls.
Heineken Electric is a small, Manhattan-based business that has been behind some big projects, from jobs on the Kansas State University campus to the largest St. Pius X-built church in the world.
Company president Jenny Heineken and her team work on are all electrical. Electrical work wasn’t her first career choice. She actually wanted to work on teeth. But it was the electrical field that peaked and held her interest.
“I fell in love with this kind of work,” Heineken said. “And I like being in the office. I like being with the employees. So it just came naturally. Although I did get a degree in biology, my love for doing this kind of sucked me back into this.”
Heineken and her husband started the company in 1994 in Topeka. It’s now moved and expanded to offices in Manhattan, Beloit and Salina. Heineken Electric has an extensive list of commercial, industrial and service jobs it’s done. The company did work on the Berney Family Welcome Center at K-State. She said it was a tough one, but worth it.
“It’s got the beautiful purple light, which was a challenge to find the right purple,” she said. “And it had to be the right purple. We’re pretty proud of that project.”
Currently in the works is the lighting of the Immaculata Church in St. Marys.
The electrical field is male-dominated, but Heineken doesn’t see herself as a small fish in a big pond. In fact, she doesn’t think twice when people point out she’s a woman running the company. She just shows up for her and the team to bring the best lighting to their partners.
“I don’t think about myself in that way,” she said. “I just come to work, do my job and love what I do.”
Heineken might not see herself as an inspiration to girls and women who want to branch out to unexpected fields. But stories like hers can show we can all step outside of the box and make a difference anywhere.
“I always say, ‘where there is a way,'” Heineken said. “So make sure that you don’t give up on yourself, and there are resources. Just find that resource that can help you. Trying it is the first step.”
Heineken and her husband have two daughters. One went a different route from the electrical side of the family. However, her other daughter has found a love for the electrical business. Heineken said the same daughter will someday take over the family business.
If you have anyone you think is an Everything Woman, let us know here. 27 News features these stories once a month.