Alaant Celebrates Women’s History Month
with Andrea Crisafulli, Owner and President, Crisafulli Bros. Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc.
At Alaant, we strongly believe that equality, diversity and inclusivity are vital to a thriving workforce. In recognition of Women’s History Month and the key roles women play in the workplace, we are shining a spotlight on women business leaders from across our region. These women have made a positive impact through success in their careers and service to their communities. Their stories offer important insights and perspectives to inspire and motivate others.
This week’s spotlight: Andrea Crisafulli, Owner and President, Crisafulli Bros. Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc.
With the observance of Women’s History Month in March, which includes the recent celebration of International Women’s Day, I took some time to think about the road that led me to where I am today. I own and lead our 80-year-old family business, Crisafulli Bros. Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc., which is one of the largest mechanical contracting companies in the Capital Region. I’m the sixth of seven children and can’t recall a time I didn’t want to be next to my Dad, or had my Mom tell me something was unobtainable – a recollection shared by my 3 sisters.
From the beginning, I always wanted to be a part of the business. I vividly remember visiting my Dad at work and begging to stay with him, as well as days when he would drive me to school with the smell of blueprints coming from his back seat. Fast forward to just before college graduation, when I approached my Dad and shared my dream of joining the business. I was devastated when the response I received was, “‘No. Construction is no place for a woman.” True story.
Thankfully, within a year’s time, the landscape at work shifted and my Dad and brothers decided that a trusted family member was needed in the accounting department. There were many transitions between then and now, and each of them involved women in my life supporting me and giving me the confidence to move through whatever obstacle stood in front of me.
At one point, my eldest brother who was running the business left the company, and I took over. I was where I’d always wanted to be, though 10 years sooner than planned and with three children under the age of 8. I was scared to death. I knew I could not be the demise of the family business; failure was not an option.
I convinced everyone, including myself, I had it under control and formed a “board of directors” to help me manage. My board consisted of two girlfriends who had never run a business; we met weekly at Westgate Diner to help create my strategic plan. We knew I needed to stabilize my predominantly male staff and secure relationships with our bank and bonding company, subcontractors and suppliers, and the architects and engineers we worked with. I learned to ask for help, which women often resist, and received assistance from a loyal network of business and construction professionals.
The continuing support I’ve received extends to the next most important group of women in my life: my Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO) family, a local community of women that continually help one another and have made me more courageous than I could have ever imagined.
I am a woman operating a successful business in a male-dominated industry, and I would not be where I am today without the women in my life who helped me navigate the many the forks in the road.
More on Andrea:
Andrea Crisafulli is the Owner and President of Crisafulli Bros. Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc. a NYS Certified WBE, located in Albany, New York. Founded in 1939, Crisafulli Bros. continues to be family owned and operated, with revenues in excess of $30 million-dollars and is one of the largest mechanical contractors in the Capital Region. They have been voted Best Plumbing Company in the Albany Times Union Readers Poll each year since 2007 and named a Top Workplace each year since 2018.
Crisafulli Bros. core business philosophy is to do right by their staff, customers and the community they serve; she attributes her company’s success to the team of almost 200 employees who represent Crisafulli Bros. in the community every day.
Beyond the significant demands of her business, Andrea has generously contributed her time and talents to numerous community organizations and activities. She balances her commitment to Crisafulli Bros. and the community to allow for quality family time; and enjoys spending time outdoors & traveling.
Michelle Conn, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager
Michelle is passionate about women succeeding in the workplace. She loves baseball, running and baking. She’s a dedicated non-profit board-member and volunteer. She calls the beach her happy place and is the mother of 3 boys.