Women In Construction Week: Victoria Crumpler, Estimating

Victoria Crumpler

“Don’t be afraid to speak when you have an idea or understand something that no one else in the room seems to understand. Your ideas are good as everyone else’s.” –Victoria Crumpler, Director of Estimating

When Victoria took a receptionist job at Horne Brothers Construction fresh out of college, she never imagined it would lead her to a career in solar.

She is quick to acknowledge her mentor Tom Kosto for taking her under his wing and giving her opportunities to expand her skillset. “Tom [now Blue Ridge Power’s EVP of Pre-Construction] showed me the ropes and gave me more and more responsibility. I started pulling permits for haul trucks, and before long, I was helping Tom with estimating,” Victoria reflects.

After a few years of hands-on learning, Victoria became Estimating Manager when Blue Ridge Power was formed. Now, as Director of Estimating, she oversees a team of 11 estimators focusing on mechanical, civil and electrical work.

Estimating, a largely collaborative process, sets the stage for all BRP projects. When the Estimating team receives a request for proposal from a client, they start by consulting with the Engineering team to get a rough site layout. From there, Estimating uses market data and actual costs to price out the engineering, equipment and labor costs in an initial proposal. That kicks off a meeting with subject matter experts from Project Execution and Construction areas to calculate a resource-based estimate—an estimate that uses the project schedule to determine how much time a resource, such as a piece of equipment, will be needed.

The biggest challenge for estimators? “Site conditions tend to be the most significant variance from project to project,” Victoria explains. “A site’s terrain, soil composition and wetlands are just a few environmental characteristics that determine how we build a site and what it costs. As Tom would say, ‘Every project is a snowflake. No two are the same.’”

Some projects may not construct for two or three years, so strategizing construction methodologies and forecasting costs that far in the future can also be a challenge. Estimating leans on BRP’s Business Intelligence team for market data to make informed projections.

Victoria holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing—a world away from the formulas and calculations she’s immersed in now—but she uses her communication skills everyday as she works with teams across the company.

That unified effort is her favorite part of the job: “I’m very proud of my team and all they accomplish. Teamwork is absolutely at the core of making solar a success. I’ve learned that you don’t have to know everything. But you have to trust the folks who do.”