10 Questions for Jen Schaerer
Happy Women’s History Month! Northwest Pipe Company is proud to recognize the accomplishments of all the women who contribute their vital talents to our growing team. To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of the women leaders at NWP with interviews about their career experiences, inspirations, and achievements.
10 Questions for Jen Schaerer
With 18 years of experience at Northwest Pipe Company, you would think that Jen Schaerer has seen it all. But, working in Finance at a growing organization in an ever-evolving regulatory environment, each day presents a new and exciting challenge and an opportunity to learn. As vice president of Finance and Corporate Controller, Jen is responsible for preparing financial reports, both those provided internally to management and those provided externally to our shareholders. She also serves an essential role in supporting operations teams, providing them with the information they need to run successfully.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe?
My current job title is VP of Finance & Corporate Controller. I’ve been with NW Pipe for 18 years.
2. Describe the journey leading to your current position?
My initial exposure to NW Pipe was as a public accounting firm auditor, in the year that NW Pipe held its first public stock offering! Nine years later, I started working at NW Pipe for the then-CFO John Murakami to help with Sarbanes-Oxley, which was a new requirement for public companies. Since then, I’ve held a variety of roles in the Finance organization, most recently as Director of Financial Reporting, until I was offered the role of Controller.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Every single day I come to work is different from the day before – 18 years and I’m still learning, still being challenged. The Company, our industry, and our regulatory environment are always changing.
4. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
The daily interactions with my fellow NW Pipe employees are (almost) always a source of joy – the pandemic and working from home was a challenge for me because I didn’t get that exposure that I enjoy. On the flip side, during the pandemic I got a lot more exposure to my two teenage sons while we were all working/schooling from home – they, too, are (almost) always a source of joy to me. The memory of my 15-year-old son walking through the background of a Lifesize call in only his boxers will forever be something I get to hang over his head.
5. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?
Teamwork, without a doubt. The success of the Finance organization is reliant on the team we’ve built, and we’re so lucky to have a truly amazing group of people on our team.
6. Which current or historical female figure do you admire most for their values, leadership, or contributions and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Regardless of your political affiliation, that woman achieved so much, all the while raising a family during a time when the challenges facing women presented so much to overcome.
7. Name someone in your life who inspires you and why?
There’s no way I can name just one woman – I’ve been surrounded by a community of women, in both my professional life and in my family life, who inspire me in a myriad of ways. I aspire to be as smart, as kind, as gracious, and as amazing as so many of the women with whom I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths.
8. What advice do you have for individuals entering your profession?
Strive to obtain a broad range of experience as you’re beginning your career – don’t limit yourself as you’re starting out, because the more you get to see, the more you get to learn.
9. What has been your biggest career or personal achievement?
I like to believe that’s yet to come.
10. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month means we get to take a pause and honor all that women have achieved for all of our society – not just my own gender.