Holding considerable expertise in managing difficult situations, coordination and finances, Kristen Meiswinkel has excelled in the construction industry, specializing in drywall, ceilings and plaster, for over two decades. Holding a Series 6 license, also known as the investment company and variable contracts products limited representative license, she began her career as a customer information analyst with Franklin Templeton Investments in 1991. She remained with Franklin Templeton until 1996, at which point she joined the RFJ Meiswinkel Company, a family-owned business started by her grandparents.
At the company’s inception, Ms. Meiswinkel’s grandmother was responsible for the finances and donated all of their profits to support their local church. When her mother stepped into that role, she took charge of growing and expanding the business until it ultimately became a $25 million company. In 2010, Ms. Meiswinkel became the managing director and chief financial officer of the RFJ Meiswinkel Company, replacing her father as leader of the company when he stepped down to enter retirement. In these roles, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the business, filling in tasks wherever there is a need, managing the company finances, dealing with clients at a higher-end level and interacting with general contractors.
Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Ms. Meiswinkel is particularly proud of the fact that she grew their business up to being a $35 million business from her mother’s previous achievement of $25 million. She is also responsible for bringing the business up to date with the digital age and helping the company become a competitive force in the construction industry. As the third generation of Meiswinkels to run the RFJ Mieswinkel Company, Ms. Meiswinkel feels that the legacy she leaves with the company is incredibly important. Her father was well loved by their employees and, when he retired, he left a vacuum in his wake. Ms. Meiswinkel’s goal is to leave a legacy as someone who could inspire her employees in a similar way as her father did.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Meiswinkel has begun to consider selling the company so that she can move to a new location. She wants to remain active with the business, but in a lesser capacity. Noting that her favorite part of her job is seeing her employees succeed, her plan for eventually selling the company is to turn it over entirely to her employees. Despite never earning a college degree, Ms. Meiswinkel has excelled in her field due to her devotion to her employees and the loyalty they have given her in return. She would advise young and aspiring professionals, particularly young women, to not let gatekeeping and stereotypes get in your way, just go for it anyway.
Ms. Meiswinkel has also served on California Apprenticeship Counsel for the Southern California Drywall/Lather Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee since 2005 and as a health and welfare support pension trustee for the Northern California Plasterers Trust Funds since 2011. Furthermore, in 2013, she joined the board of directors for the Wall and Ceiling Alliance and has also spent time as a board member for National Contractors Insurance Ltd and a member of the Vistage Group. Previously, Ms. Meiswinkel was active as the vice president of the Bay Area Subcontractors Association from 2010 to 2012.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Meiswinkel has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades over the years. On four occasions, she was presented with the Construction Excellence Award from the Wall and Ceiling Alliance, first in 2013, again in 2015 and 2018, and most recently in 2021. In 2010, she received the Certificate of Meritorious Service from the state of California for her work on the California Apprenticeship Council. She was also notably a finalist for the Impact Award. Motivated throughout her career by her father, Joe Meiswinkel, Ms. Meiswinkel’s family also includes two brothers, and she enjoys snowboarding, biking, food, traveling and fishing in her free time.