President of Midwest Associates, Stacy Carey Shares Her Take on Inclusivity & Emerging Into Leadership

Stacy Carey is the President & Owner of Midwest Associates, a company that helps clients deliver successful commercial and manufacturing projects. Located in Indianapolis, Midwest Associates was established in 2007 as Midwest Balance + Service, originally offering Test and Balance services (HVAC testing). Over the years, the company has added Commissioning, Consulting, Construction Quality Assurance, and Construction Safety to their full-service business and changed the name to Midwest Associates to better reflect their broader range of services. Designated a Women Business Enterprise (WBE), their experienced staff provides services to a variety of clients, including specialized services to the pharmaceutical industry.

President Stacy Carey talks with us about how she transitioned from an engineer to a business owner, the challenging and rewarding aspects of the field, and why inclusive company culture is important to her and Midwest.

What pillars are at the core of Midwest Associates?  

We provide the highest quality results, as well as excellent customer service. We aim to be reliable, responsive, and flexible.

What motivated you to step into your role as President of Midwest Associates?  

What I enjoyed most during my early career was working with cross-functional teams to deliver capital projects. So, I decided to get back into construction and project delivery after I took a career break to be home with my kids when they were little. I had always thought about starting my own business, so when the opportunity came along to join and lead Midwest, I decided to go for it.

Having my own business also allows me to create a company culture that is inclusive. Based on my own experiences, I have a passion for encouraging young people to go into the STEM fields, especially young people and girls who haven’t been exposed to STEM role models.

Can you expand on why you prioritized a more inclusive company culture? 

Throughout my career in engineering, I have been in the minority. I know what it feels like to be the only female in the room. I have been fortunate to work for companies that have been supportive of women, but inclusivity goes beyond gender. My goal is to create a company culture where no one on our staff feels like the “only one” in the room and that they feel valued. It’s not easy, but I do my best to create diversity in the workplace.

Can you explain your overall mission as a local company?

Our mission is to help our clients deliver capital projects that work correctly, are reliable, efficient, and meet all their needs. We do this by being a member of their team; in other words, we want to be viewed as a partner, not an outsider. It is also important to be known as a local business because I live and work in Indiana, and I want our tax dollars to stay in our community.

What advice would you give to those thinking of starting their own business?  

Do not be intimated by it all. It is a lot of hard work and there’s no secret guidebook on how to start your business. Utilize your resources in your own network!

When I first started out in this field, I talked to as many people as I could that have their own business, just to hear their story. I asked questions like, “How did it go for you? How did you get into this? What helped you get started and is there anything I should avoid?” Talk to as many people as you can that have been through it to learn from their mistakes. You can leverage what they found to help them be successful.

What is the best advice you have ever received?  

Make data-based decisions. I was given that advice early in my career as an engineer. It may sound ironic to say that to an engineer, but in the “real world” we are bombarded with information, and it can take some time to sift through it all. It’s easy to be reactive and jump to a conclusion, but that doesn’t always lead to the best outcome.

What do you consider to be the greatest challenge in your industry?  

The construction industry is booming, so like everyone else, finding talent is the biggest challenge at the moment.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?  

When our clients are happy with our service and our staff is happy and fulfilled in their role!

Can you elaborate on the community impact of Midwest Associates?

Contributing to our community is something we are passionate about because it fulfills us both personally and professionally. Our team members work together and independently to positively impact others. Ultimately, we aim to create a better place where our employees, clients, families, and others can live, work, play, and thrive. 

Before I became President and Owner of Midwest, we had some volunteer opportunities, but they were mostly tied to other company initiatives.  This was something I made a priority to change because I wanted giving back to become part of our culture.

Some of the organizations we support include: 

  • Flight One 
  • Habitat for Humanity 
  • Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry 
  • Dress for Success 
  • Junior Achievement Job Spark 
  • Girls Rock! 
  • Hearts & Hands 
  • Jameson Camp 
  • March of Dimes 
  • Special Olympics Indiana 
  • The Humane Society 

What is one fun fact about yourself that people may not know about?  

After I graduated college, I lived in Australia and worked at a Titanium Dioxide factory for a year. I love traveling and the experience of being overseas while learning about different cultures!

Can you leave us with one really terrific book recommendation?  

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I read it a few years before running my own business and it helped change my perspective and take on the challenge.

Learn more about Midwest Associates here.

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Featured images: Midwest Associates