A Conversation with Aptitude’s VP of Operations

A Conversation with Aptitude’s VP of Operations, Eric Wintjen

Eric Wintjen has worked with Aptitude owner Matt Mierek in varying capacities for 22 years and recently came aboard full time as the company’s VP of operations. From full commercial renovations to a partial home remodel, he supervises projects from start to finish, making sure all goes smoothly. Each day is different: one minute he may be overseeing supply delivery to a project site and talking with a client the next.

As part of his management style, Eric also embraces the philosophy that employees perform best when they’re treated well, which Matt built into the company’s DNA. Keep reading to learn more about Eric’s background and the process of project production.

What is the impact of Aptitude’s commitment to taking care of employees, do you think?

Our founder and owner Matt is a really good guy and makes a real commitment to clients and employees. Aptitude is one of the only local non-union companies I know that offers employees health benefits, PTO and a 401(k). When you’re working in a positive environment, like we have, that’s going to come out in the quality of your day-to-day work. We aren’t just there for a paycheck. It’s an enjoyable work experience.

I’ve known many of our employees for a long time, and we make a real effort to build camaraderie. We’ll get together for a barbecue or ride on our motorcycles—something like that. It’s really important to have a relationship with your team that isn’t just about work.

What do you think sets Aptitude apart from other construction companies?

We take great pride in how we care for our clients, and interact with their homes as if they’re our own. We get very emotionally connected to each client, which makes a huge difference in their experience. It’s so important to us that everything always turns out perfectly. Clients really notice and appreciate that. That’s what Aptitude means and stands for: striving to be the best at what you naturally do well.

Also, many of us have also been doing this for a long time. I’ve been working in construction since I was 14, so I’ve been doing it for 34 years now. My father worked in construction, and three of my uncles ran construction companies. Many of us come from backgrounds like that, and we have the collective skill and experience to take care of any customer concern.

How do you approach the challenges of the job, and what do you find to be most enjoyable about working in construction?

Every project is different, and there are always unique challenges. It sounds simple, but our philosophy when coming up against a problem, whatever it is, is to just handle immediately, and make sure we stay in good communication with the client. It’s all part of the job, and there’s no one set way to approach what may come your way in this line of work.

One of my favorite parts of the job is meeting other people and connecting with clients. We really like to develop a working relationship with them. It’s also fun to see a client’s reaction when a project is finished. We really are heartfelt about our work, and the people we work with can see that we really care.