Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our new, ongoing employee spotlight series. Today, we talk to Andrew Auer, who serves as a sales executive and is based out of our Denver, Colorado, office.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m the sales executive for the Great Lakes region in the US. This means I’m prospecting all potential clients for Propeller in this area—from construction management to large excavation to surveying to mining and aggregates and waste management. Heavy on the civil side. Basically, I’m trying to find if Propeller is a good fit for a business. Just because someone’s in construction management doesn’t mean Propeller is going to be the best thing for them. Right project, right tool, as they say.
What’s your career background?
For the last three years I was at a general contractor that self-performed heavy civil work. So I have boots-on-the-ground experience with excavation, demolition, concrete, and structural. We basically brought projects out of the ground. We’d sub out our MEP and finishing trades. I did project coordination for this small to midsize company, so I wore a lot of hats in that role.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
I managed a jazz club for the last two years of college. It was right after I got back from studying abroad in Australia. I went to hear a friend sing at this open-mic night, and I was chatting with the bartender who was in his late sixties. He reminds me of that song: “quick with a joke or a light of your smoke.” He was that kind of bartender. People really loved to sit at the bar and listen to Tim.
He’d just gotten back from a trip to Australia with his daughter, so we had a lot to talk about. He asked me if I’d ever bartended. I said no and he asked, “you want to learn how?” I said sure. That job lasted six months, during which he was secretly vetting me to be the bar manager. I was super surprised, but happy to move into that role. It was very cool. I was in my early twenties working at Blue Wisp Jazz Club, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the oldest jazz club in the United States until it closed a few years ago. It really got me into jazz.
It was also great to meet all the people, whether big national bands or small locals. Whether the performers were coming for a late-night tea or cocktail, they’d always end up with you as the bartender. And they’d have this exchange with you that was unique compared to conversations with fans or other musicians. Those other conversations were much more scripted, so having a more nonchalant chat with the bartender? I’ll always remember those conversations.
Where did you grow up?
Cincinnati, Ohio. Grew up in downtown. Dad worked downtown, Mom worked at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. Dad was in construction, so the architecture and landscape and Cincinnati was always appealing to me, having grown up seeing it through my dad’s eyes. He was a construction manager by trade and carpenter by hobby.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
Hearing the story of one of Dave’s early days here when he was working with Justin. They were closing a deal, they’re on the way to get it signed and what band are they listening to, to get them pumped up? It was Wu Tang. I’ve heard that story three different times from three different people, and I never stop them to say I’ve already heard it because it’s always hilarious.
If you could be any piece of worksite equipment, what would you be?
A big excavator. From being a boy in a sandbox, that was my favorite thing to do. Picking up the sand in a big bucket and move the arm over to dump it somewhere else. I’d like to move large pieces of earth from one place to another.
If you could attend any professional sports game, what would it be and why?
Basketball is my favorite sport, to watch and to play. I would like to see the Nuggets play the Golden State Warriors in California and, of course, win that game.
Any fun facts, talents, or secret superpowers to share?
I can ride a bike backwards—like sitting on the bike backwards.
Do you have an office nickname? What is it?
I don’t have one yet, but I have a family nickname, which was Android. That’s what my aunt called me when I was growing up, the whole family did. But that was before the phone came out, so it sucks the phone took that away a bit.
If you could do any job on a worksite for just one day, which would you choose?
Operator. Those are the guys who operate the heavy equipment.
You can operate some of the smaller stuff without a special license, which I’ve done in the past. I’ve jumped in a few skid steers and backhoes on site because I wanted to learn in case they ever needed another hand to get a piece of equipment off the trailer or something like that. It’s so fun to talk to guys now on the phone who are operating the big stuff. I’d really like a chance to do it.