Company I&D Spotlight: Santee Metal Works, LLC

Posted By: Tonya Storovich Inclusion & Diversity,

Like many AAMD Members, Santee Metal Works owners Tonya and Travis Storovich bring a unique approach and perspective to being inclusive in the industry.


How do you define inclusion & diversity?

Embracing all persons to better our company, our work environment, and keeping an inclusive atmosphere where all opinions and thoughts are considered. Coming from the
reservation (Travis) and being a woman (Tonya) owned business we have had limited opportunities.

With our company we look at the core of our company beginning with our founders. Travis is Native American and our company is named after his reservation in Nebraska. Life on the
reservation was very hard and offered very few opportunities to improve oneself.

We believe that bringing people from different backgrounds, genders, and ethnicity helps our business relate and be relatable to as many people as possible. We believe no matter who
you are or where you came from if you can do the job you are who we want working with us.


What specific initiatives have you started to help your associates in these aspects?

We do a program called "Be a Buddy" this is where our more seasoned employees adopt one of our new persons to help train them and help them understand that "no one person has all the answers, share your ideas and perhaps better way of doing things." We recognize and applaud our cultural differences by talking about them and making a comfortable work place for our team.


What are you planning for the future of your initiatives?

We have been reaching out to the high schools and school counselors to offer opportunities to those who may not be built for college or cannot afford college. We offer paid internships to help grow our youth and give them a trade that they will have for life. We also work with
the second chance initiative schools for teens at risk to help them learn a trade and show them there is a future beyond what they thought.

What ideas do you have to improve this initiative in the apartment industry?

It starts with the youth. We need to teach our youth about acceptance and judgement. As humans have what we call ‘personalities’. Our personality and our experiences are what make us who we are. We are all unique and we all have our faults and our strengths. I wrote and teach the class "From Apathy to Empathy" which shows those that attend a real look at how we should and can embrace our differences and use them to create a more accepting and open industry.

Do you have any success stories you can share about your Denver teams?

We had a great intern named Tyler, who was so driven! She had a hard time getting into the trades, being a woman. We offered her a paid internship and helped grow her skills in welding and her confidence as a trade person. She did end up leaving us to move to Wyoming to work on a large cattle farm taking her skill set with her.