Editorial: 01.25.2023

Spencer Berenz is Constantly on the Move

Spencer Berenz

Growing up in a military family taught Spencer Berenz how to be nimble, resourceful and resilient.

Those traits have served him well throughout his young construction career, and especially in his current position as assistant project manager in Castle's MEP/Utility group. “I think I have 24 open projects right now, but they’re not all active,” he says. “I generally have about three to six projects going on at one time.”

Most of Berenz’s jobs involve utility installations across the St. Louis region, and he also oversees emergency repair projects such as water main breaks.

“What I really enjoy about working on our team is that we handle our own business development, do our own estimates and run our own jobs,” says Berenz. “I hadn't done estimating until I joined Castle, so now I get to see behind the curtain a little more.”

He also appreciates the built-in accountability of his current role. “Because we do our own estimates and run our own jobs, if there's a gap in our bid, it was from something that we missed and need to fix. I just like that accountability.”

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Born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Berenz and his family moved to a different Coast Guard base about every five years. From age 3 to 8, he lived in Kodiak, Alaska, where he has fond memories of jumping off his second-story deck and into the 2+ feet of snow piled on the ground. He also recalls everyday encounters with Kodiak brown bears, walruses, puffins and other extraordinary creatures.

“Growing up there was an opportunity that a lot of people don't get,” he says, “but it was normal for most of the people I knew because they were in the Coast Guard as well.”

The Berenz family eventually settled in Catlin, Illinois, a small town in the east central part of the state where he went to high school and pondered potential career paths. “I always thought I'd probably be a mechanic because I liked working with my hands, but all the aptitude tests in high school pointed to engineering,” he says.

The Role of a Mechanical Engineer in Construction

After applying to engineering programs across the U.S., he enrolled at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

It was at a career fair during his junior year that he connected with MC Industrial (McCarthy’s industrial business unit) and eventually secured a full-time project engineer position after he graduated. 

His first assignment involved relocating to Lake Ozark to assist with preconstruction on the Bagnell Dam stabilization project. A few months later, McCarthy tapped him to assist with the seismic renovation of the Robert A. Young Federal Building in downtown St. Louis.

Then he was reassigned again, this time to work on solar projects for Castle. “My first reaction was, ‘who’s Castle?’, he laughs, acknowledging that he quickly learned about the company’s expertise.  

For the next two-and-a-half years, Berenz contributed to a series of solar field projects in Virginia, Tennessee and California. Because of the fast pace and long hours, he affectionately refers to this period as the “solar coaster” phase of his career.

Next, he returned to St. Louis and worked on the East End transformation project at Washington University in St. Louis, the Saint Louis University Utility System upgrade and the Washington University Neuroscience Research Building.

Then, in October 2021, Castle invited Berenz to join the MEP/Utility team. In his current role, he splits his time between the office and visiting his jobsites about once or twice a week.

And he enjoys the benefits of working for a close-knit company. “Because I know everyone at Castle, it really gives you a sense of being part of a team instead of just being a number,” he says.

Berenz now calls High Ridge, Missouri, home and keeps himself busy with an eclectic list of hobbies that include woodworking, playing pinball, and upgrading and restoring pinball machines. He enjoys completing home improvement projects and recently built a computer and home arcade with thousands of games.

An outdoorsman, Berenz also likes hiking, fishing and visiting national parks. “I'm trying to see every national park as an adult, and I'm slowly crossing them off my list as I go,” he says. Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California is his favorite so far.

“I enjoy staying active, so being idle is just not for me,” he acknowledges. 


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