Melissa James-Geska

Melissa James-Geska

President, US Ceiling Corp

Years in current role: 22

What are the biggest challenges you see in your industry currently?

A lack of skilled workers to perform on construction projects is a disturbing trend plaguing our community. We need to shift the narrative that skilled work is a “dirty” job and recognize the amazing opportunities that exist. Skilled work is an essential function that will endure during times of economic stress and periods of economic boom. Skilled training assures economic self-reliance. You don’t need to acquire massive debt to have a well-paying job in construction. We’re at least 15 years late in planning for the impact that baby boomer retirements will have on the construction industry. The time to solve this problem is now, and we as a community need to rally and encourage young people to consider a career in the trades. Our economy depends on it.

What is one thing you would change about Rochester if you could?

In Rochester, we have many organizations independently working to solve our city’s complex issues, particularly when it comes to unemployment, underemployment and job training. I would love to see less siloed efforts and a higher degree of collaboration, so that organizations who are better suited to managing these varying issues can be identified much quicker. We could go farther as a community if we work together to recognize key strengths among service providers and differentiate our service offerings to address a more comprehensive approach. Too many agencies working on the same aspects of these issues creates gaps that may diminish the overall impact.

How do you manage work/life balance?

I am a work in progress on managing work/life balance. At times, I struggle with the weight of my workload and my limited time to accomplish things. I am passionate about the work I do, so pulling myself away to be more mindful of self-care often requires helpful reminders from my inner circle. I regularly prioritize time with my family and enjoy traveling and live music. I often spend my free time making room for fun experiences. Lately, I am much more mindful that I need to better prioritize proper sleep and exercise, and I am centering my intentionality in that direction.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 30 Real Estate & Construction list for 2023. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at