Meet Jen Ward

Photo of Jen Ward


For much of the year, you’ll find Jen Ward operating a scraper for McAninch Corporation. During the weather-dictated time off she enjoys in the winter, you’ll likely find her playing wide receiver for the Iowa Crush. The Iowa Crush is a women’s tackle football team based out of Des Moines. Ward tried out for the team this fall, made it and will play her first season this winter.

At 23 years old, Ward is a recent Simpson College graduate who joined the company in August. She graduated with a degree in physical education. One might expect that educational path would return her back to school, this time as an employee instead of a student.

Ward choose a different path. We caught up with her when she was helping to create the ground infrastructure at Apple’s $1.375 billion data center in Waukee. Apple is building two “state-of-the-art” data centers on a 2,000-acre portion of a 3,500-acre site in Waukee that was annexed to the city in June. Owned by 28 property owners, the annexed land is near Hickman Road. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook visited Des Moines in August 2017 to announce the project during a news conference at the Iowa State Capitol with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.

Several things about being employed by McAninch appealed to Ward – working on development projects in the metro area, working outdoors and being part of a team culture. A bonus is having winters off so that she can pursue her passion for playing football. During that time, she will be traveling with the team to warmer zip codes, including Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“I love working here because everyone is so helpful and friendly. If you have a question, people are always here to help you learn. It’s a great atmosphere,” Ward says.

As one of seven females working out in the field for McAninch, Ward feels right at home.

“I’m treated the same as any other employee – male or female,” she says. “I operate the equipment as an equal member of the team.”

While she is new to the company, she has good advice to others just starting with McAninch.

Listen to advice. People want you to do well. Keep working hard, you’ll learn and catch on,” Ward says.

If you or someone you know is looking for a career with a company who is passionate about its people, puts safety first and provides professional growth opportunities in a team-oriented and highly productive culture, look to McAninch.

Ideal candidates will have a valid driver’s license, are willing to work longer days in good weather and most importantly, have a mindset of safety first. Candidates who are interested in pursuing a career with the leading excavation and grading contractor in Iowa should call (515) 267-2500; complete an application by stopping by our office at 4001 Delaware Avenue, Des Moines; or fill out an online application at