Building knowledge and connections

Meet Katrina Ralston: Business owner, mother, wife, sailor and good friend

July 20, 2021

We had the good fortune of connecting with Katrina Ralston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katrina, what is the most important factor behind your success? People. We live in a global economy and the internet has leveled the playing field from a buying perspective. Folks can review and buy from a wide variety of places online and in person. So what keeps a company relevant these days? It’s the people. How we treat each other matters. How we function and support one another is more important now than ever. Customer service is no longer a buzz word it is a game changer. If you are not supporting the people inside and outside of your company, people won’t come back. It’s not just about the consumer, it is about your entire human experience.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others? Feeney, Inc. is a family owned and operated business. Our passion and the foundation of our business is a product called CableRail. We brought this product to the United States back in the mid 80’s. It is an environmentally friendly, sustainable in-fill alternative for railing. It’s sexy. It’s easy to maintain and we love it.

People initially teased us about the product and now it is one of the hottest, most sought after in-fill alternatives on the market. We also specialize in powder coated aluminum railing for interior/exterior commercial and residential spaces. Our co-offerings include awnings, garden and industrial rods for the places you live, work and play.

One of the many challenges of being a business owner is being a woman owned and operated company in a predominantly male industry. There are not a lot of female, building material’s owners out there. It sometimes feels like pushing a rock uphill to manifest change. There aren’t a lot of women in power in our industry. I am usually the only woman at the table in corporate executive level meetings. I’ve had to work hard to balance my professional side with my feminine side. The industry is changing and I hope we have had some small role in that. A large portion of our staff is female and hold positions of influence. We are proud of our equitable stance.

I consider myself an environmentalist and while I wish I could say our company is plastic free and that we don’t use fossil fuels, we aren’t there…yet. But we do what we can when we can at Feeney. Such as the installation of a 380 panel (over 5,000 square foot) photovoltaic solar array that can produce as much as 90 kilowatts direct current (DC) of clean, sun-generated electricity at our Oakland, CA facility. We also don’t use styrofoam peanuts and instead use cornstarch peanuts that melt in water or can be composted. We also started the conversation about phasing out plastic as much as we possibly can. We don’t use plastic knives, forks or cups around the offices. And we implemented a company recycling program.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? To The Feeney Family, I would not be where I am today without the love and support you have provided through the years. My sincere thanks.

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