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Honoree Headshot
LarryWeinberg
RichardWinter
Jill Heneghan
JessicaWillingham

Laura Schneider

Chief Human Resources Officer
Core & Main

Location: St. Louis, MO
Founded: 2017
Industry: Specialized Distributor

Laura Schneider likens her experience of helping to launch a company to building a plane while flying it.

“We had to make decisions quickly, and sometimes we wondered if we had explored all our options,” she said. “In those moments, I don’t necessarily see risk, but challenge. And what I learned was to trust my gut.

“If, six years ago, someone had asked us to spin off a $2.5 billion business, stand it up in 54 days and take it public five years later, we likely would have said that there is no way we can do it, but we did. Our entire team accomplished this. And as I look back on that time, it is special, a proud moment. We put ourselves out there, dealing with complexity and ambiguity, and doing things for the first time — constantly evaluating, learning and focusing on getting better. After hitting non-negotiable deadlines, there does come the time where you can step back and reflect and continue to chart a path for innovation and transformation.”

Schneider is chief human resources officer for Core & Main Inc., a leading specialized distributor of water, wastewater, storm drainage and fire protection products and related services. Its clients include municipalities, private water companies and professional contractors across municipal, non-residential and residential markets nationwide.

When Core & Main divested in 2017, Schneider built out a full-service HR team from the ground up to ensure associates would experience no disruption to benefits, payroll or access to their retirement savings.

Since then, Schneider has worked with her HR leadership to fashion a specialized mergers and acquisitions HR team that has integrated nearly 25 successful acquisitions to date, enlisted a benefits response team of coordinators dedicated to helping associates take full advantage of their benefits, launched a medical coverage option for employees, implemented Workday for managers and associates, pivoted to keep the company’s workforce safe and engaged during the pandemic, and developed new ways of working and flexible policies to navigate unprecedented times.

Under Schneider's leadership, the company aims to build a culture that unifies five generations, from Generation Z to baby boomers, by embracing the ideas of new associates and valuing legacy builders. The St. Louis Business Journal recognized Schneider as a winner in its inaugural HR Leadership Awards in 2019, and the company has been recognized as a Best Place to work by the Journal multiple times. The company has also received multiyear recognition as a Top Workplace by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Laura makes amazing homemade ravioli.

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