Q. Tell us a little about the project you’re currently working on?
A: “The Springs Living project is a senior living community that has essentially three different buildings all connected to each other. There is an Assisted Living building, an Independent Living building and a Memory Care building. They’re all wood-framed on a slab-on-grade foundation and it’s probably one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on. I have a little bit of a personal connection because I’ve had family members who have lived in senior living communities. This one is just so beautiful and cool—it’s one of the things I wish I had access to when my grandparents were needing that kind of support.
It’s also been fun going through the design aspects of the building and seeing the theme come to life. Because we’re located on farmland area [in Happy Valley], the finishes are all farmhouse themed. In addition to the pool and spa, the project will have cool things like a movie theater and a putting green. It’s just really cool to be a part of it.”
Q. Which aspect of managing this project do you enjoy the most?
A: “I enjoy working with owners. I came from the owner side, and I know how important it is to be shepherded through a project successfully and easily. Being on the general contractor side, I like working with owners and letting them know what’s going on, giving them an idea of what’s coming up, and communicating any issues and how we’re resolving them. Building that relationship with the owner is one of my favorite parts of the project. The other thing has been working with the R&H team. They all have extreme knowledge in so many different areas and I think we work really well together as a team.”
Q. What were some initial assumptions you had about being a Project Manager?
A: “When starting off as an Assistant Project Manager, you have this assumption that everything is about budget and schedule. But then you quickly learn that while those aspects are important, by no means are they the only important thing. For me, it’s the trust and fairness that you have to establish with everybody you work with that’s important. Relationships with the project team, owners, subcontractors, and the building quality are all important. It’s much more holistic than just budget and schedule.”
Kate leading a site tour at The Springs Living.
Q. How do you interface with the Superintendent in your role?
A. “When you become a full-fledged Project Manager, understanding the relationship and back and forth you have with a Superintendent is a really cool learning experience—and something you learn is critical to a successful project. The Superintendent relies on me to confirm budget and contract items, and I rely on them for scheduling questions and double-checking invoices from subcontractors. When I write a contract, I always send it to them and ask for feedback based on their knowledge from past projects. Being able to bounce those things off each other make the job easier and more efficient.”
Q. What is an unexpected skill that you’ve developed in your career thus far?
A: “Project Management is a big balancing act. There are so many facets to a project and they’re all equally important. Whether that’s writing contracts, managing your budget and schedule, looking at change orders or making sure the owners are happy—it’s important to find a way that you can juggle all of those things successfully. It’s kind of an art because you have to be analytical, but you also have to be very personable.”
Q. Do you have a network of other women in the industry? If so, how did you establish it?
A: “I do. I have a network of women that I have met and built strong relationships with because I’ve worked on both the owner side and the general contractor’s side. I’ve met so many incredible and smart women in this industry! I may not necessarily belong to an official organization, but I’ve just stayed connected with the women I’ve worked with throughout all kinds of different projects. I had a mechanical engineer that I was doing a design-build with on one job, and then four years later I had her on another job. We knew each other and knew how we worked, and it ended up being a super successful project. It’s so funny how small Portland can be and it’s such a cool support system to have in this industry.”