Women in Construction Week: Meet J.C. Anderson’s Kayla McKinney

Kayla McKinney

Women in Construction Week celebrates the growing role of women in the construction industry and raises awareness of the opportunities available for women in construction.

For today’s installment, we highlight Kayla McKinney, project manager at J.C. Anderson.

How did you get into the construction industry?

Prior to JCA, I worked in sales at a tile company. I worked with homeowners, project managers and installers on many types of projects. I built relationships with my clients and often discussed becoming a project manager one day. I thought seeing an entire project come together and being a part of it would be a great experience. I started out at JCA as an assistant project manager and was recently promoted to project manager.

Describe a typical day on the job?

A typical day consists of helping clients bring their vision to reality. From pre-con to construction to closeouts, I help the project team facilitate all aspects of a project management inclusive of managing budgets, meeting deadlines and project execution.

What have been some of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced (if any)?

The biggest challenge I faced was information overload. Learning all trades and ultimately being responsible for everything is a part of the job. There is a lot that goes into one project with multiple trades and many stages. I was not going to completely understand all aspects of a job on day one. It took patience, training and lots of time to understand each trade, day-to-day tasks, relationships and all that it takes to work with a project team. Each project brings a new challenge, new information and much to learn.

What was your favorite construction project and why?

My favorite construction project has been the amenities at Presidents Plaza building in Chicago. I look at this project as multiple projects in one. The team completed a café, lounge, fitness center, two stairs, two lobbies, a conference center, restrooms and corridors all in a phased occupied renovation. The team was great, collaborated effectively, and I’ve built many long lasting relationships. The renovation even won the TOBY. It’s a project to be proud of.

What do you like most about your job?

I like the satisfaction I gain seeing a project come together and the team I am a part of. Each project brings a level of fulfillment from beginning to end. The projects don’t end there. We gain trust and long lasting relationships with our clients. The recognition we receive for our hard work and dedication is very much appreciated and does not go unnoticed.

How has the participation of women in construction changed over the years and where do you see it heading?

Women have moved from being a support system to becoming part of leadership in construction over the years. I see many clients supporting, encouraging and requesting diversity on their project teams. Having an all-male project team is in the past.

What is your advice to women wanting to get into construction?

Thinking about getting into the construction industry? I’d say do just do it. Even in a male-centric industry, everyone wants nothing more than success and teamwork. Since starting here at JCA, I’ve received nothing but support from the office and the field. We are all equal. I encourage all women to join our industry if it interests you.