Leaving companies when changing jobs is standard these days. Pursuing new opportunities or relocating often means finding a new place to work. McKinstry’s approach is different. As a people-first company, McKinstry aspires to provide an environment where our employees want to stay and grow with us. Whether that means moving departments, pursuing new career paths, or changing locations, we encourage employees to explore internal opportunities that allow employees to progress in their careers. The following stories highlight just a few of the women within McKinstry that have made exciting changes–vertically, laterally and geographically–in their careers.
Lakisha Gorham, Business Operations Specialist
“Don’t ever get comfortable because that’s when you settle,” advised Lakisha Gorham. She speaks from experience as someone who has progressed from a Le Cordon Bleu graduate and owner of a bail bonds company to baker/cashier with McKinstry’s onsite Seattle deli vendor to her current role as a business operations specialist with our Issue Management team. Three years ago, Lakisha saw an opening within our Issue Management team as a customer service representative and went for it. Since then, she’s been promoted two times, due in part to her desire to always be learning and growing. “Opportunity is out there. It just depends on how hard and how much you want to work for it,” she said. “I’m fortunate that my company appreciates the effort I put into my job and provides growth opportunities.” For now, she’s happy with her work, but she has her sights set on a more client-facing role in the near future – account manager.
Denise Bullock, Energy Engineer
Denise Bullock felt she’d found her place, her team and her dream job when she began at McKinstry’s Denver office in June 2015 as an energy engineer. She had just finished graduate school at University of Colorado Boulder and brought her passion for her work to the team. “I loved my job from the beginning,” she expressed. “The dynamic with the team was inspiring, I was working with amazing people and learning a lot.” A year later, her husband got a job in Houston. “How could I not let him pursue his dream job, when I had gotten to experience it myself?” So they moved. But not before Denise had a conversation with her manager about staying on with McKinstry in a remote role.
“I feel so fortunate in so many ways,” she shared. “Not only did McKinstry take a huge risk in allowing me to work remotely, but the office was booming and had a ton of work, which made it easier to stay connected to the projects I was working on before the move.” During that time, Denise recalls that the Denver office was working on ways to help remote employees stay connected, including adding webcams to conference rooms and bringing those employees in for quarterly meetings. “It’s easy to feel disconnected from the people you work with when you don’t see them every day. But not here; they make it hard to feel disconnected!” Staying with McKinstry despite her move also facilitated a new opportunity for Denise – she officially joined the South region this year.
Sheri Keeley, Senior Project Engineer
With the support of corporate and construction leaders, Sheri Keeley, who has been with McKinstry for 15 years, successfully transitioned from a career in marketing and proposal-writing to one in mechanical construction. Why this change after 12 years of being on the sales support side? “When thinking about my five-year-plan, I realized that my connection with clients was lacking,” she recalled. “I wanted to build these relationships, and I wanted them to be genuine.” Her long-term goal at the time was to become a business development manager. “To my complete and utter astonishment—and joy—, I was fully supported to the point where the leadership actually did some of the legwork to find out what it would take to get me there.”
To form genuine relationships with clients, Sheri needed to do projects with them, something she’d thought about but wasn’t sure she’d like. Again with the help of the construction leaders, they found a project for Sheri to do for a few months to see what she thought. Turns out, she loved it! “By the second month, I really started to picture a career as a project manager and how that could eventually lead me back to sales or business development if I wanted.” Sheri now works with our special projects group in Seattle as a senior project engineer, with the goal of becoming a project manager this year. “I’m incredibly grateful and humbled that the leaders invested and believed in me.”