ERICA MILLARD, PRECONSTRUCTION MANAGER
Employed by KBE for 8 Years
What was your job position when you were first hired by KBE and what is your job position today?
With my background in the field, I was hired as a senior project engineer, but with the goal to move me into a Preconstruction role as soon as the economy picked up. In hindsight, that field role was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. By working in Operations, I made connections with all the operations folks, worked with multiple project managers and superintendents, worked with the accounting staff and more. It would’ve been a lot harder to build these relationships had I not started on the operations side.
How has KBE supported you in your career growth?
Back at the beginning, my goal was clearly to get into the Preconstruction role. I actually started off as an Estimator, working on hard bids jobs and getting to know the local trades, as I was new to Connecticut at the time. At the same time, I was being mentored by our then-Preconstruction Manager on the construction management side of our business. When the time was right, I started off managing smaller projects and being the support on larger projects, being mentored all the way through, until being promoted to Preconstruction Manager. I think the opportunity is always there to grow at KBE.
What makes KBE stand out among other employers?
I would say relationships and loyalty are very key at KBE. When I look at my colleagues, a lot of the people here have been here forever. I think that’s because there is a real personal connection to management. We are not a huge company, which makes Senior Management available to us.
What do you most look forward to in your job each day?
The fact that no project is the same. Every job is completely different, it’s never “copy-paste-repeat”, and there are always new problems to tackle.
In one word, describe the culture at KBE.
How are employees empowered to help shape or participate in the corporate culture?
Most recently, we’ve had this giant innovation challenge, where a group of us were hand-picked and challenged to come up with ideas, some even outside-of-the-box, about how to work better, smarter or faster. We have moved past the idea stage and are starting to put some of these ideas in place.
How has working at KBE allowed you to realize your career goals?
I am reminded annually that I can indeed move up in the company. I get the positive reinforcement that “if” and “when” I want it, the opportunity for growth is there. KBE is a trailblazing organization and our organizational chart is not set in stone. My role has definitely evolved to meet KBE’s needs – but also my own career goals.
How have you seen KBE grow throughout the years?
I’ve been here since March 2012 and the regional growth has really been the biggest factor. It’s not just that we’re moving into these new geographic regions; we’re acquiring new companies and integrating new people into our culture.
What is one thing that KBE does well for its employees?
It’s the personal touch. I feel like we get the well-deserved thank-you’s and acknowledgement, sometimes straight from the CEO, if you did something well or just went above and beyond.
What is one thing you would tell someone who is interested in working at KBE?
If you are a driven, motivated person who wants the opportunity to grow and do well, the sky is the limit here.
How would you describe KBE’s leadership?
They are open and honest and we regularly interact. They’re not sitting far off in the corner. The fact that I know Senior Management on a personal level really means something.
What is your favorite thing about working at KBE?