James Culkin

Jim Culkin

Chief Operating Officer | Executive Vice President | Principal

Jim was named Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President in 2015. He oversees KBE’s Field Operations, Preconstruction and Estimating, as well as long-range strategic planning for the firm. Jim’s construction industry career began in 1986, working on projects in New York City and Long Island, among other locations. He joined KBE in 1996 as a Project Manager and was later promoted to Project Executive. He received his BS in Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

How I ended up in construction:
At a very young age I was always fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together. I didn’t know when I went to college that I wanted to end up in construction – I received my degree in engineering – but as I got closer to graduation, construction seemed to make a lot of sense. I didn’t realize then what a passion it would become for me.

Best advice I’ve ever received:
The best advice I ever received – and that I like to share – came from a junior high school coach who told us at every game and every practice – “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” It was a little more colorful than that, but the gist of it was about bringing your best to the game every day.  And if you don’t prepare your best, then don’t expect to do your best.

My most memorable project:
Although I have worked on a lot of very interesting projects, I really enjoyed the complexity of the Gilder Boathouse project that I worked on early in my career for Yale University. It was such an interesting project with so many different aspects: extending out over the Housatonic River, with an engineered glulam structure on steel pipe piles and reinforced concrete pile caps. This was a very complicated build. It tried your brain at all times.

What matters most to me about my work:
All the relationships you make along the way. None of our projects get built by just one person. It’s always a collaboration, a give-and-take between many, many people.

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