Seattle Team Highlights - Careers in Construction Month
October is Careers in Construction Month! Read our team highlights to learn why our team loves the industry they're in and how they built their construction career.
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Ray Cement Mason Foreperson

I began construction as a 20-year-old formerly working in a restaurant, looking for something new and exciting. I quickly learned that the field I had entered (cement masonry) was in a sense, comparable to artwork in my eyes, and I really enjoyed that.

At first, I found the work itself fulfilling. Starting and finishing concrete with a daily, visible result gave me a sense of accomplishment. Later, after I began holding leadership roles, it has been working with the individual members on my crews that I find most rewarding. I enjoy shaping people to perform quality work by focusing on safety and our planning process. I consider myself challenged and motivated to change an entire industry, in multiple facets, via one on one work/mentorships with my team members and doing the right thing, no matter what.

In my career path, with proper training and planning practices, anyone can work in the trades and make a great living. With current apprenticeship programs and proper training/mentorships from a company such as Mortenson, trade members can work in an industry filled with large growth opportunities and chances to work on amazing projects impacting the communities we live and work in.

My construction career has impacted my life in an absolutely fortunate way. Almost all the planning and focus on completing a task safely can be used outside of work for any situation. It has also positively impacted my future and home life by creating a stable, enjoyable life inside and outside of work. All can be attributed to the culture Mortenson has created, and I have committed to uphold and employ.
As a young mother and a minority, I had a hard time finding jobs where I could earn a livable wage. Once I started learning about the benefits, the pay, and the wide range of things you can do, I found construction very appealing. The thing I like about construction the most is that you see your work. I’ve had my hand on so many big projects all over Seattle and can show my kids the work I’ve done.

The bonds you build with the people who you work alongside is rewarding. I think a lot of people, especially women, are intimidated by construction. Ever since I’ve been with this team I’ve learned to find my voice. Many people don’t realize how much opportunity there is in the industry and that with a good work ethic you will really blossom in this industry.

My career has affected my life for the better. Not only have I become financially independent, but mentally I’m just so much stronger. I’m able to chase after my goals. I’m actually doing a project management course right now and looking to expand my skills. I have discovered a passion for the industry and making it more accessible to women and people of color. The possibilities are endless in this industry and you can make it what you want it to be.


Leilanna, Operator


Matt, Project Engineer

I’ve always enjoyed building ever since I was a kid. I thought that would lead me down an engineering background until I learned about the construction management program in college, and I knew that construction was where I was meant to be.

I love seeing buildings go from nothing to completion - it’s an incredible process. I’ve been working on healthcare projects recently and being able to assist with providing spaces that will help people get the care that they need is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. People often are surprised by the intricacies of the job. When they hear about all the prep, planning, and different aspects of what goes into building they start to understand more of what we do as builders.

Construction has changed the way I view everyday situations, especially from a safety standpoint. Working for Mortenson has really given me the feeling of security in where my career path is going to plan further into the future. My family has become just as passionate about what I do as I have, if not more.
Before being connected with Mortenson, I studied architecture and was in pursuit of a career in design. After graduating with my BS in Architectural Studies, I had little success finding an architectural firm that was hiring so I expanded my career search to the construction industry. I started as an ICC with Mortenson but after three years transitioned from that role to field management and worked my way from project engineer to my current role as a project manager.

What is most fulfilling about construction management is being able to evaluate and influence design, then ultimately plan and manage the construction process to bring a design to life.

Though construction is a demanding career, it has certainly provided great compensation and a stable financial future for my family. For all the hard work, my family and I enjoy the vacation time offered and many Mortenson-sponsored activities. Another rewarding result is that my family and I can visit the buildings that I have been a part of constructing for years after they are complete.


Josh, Project Manager


Shirish, Planning and Scheduling Manager

The construction industry blends my personal and professional life together. I was a curious kid growing up and I’m still amazed by the wonders we ‘Civil Engineers’ build across the globe. I’ve always been the organizer and go-to person when it comes to friends or family outings.

I love knowing every little detail about the project to create the optimal master schedule with input from all trades and team members. I get to be creative and solve complex problems every day in my job, as construction is a constantly changing environment and not everything goes as planned. Challenging and complex projects provide a unique opportunity to develop my creative side, my practical side, my cost-cutting side, and my problem-solving side.

I’m proud to be working for Mortenson where people admire their diverse group of team members and have an opportunity to build something tangible, providing a real solution to a real human need. I crave change in my life, and through my career in construction, I’ve lived in 7 different states while working on dozens of projects. On each project, I’ve met amazing groups of people, with interesting backgrounds and experience levels which has definitely helped me hone my personal and professional skills.
I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. Construction gives me the ability to say to my children “I helped build that.” Throughout my career in the field, I realized how important preconstruction is to having a successful project. My role as a Design Phase Executive gives me the ability to fully appreciate our client’s vision and set the path for success years before a shovel is in the ground. I love being part of that initial dream and making it a reality. Our construction projects add value to our communities, and I find that very fulfilling.

I credit my dad for letting me be part of his home renovation projects, and also, always telling me that whatever a boy can do a girl can do too. Seeing the industry grow to be more inclusive over the past 20 years of my career in itself has been rewarding. As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I look to lead by example, and to instill those same values to my children - “if you see it, you can be it.”


Tamara Design Phase Executive


Phil, Director of Operations

I’ve always marveled that people can design, engineer, and assemble something that is so functional and impact the community. I originally worked in the structural steel industry as a subcontractor. When leaving the structural steel industry and looking at general contractors, Mortenson was one that stood out. You could really tell that people mattered, the culture was real, and that it was about more than just building buildings. It was about creating a family of people that grew from one another, encouraged, and supported one another, and that’s when I knew my career aspirations were limitless at Mortenson.

I started at Mortenson as a Field Engineer, and with the support and mentoring of people around me, I progressed to where I am today as Director of Operations. I really enjoy supporting people by putting them in the right positions to be successful and build long term careers with Mortenson.

Growing up in Missoula, Montana where our tallest building was 8 stories, I never imagined I’d be sitting in a high-rise office building in downtown Seattle helping our customer and design partners develop and shape the skyline of one of the fastest growing cities in the US. I love my job, I love what I do, I love the people here, and I love the culture. What’s been really inspirational is our focus on diversity and building a workforce that represents all genders, cultures, and ethnicities. I love taking my two girls to our job sites and showing them that they can do anything - if you see it, you can be it! Construction is an industry that’s made for everybody and there’s tons of opportunity.
Before joining the construction industry, everywhere I went I would look at different architecture and materials and try to figure out how they make buildings look as brilliant as they do. A friend of mine opened my eyes to the idea of becoming an electrician, and after learning more about it, I was floored at the opportunities to actually make something for myself. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do, but as I started to learn what crafts were out there and what I could potentially do I knew I made the right choice.

I find my job fulfilling because I didn’t have any labor skills before - I went from zero to knowing what I’m doing to get the job done. I get to draw on creativity to get the job done which is awesome, I’m getting a workout, and I’m getting paid more than I ever have in my life. I love the moments where I realize that I’ve just done something I’ve never done before and learned something new. There are so many different things that a laborer does, and I enjoy the vastness of the job.

My job has enabled me and my wife to apply to renovate our home and provided full coverage insurance and benefits for my family. I have enjoyed being able to teach my boys some of the tips and tricks I’m learning in the field and inspiring my oldest son to pursue a career in the trades.


Ricci, Apprentice Laborer


Luis, Safety Manager

When I was a union ironworker I traveled a lot, giving me the opportunity to go to new cities and change their skyline by putting up new buildings.

Working with a General Contractor, I have the ability to educate other companies and influence their workers to make safer decisions, and ultimately that’s something they’re going to take to other projects and share with other people they interact with. It’s definitely fulfilling in the fact that I know I’m doing all of these things for the greater good and helping people learn about safety who maybe didn’t have that much exposure to it before.

The fact that I was a union ironworker for 15 years and then now am a Project Safety Director for billion-dollar projects is definitely something that doesn’t go hand in hand. One of the determining factors when I came to Mortenson was going to the Kirkland office and seeing the wall there where it has everyone’s anniversary of 25 years, 30 years, 40 years with the company. Nobody works for a company that long if they don’t love what they do, and not one of those people is doing the exact same things that they were hired to do when they got here. They’ve been able to choose their career path because Mortenson understands that people are going to be more successful if they’re doing the things that they genuinely want to do.