Women in Construction Week: Roberta Oldenburg

Roberta Oldenburg, Design Phase Manager
Aurora Health Center Oak Creek

How did you land in the construction industry?
I went to school for architecture and decided that to be a great designer, I needed to understand how buildings went together (and I didn’t want to get stuck drawing bathroom details on a computer), so here I am.

Who has served as your role model/mentor and what is the most valuable advice they have given to you?
Throughout my career, I’ve always had a sounding board of mentors that I’ve pulled together to help me navigate my career. One of the most valuable things I learned is the advice my mom gave me, which is to know your self-worth and not to be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

What advice would you give to someone starting out? 
It’s OK not to know everything and you will gain more respect by asking questions, being trustworthy, and working with people versus coming in and pretending you know everything. Also, network, network, and network!

What is your favorite part of your career?
My favorite part is the ever-changing opportunities and working with great people. I get bored easily, so a career in construction consistently offers new projects with new challenges to overcome.

What is your favorite project that you have worked on?
It’s a close tie between Aurora Medical Center in Summit, Wisconsin and Hansen Landing/Harbor Front Condominiums in Milwaukee. Both projects offered learning experiences and challenged my professional abilities.

What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction?
Work life balance – as a woman you have a lot to balance in your professional and personal life. Striking a balance is important, know yourself well enough to understand how to manage both.

What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on putting together scope and pricing projects for multiple Aurora projects.