Careers in Construction Month - Executive Assistant Karen Boyd
Construction Careers are not only available in the field but in the office as well. We sat down with Executive Assistant and Office Manager Karen Boyd to discuss her career in construction:
Q: What is your background in construction and what has kept you working in the construction industry all these years?
A: I was first hired by Landis in 1987 as an Overload Clerk for a Project Assistant. Within 9 months of proving myself I was promoted to Project Assistant working with a Project Manager. Now what I have been doing the longest is Executive Assistant. As for what has kept me in the construction industry, it’s the diversity. I love all the different projects, watching renovations to building new structures from the ground up. There is always something different about each project we work on which helps to keep the work interesting.
Q: Can you explain your role now?
A: I’ve been Executive Assistant for a while now, working closely with Anne Teague and Christian. I also took over Preconstruction and I am the one who implemented the project recap sheets for our estimating team. This is to help them stay organized and be able to see the pertinent items that we need for bidding. I just recently took over another role as Office Manager where I make sure that everything in the office runs smoothly and efficiently.
Q: I hear you really like the bid process; can you explain your role in that?
A: When we initially get a set of plans and specs I go through the front-end documents, see what the bid requirements are, what we need for bid submission, and if there is any post-bid information should we be the low bidder. I organize and put together all the bid documents, distribute the addendum information, should we get any addenda, make sure there is nothing in the addenda that would affect any bid forms, make sure all the bid documents are in align with the bid requirements, and I am usually the one who brings the bid in. I don’t necessarily have a favorite part; I like the whole process. I like working with the preconstruction team and I like getting to know the project we are bidding on.
Q: What has been your favorite project to work on and why?
A: When I first worked for Landis, we did a lot of industrial work. I worked on the Exxon project in Baton Rouge where I really enjoyed working with the owners and the team there. It’s too hard to pick just one but to name a few, I loved working on the Tulane Wilson Center Phases 1 & 2, the Tulane Riley Rec Center, and Ochsner Research Center. Although there is one project that I worked on, for the short period of time I didn’t work for Landis, and that was the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (Brice Building Co.). We were getting ready to start construction when Katrina hit. After Katrina we all regrouped but one of our instrumental executives got really sick. He was able to bring the job to fruition but passed away before we started driving piles, so we drove a pile in the ground with his name on it. This particular project has just stuck with me over the years.
Q: What would you say to someone looking to start a career in construction?
A: You want to be well rounded. You should really start from the bottom and move up. Start as an assistant like I did, or in the Estimating Department to see what it’s like to bid a project, then work in the field, see what it’s like to help something come out of the ground, that way you can move yourself up and you will have a better understanding of the process as a whole.