Women in Construction: Project Engineer Kate Bartels

  • by Kate Bartels and Mathilde Tubbs
  • Blog

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As a leading General Contractor in our industry Landis Construction is not only a 3-generation family-owned business but is also one of the few women-owned construction companies in the New Orleans area. Women have so many opportunities to find their spot in the construction industry, and this month we are featuring some standout examples! We met up with Landis Project Engineer Kate Bartels on the job site to discuss her experience entering the construction industry.

Could you explain your role on the job site as a project engineer for Landis? 

As a Project Engineer for Landis, I review submittals, write RFI’s, set up preinstall meetings, help run trade partner meetings, and update material tracking logs or delivery boards. In a nutshell, I assist in administrative office work on the job site, paperwork for people in the field, superintendents, trade partners, my site project manager and project executive. I help with moving the job forward wherever they may need.

What project are you working on right now? 

I'm currently working on St. Bernard Circle Apartments. It’s going to be a 4 story multi-family residential building. It will have two retail spaces on the bottom floor, a community center, and a community park. 

What made you decide to work in such a male dominated industry?

I’ve always worked in male dominated industries. Before this, I worked as one of the very few female stage managers and technicians in the entertainment industry. Because of my past work experience, transitioning into the construction industry was a little easier,although it can still be intimidating at first. Women are more likely to not go after something they want because they know they don’t meet all the specific requirements, whereas men don’t necessarily care; they just go for it. Also, it was intimidating for me because I came from a different industry. I didn’t, and still don’t, know as much about commercial construction as the guys I work with do. So, there is a fear of saying something wrong because some guys (not the ones I work with) say, “Oh you’re just a woman, you don’t know anything”, but you can’t let that bother you. You need to prove yourself all the time and show you can do it too, without stepping out of your role. You are the one who needs to find your way and not let anyone step all over you.


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What is most challenging about being a female project engineer in the industry? 

Overcoming stereotypes. A lot of times,guys in the field aren’t as evolved as the some working in higher positions. They have their misconceptions and stereotypes and most of the time don’t want to ask you questions. I always make sure to be a resource for everyone around me, give knowledgeable responses, and if I am not confident in my response, I do my best to find the answer quickly.

Why did you choose Landis? 

I was looking for a change. I was already friends with Jeremy and Casey, and they always talked about how much they loved Landis:how Landis is a family and really appreciates their employees. I was looking for a job that had more stability and to not have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, I was looking for a job that could provide me with a runway to grow and have a career I was proud of!

Do you think it’s important for women to work in construction? Why or why not? 

Absolutely! No matter what industry you are in, representation matters. It’s important to show that woman can do anything a man can do in the public eye. Especially in construction because it’s a public career. People pass by job sites all the time and see people working; it’s everywhere you go. It’s imperative to have that kind of representation.

What advice would you give young women hoping to pursue a career in construction?  

JUST DO IT! Be fearless and don’t worry about not meeting some of the requirements. If you want it, you’ve got to try it. Yeah, you might fail, but you’re going to learn something in the process and you’re going to get back up and try again. Just go for it, anything can happen, and anything is possible!

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8300 Earhart Boulevard, Suite 300
New Orleans, LA 70118
PO Box 4278
New Orleans, LA 70178

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Fax: (504) 833.6662

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