Careers in Construction Month: Matt Kirch went from banker to builder

Kitchell Project Manager Matt Kirch graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in business management and set out on a nine-year career in the banking industry. He excelled in the role, managing branches for a national financial institution throughout metro Phoenix’s East Valley. But he began to lose motivation when he felt he wasn’t building anything tangible.

“The tough thing about banking is that you don’t see your work come to fruition in a physical way,” he said. “Your results are on a dashboard – sales numbers, investments, mortgages – the final accomplishment never changes throughout your whole career.”

His cousin, Kitchell Project Director Aron Kirch, knew Matt would be a good fit at Kitchell. Matt admits that he never worked in construction and has a laughable random box of tools at home, but figured he was still young, eager to learn and could transition to something else with many years of work ahead of him. So, in 2015, he left his lucrative career in financial services and made the switch to construction. And there was no looking back.

“I took a pretty big pay cut and was older than the other project engineers who were starting out, but I also had more maturity so it might have been an easier transition,” he said. “After being in the business world, I had good communication skills. Although I didn’t have the education or background in construction management, because of my work experience I was probably less hesitant to call an architect, engineer or talk to an owner.”

Matt says the biggest benefit of his prior career is interacting with people. He was driving teams in banking – financial officer, mortgage brokers, tellers – who had different roles, but all worked toward a common goal of making a customer happy. He uses the same skills in what he does today.

“We’re solving problems. It may be complex, we may not have the answer, but we can find a solution that makes the client happy.”

Matt has worked on several healthcare projects while at Kitchell. Today he’s working on the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Medical Office Building.

“Construction has a flow – scrubbing bids at the beginning, signing trades up, getting things released, building, dealing with issues – even with a project timeline it feels different. It’s never the same thing every day – it’s always changing, and I like that.”

Matt admits that making a switch might be scary at first because you’re starting over, but time flies quickly, and before you know it, you’re an expert. You’ll be happier that you took on the challenge.

“If you’re a hard worker and have a good work ethic, Kitchell is a place you can really grow.”

Matt went from banking to building and is succeeding. Who do you know who would be a good fit at Kitchell?

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