Serving our country prepared these Veterans for a career at Kitchell

It’s not uncommon for people in the armed forces to come to a crossroads when their military duty comes to an end. They might sign up for another tour of duty, pursue educational options or consider obvious careers where their talents can easily convey, like defense contracting or law enforcement.

And sometimes, at just the right time, Kitchell comes knocking with opportunities to pursue a lucrative career with a secure future of employee ownership.

Kitchell has many Veterans within our offices and jobsites, in wide-ranging roles from safety to facilities management. And while they don’t relish being in the spotlight or speaking about their military past, they are happy to explain why their experience translates well to a career at Kitchell.

“Kitchell has given me an opportunity to work on a lot of projects and with many different groups of people, allowing me to use many of the skills I learned in the Marines,” said Kitchell Facilities Management Supervisor Geody Domingo.

Geody was a Squad Leader, primarily trained to use high-power assault weapons, shoulder-fired rockets and demolitions/breaching. While those skills don’t seem to be a natural fit for the building industry, Geody’s dedication to teamwork, attention to detail, adaptability, critical thinking and awareness of surroundings are all ideal for what he does every day. He knows how to make the best use of available equipment/resources to accomplish tasks, which is completely applicable to what he does every day in managing equipment, maintenance and asset/lifecycle management.

Scheduling Engineer Sam Curry believes his path to Kitchell was blind luck. He left for boot camp after graduating from high school, spending eight years in the infantry with four deployments before being medically retired in 2015.

“I was in my last semester at ASU, studying supply chain management,” Sam said. “I explored countless career paths when an individual who was my recruiter in the Marine Corps reached out to me via LinkedIn and asked if I was interested in a career at Kitchell, and the rest is history.”

Sam echoes many of Geody’s comments about why a career in the building industry is a great fit for Veterans, including operational planning, personal skills and overall mindset.

“I didn’t have technical skills that translated, except maybe digging trenches,” said Sam. “I can dig a trench like it’s nobody’s business. But what really helps are the personal skills, especially when external factors beyond our control begin to take effect.”

Safety Coordinator Drew Timon was working for a consultant that specialized in workplace injuries and response, assigned to a light rail project in San Diego. He was the on-site medic for two years, which was a natural transition from his duty as a combat medic for the 1st Calvary Division of the Army.

“I definitely had a ‘take care of others’ mentality, which is what I’ve been doing for 15 years,” Drew said. “I know how to respond under pressure, handle emergency situations and am attentive to detail. I’m looking at all aspects of the job, safety-wise. In the military you also learn to work with very diverse groups – there are people from all walks of life and backgrounds – the military prepares you for that.”

Drew appreciates Kitchell’s ongoing investment in his professional development, especially after feeling like he had hit a ceiling in what he could do in terms of emergency medical response.

“Kitchell has a great support system,” he said. “We put a lot into training. In just a year since I started, I’ve already attended several OSHA trainings, have an appointment to take a certification exam and have had to pay nothing out-of-pocket. I’m permitted time in my schedule to train and work on my own development to improve the company. Kitchell puts its money where its mouth is.”

We thank our Kitchell Veterans for bringing their love of country and dedication to service to Kitchell. Happy Veterans Day.

Are you a Veteran, or know of a Veteran who is interested in a career in the building industry? Look at our open positions.

Kitchell Senior Project Engineer is part of Supergirl team working on Chandler parking garage

As Kitchell Contractors builds the Catalina Street parking garage, hardison/downey builds the Novus parking garage and Kitchell CEM manages the largest parking garage in the City of Chandler, Kitchell is in some way involved in three major parking structures taking shape throughout metropolitan Phoenix. The City of Chandler recently marked a big milestone with its topping out, while recognizing the contributions of a team uniquely comprised of many women, including Kitchell CEM Senior Project Engineer Ashlee Pounds.

Kitchell CEM Senior Project Engineer Ashlee Pounds

“We poured the last part of five floors of concrete parking deck (16 separate pours in total) and celebrated the hard work of the team,” Ashlee said. “We didn’t miss one scheduled date for the pours, which is rare on a job this size. One issue we recognized early on was the approaching summer heat, so we started the pours at midnight with a noise variance and actively communicated with all the neighbors.”

Ashlee may consider her role par for the course, but the City of Chandler took notice of the female dominance of the building team and actively promoted their participation in community newspapers and a TV news story that aired recently. In addition to Ashlee, the client, general contractor and structural engineer are all young building professionals, who also happen to be female. Ashlee has been part of the team since the design phase and works closely with the project team on the day-to-day tasks, sitting in on the budget discussions and meetings.

“Seeing females in hard hats is less an anomaly today than it has been, but we are still definitely in the minority,” Ashlee was quoted as saying in the SanTan Sun News. “There are more and more women coming into our industry and finding that sun and dirt isn’t only for the boys.”

While working on this project, Ashlee also achieved her professional civil engineering license. She fell into project management after obtaining her degree in mining engineering from the University of Arizona, but realized mining engineering wasn’t going to hold her interest for very long. “That lifestyle – middle of nowhere, no grocery stores nearby – wasn’t for me.” She started with a civil design job but knew she didn’t want to be tied to a desk, and fortuitously ended up at Kitchell.

“It’s a good day when I’m up, walking around and seeing the progress made around me,” she said. “You really see the hard jobs when you’re on-site – the carpenters and concrete guys put in so much effort and it shows in the quality. Being around that hard work every day inspires me to put that effort into everything I do – both inside and outside of work.”

By just going about her job and without recognizing her unique role in this project, Ashlee is inherently demonstrating our Kitchell values of quality and integrity.