Founder’s Day 2020: connecting to our communities in new ways

In the spirit of all things in 2020 – the way we marked this year’s Founder’s Day was very different! Our events engaged more volunteers and brought out our Kitchell creativity in unexpected ways.

Events included remote activities at home with family and friends and traditional activities we’ve done in years past but with safety protocols to ensure safe social distancing. We packed emergency food boxes, cleaned up parks, donated blood and had several other events to engage with our communities. Among the highlights:

  • Improvements at Hartsong Ranch animal sanctuary in Greenwood, CA – among the many projects accomplished by our team of 15 volunteers were moving hundreds of rocks in a pasture that had been churned up by livestock, installing a drain/gutter system and overseeing an “extreme bathroom makeover” by transforming a port-a-potty into an old, authentic outhouse!
  • Blanket drive for Banner Desert NICU – one of our project engineers spearheaded this drive to collect blankets for babies in the NICU where their son spent time after he was born. More than 25 blankets were donated!
  • Circle the City Kindness Kits – Kitchell and American Refrigeration Supplies (ARS) volunteers created survival kits for people who are experiencing homelessness. All together we assembled about 450 kits with inspirational messages.
  • Speaking of ARS, they made an extra effort to secure participation in every one of their regions and achieved 100%! In addition to the Circle the City Kindness Kits, they provided 353 survival kits to the Salvation Army and have a scheduled event at Feed My Starving Children in October that will include family members.
  • Toy assembly for Valley of the Sun United Way – 250 children at United Way partner agencies will have fun toys to entertain themselves after Kitchell volunteers (and family members) worked hard to build and decorate mini soccer games and vanity kits.
  • Food banks – we helped pack and distribute emergency food supplies at St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank, Feeding America, Central California Food Bank and Stockton Food Bank.
  • We also cleaned parks, did landscaping projects, worked at shelters and clothes

A big, big thanks to all of you who participated. Although many activities are still underway (some remote through October) our summary includes 440-plus Kitchell volunteers (not including family members), nearly 1,400 hours contributed and donations of $34,500 to nonprofits in our communities.

Here is a full list of the organizations benefiting from our participation:

  • Habitat for Humanity San Jose
  • St. Vincent de Paul – Oakland Shelter
  • ALS San Diego Chapter
  • California Hospital Medical Center of Dignity Health
  • Mary’s Kitchen in Orange County
  • Feeding America – Inland Empire
  • Glean SLO
  • Central Valley Food Bank
  • Stockton Food Bank
  • Ranger Road
  • Lifting Up Our Foster Youth
  • San Diego Blood Bank
  • Vitalant
  • Crystal Pier
  • Salvation Army
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Valley of the Sun United Way
  • Operation Gratitude
  • Assistance League of Phoenix – Operation School Bell
  • St. Mary’s Food Bank
  • United Food Bank
  • Banner Desert
  • Ogden City School Foundation
  • Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative
  • Sacramento Food Bank
  • Placer High School
  • Hartsong Animal Ranch Sanctuary

Wendy Cohen named President of Kitchell CEM

Wendy Cohen was recently named President of Kitchell CEM, assuming leadership of the largest Construction Management firm in Sacramento.

“Since Wendy joined Kitchell she has impressed us with her ability to collaborate and lead,” said Kitchell Corporation CEO Jim Swanson. “She has grown our presence in California, mentored hundreds of industry professionals and demonstrates the potential of women in our industry to lead at the highest levels.”

Kitchell CEM is consistently listed as the largest Construction Management Firm in the Sacramento Business Journal as ranked by construction management revenue. The company has more than 300 employees spanning California, Arizona, Utah, Iowa, Indiana and Texas.

Cohen moves into the role vacated by longtime President Russ Fox as part of a planned transition. Fox will retire from Kitchell at year-end after 34 years with the company, the past 12 years in the role of President. She is the first female to be named president of one of Kitchell’s five operating companies in the company’s 70-year history.

During her 26-year career in the building industry, Cohen has worked as general contractor, construction manager, consultant and an owner. Her experience leading high-performance teams helped to grow Kitchell’s presence throughout California, including large building programs on behalf of UC San Diego, MiraCosta Community College District and the Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Works. She played an instrumental role in securing Kitchell’s work with the single-largest state building project in the history of Sacramento: the Richards Boulevard Office Complex. Kitchell is also managing the Department of General Services O Street Project and the Sacramento Community Center Theatre.

Cohen is a trusted advisor in the construction management field, facilitating numerous industry panels on collaborative business models for construction, the current status of the industry and how to be an owner of choice.

Cohen joined Kitchell in 2013 when the company wanted to grow its footprint in the Southern California market. With her native San Diego roots and experience as the Director of Facilities Planning and Construction with Palomar Health, she had healthcare expertise and a valuable client-side perspective. This helped establish a trusted rapport with clients and respect among her direct reports. She is a sought-out internal mentor for her ability to foster the development of up and coming leaders within Kitchell and continues to chart a successful path for women in the building industry.