Best Person for the Job – Kaitlyn Eaton

Meet Salt Lake chapter member Kaitlyn Eaton

Ask Kaitlyn Eaton what gets her excited about her career in the construction industry and she answers enthusiastically, “The technology! There is so much development in technology that will greatly improve the construction industry and attract more women. Technology improves traditionally labor-intensive tasks, it creates new types of opportunities and positions, and makes careers in construction more accessible.”

As Sr. Implementation Specialist for Big-D Construction in Salt Lake City, UT, Eaton manages discovery and implementation projects for new technology. That means she works with people all across the company—leadership, project teams, corporate support—to find tools that are effective and provide ROI for the company. She also maintains and adjusts standards and processes to improve outcomes. Eaton loves finding creative solutions to challenging situations and to provide her colleagues with tools and resources to make their job easier.

Like many women, Eaton began her construction career in the office, starting as an HR administrator for Big-D Construction six years ago. As she continued to grow in HR, she found herself focusing on HR specific technology and implementing new tools and processes. The HR Director saw that her growth would peak within HR and suggested a career change to the Technology Department.

When Eaton first started in the technology department, the company did not have a standard process for the discovery and implementation of new technologies. Often, IT would not hear about software being used until there was an issue with it.

“It was incredibly intimidating to be tasked with creating these processes and standards,” she says. “It took a lot of research and training and lessons learned, and we will continue to revise and improve, but I’m really proud of having been able to create something from nothing.”

As a woman in construction, Eaton has found that one of her greatest challenges has been having people trust that she knows what she’s talking about. For instance, she has a male Implementation Specialist who reports to her, and there have been times when others will defer to him as the authority by default.

What Eaton didn’t expect was the support and encouragement from her male coworkers, peers, and leaders. “They’re invested in me and my career and my success and are always willing to give me advice and guidance and encouragement. I hope to one day be in the same position to provide that for many more women in the industry,” she says.

 NAWIC has been a natural fit for her growth as a female leader in the construction industry. Since joining NAWIC, Eaton has served as Salt Lake Chapter President, Vice President, and Director. She has also been the Pacific Southwest Region WIC Week Chair and Marketing Chair and the National WIC Week Co-Chair.

“Before I had the opportunity to be a manager and leader in my company, I was managing projects within NAWIC. I was leading meetings and speaking in front of large groups of people. I was learning conflict resolution. I was learning to be confident in my skills and take charge. I was learning to have patience and kindness with myself and others. I was learning how to delegate. All these and so many more things have been crucial, and I am so grateful to have had the space to learn them alongside my work responsibilities.”

Big-D Construction encourages NAWIC involvement from its female employees. The company pays for NAWIC membership, meetings, and conferences, and sponsors events locally and in the Pacific Southwest region. In addition to supporting NAWIC, the company, recognized as one of Utah’s 100 Companies Championing Women, has implemented paid parental leave and flexible work policies to support working mothers and has focused on providing learning and development opportunities for women.

For women considering a career in construction Eaton says. “You can quite literally be anything you want to be, and even if you change your mind and want to try something else – you can do that to. Any role you have in the industry will just help you even more in the next. There is no better industry to discover your passion because no matter what it is, you can find it here.”

If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized as a Best Person for the Job, contact us today!