Home / 2012 Newsmakers of the Year / Projects are a labor of love for Oldenburg

Projects are a labor of love for Oldenburg

Roberta Oldenburg, M.A. Mortenson Co. (Photo by Kevin Harnack)

Roberta Oldenburg didn’t plan on working in the construction industry.

After graduating with a degree in architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she wanted to get an inside look at the construction process simply to better understand how buildings come together.

But after that, she was hooked.

“I fell in love with the construction process,” said Oldenburg, now an integrated construction coordinator with M.A. Mortenson Co.’s Brookfield office. “There’s always something new – whether it’s a new project, a new problem to solve. It’s great to see my vision of a project in action.”

Technology plays an integral role in how Oldenburg works. She uses Virtual Design and Construction, Building Information Modeling and 3D/4D visual modeling to manage a project’s overall design.

“I can use the 3D modeling to show what the potential issues could be,” Oldenburg said.

It’s a technique that works well, said Michael Day, a retired senior project executive with Hammes Co., who worked with Oldenburg on the Aurora Medical Center in Summit.

“Roberta is an extremely talented designer who is developing a very solid constructability foundation – she knows how to build what she designs,” he said. “Roberta is a valuable team member who provides solid documentation to superintendents and foremen on sequencing and construction issues.”

While it’s no secret the construction industry is dominated by men, Oldenburg said, if you know what you’re doing and show it, “people will listen and respect you.”

In addition to the Summit project, Oldenburg used her expertise on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s $1 billion Interstate-94 North-South Corridor project. Employing her technology skills, she reviewed the scheduling sequence and modeled new tunnel construction and underground utilities.

Oldenburg, who has been with Mortenson for six years and also is a LEED Accredited Professional, said she enjoys bringing people together on a project.

“I love collaborating with others, but it’s important everyone is at the same table in the same room to talk about the issues that come up,” she said. “It’s all about teamwork. I always say, ‘If one of us fails on a job, we all fail.’”

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