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Continual learning central to Cates’ success

Courtney Cates - J.H. Findorff & Son (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Courtney Cates – J.H. Findorff & Son (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Courtney Cates, a project engineer with J.H. Findorff & Son, says she’s a born learner, someone who is eager to overcome obstacles and attend training sessions and instructional programs.

“I believe everything you’re learning you can then take back to your job site or use it on a future job,” she said. “Construction is a continuous evolving field. I love learning each aspect of the construction industry and believe it will help me become a better rounded professional.”

Beyond getting her bachelor’s degree in construction management at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, she earned her 30-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification, holds a Wisconsin Healthcare Engineering Association Healthcare Construction Certificate and is now enrolled in the Associated General Contractors Supervisory Training Program.

“Courtney excels at diving into project details and knowing each system and product incredibly well,” said Laura Blood-Velotta, MEP project manager at Findorff. “She is not afraid to ask questions and make sure that everyone in the room understands the discussions … she’s an asset in the field because she is easy to work with and very knowledgeable.”

At Findorff, Cates has worked on a variety of prominent projects, such as the culinary-training center at Madison College and the UW Health Rehabilitation Hospital. She’s now working on a 132,826-square-foot lab and manufacturing center for a firm specializing in the development and of life-science technology for use in genetic analysis.

Cates said the Madison College project was particularly difficult since it involved eight different phases, during all of which the school had to continue operating.

“Every day, different challenges happen so you have to be creative through the process,” she said. “I really enjoy my work and getting to work with so many different people.”

Off the job, Cates takes part in various volunteer activities, such as CANstruction, a competition in which architects, engineers, contractors and students design and build structures made entirely from cans of food. At the end of the competition, the food is given to local food banks.

“Findorff strives to do a lot in the community and that provides me with opportunities to get involved, too,” she said.

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