There is no denying Kathleen Vanderstappen is a self-starter.Since joining Mortenson Construction three years ago as a project engineer, she has earned three promotions.
“There are new challenges every day, and you are always learning something new,” said Vanderstappen, who in her current role as a design-phase manager helps customers on the front end of construction. “Every project and customer is different as are the trade partners you are working with, but in every case I take the project and run with it.”
Vanderstappen loves the industry’s fast pace.
“With every project, I expand my skill sets,” she said. “I have been fortunate to learn a lot about leadership from my mentors along the way.”
Since joining Mortenson, Vanderstappen has worked on Uline’s distribution center and convention center and Aurora Health’s clinic in Oak Creek. On both projects, she earned Mortenson’s internal Pinnacle Awards.
For Uline’s distribution center, Vanderstappen was responsible for scheduling, planning quality control and managing customer relationships. As the assistant project manager for the company’s convention center, she worked with the owner and design team to overcome various obstacles. Vanderstappen next led a team in the construction of the new three-story Aurora clinic in Oak Creek.
“Kathleen has quickly become one of our most trusted project managers,” said Kurt Theune, a design-phase executive at Mortenson. “Her ability to dive in and lead the Oak Creek team has established a level of trust with our customer that has proven to be a great experience for all involved on the project.”
For the Aurora clinic, Vanderstappen helped coach an all-female project team. With women making up just 9 percent of the construction workforce, Theune said that opportunity was remarkable.
Vanderstappen’s leadership does not end at the job site. She served as co-chair of Mortenson’s young professional’s group in 2017, providing employees an opportunity to work with their peers, discuss various important matters and gain experience that will help in their careers.
“I really enjoy having that internal work network especially when you are working on a project, like Uline, where you are out of the Milwaukee offices,” she said. “I also enjoy learning more about other parts of the company that I normally don’t interact with.”