When the pandemic hit in 2020, it upended workplaces around the world.
Companies had to shift their operations on a dime to keep workers safe and constantly adapt to changing guidelines from health officials. At J.F. Ahern, one of the people charged with staying on top of these developments was Kelci Berndt.
Berndt, a safety specialist at the firm, made sure that her business partners could continue operating in the field despite the challenges created by the pandemic.
“She stepped up during a time of need to support employees during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sierra Trojan, internal communications specialist at Ahern. “In addition to her regular job duties, she joined the Ahern COVID-19 Response Team and was instrumental in planning and communicating ever-changing guidelines to keep our employees safe.
“Her regular safety work never faltered even while she was taking calls from employees on our COVID-19 hotline in the middle of the night and on weekends.”
Berndt has also shown leadership in bringing in new employees. She always has time to field questions and help new hires adapt to the construction industry.
“When I came to Ahern, I knew absolutely nothing about the corporate world — let alone construction or safety,” said her colleague, Kenzie Klug. “Kelci not only made me feel welcome at Ahern immediately but took the time during the first few weeks to explain things about Ahern to me that no one else really took the time to explain.”
Berndt credits two mentors at Ahern for her success: Dustin Rusch and Krista Ebbens. Both were instrumental in helping her advance in her career with the safety team at Ahern, where she started around seven years ago as an administrative assistant.
“There has not been any two years that have been the same,” she said. “I am constantly learning and growing myself professionally and personally, and the possibilities are endless.”