Michele Cartwright had a journalism background but wanted a change, so she started working as a painting estimator and project manager for her uncle.
Working for family had its hard parts, however, so she went on to oversee the paint department at Olympic Wall Systems for nine years before joining Common Links Construction.
In 2018, Cartwright became vice president of operations and now works on everything from human resources, worker’s comp and insurance purchases, as well as meets with owners, bankers and bonding agents. She also helps other project managers become successful team members and maintains CLC’s work-in-progress report.
“Michele is a trusted, fair-minded builder of people. She has been the leader of our Paint Services from the beginning,” said President Rick Murphy. “She is very organized and has a lot of energy to keep our company on track.”
With nearly 30 years in construction, Cartwright has seen the industry change in many ways, including in its efforts to recruit women to be designers, architects, painters, carpenterrs, electricians, plumbers and more.
“My most memorable time in my career was when I was awarded a project at Froedtert Hospital with Mortenson Construction. I went to a pre-install meeting with the project team and was surprised and excited to see that the project manager, project engineer and even the superintendent were all women,” she said.
The mother of four once had the idea that a college degree was always best, but no longer necessarily thinks that way.
“Both of my boys are in the trades and make a great living,” she said. “They have
no college debt. One of them bought a home at 20 years old. My oldest daughter is in the service industry and also makes a great living. Only my third went to college, but always had a path to be a doctor.”
Cartwright has been involved in the Painting Contractor Association, AGC of Greater Milwaukee and the ACEA.