With a mom who was the first woman in the Connecticut plumber’s union and a dad who was a concrete finisher, Kelley Shawchuk knew early on that she wanted to work in construction.
She started at Gilbane in 2012 as an intern. After earning her bachelor’s degree in construction management, she returned to Gilbane full time in 2015.
Shawchuk’s experience includes work on higher education, K-12, manufacturing and industrial, commercial and transportation projects.
“I like that the work is always changing,” she said. “Every two years you get a new project with a new set of plans and you’re working with a new team. It’s also cool that you can access areas and pull back the curtain,” she said, adding she has worked behind the scenes in an airport and a submarine base.
Her recent projects include the 600,000-square-foot HARIBO Great Lakes Pleasant Prairie factory and a 1 million-square-foot fabrication plant at the Wisconsin Valley Science & Technology Park project in Mount Pleasant.
“On the job, Kelley is a great team member and the type of person who makes construction projects successful,” said Tom Holzheimer, senior project executive. “Her consistency, attention to detail and high results are noticed by clients, trade partners and industry leaders.”
Shawchuk acknowledged it can be intimidating for women to work in construction but said she still encourages them to bring their distinct perspectives to the industry.
“It’s an advantage to have that diversity in a project because it brings different things to the table,” she said. “I feel like people really take care of you in this industry and it’s a really nice group of people.”
An ACE mentor working with area high school students interested in the industry, Shawchuk has also volunteered for the annual Milwaukee RiverKeeper Spring Cleanup.