Keegan Richard began her career in video production but was inspired to join the construction industry by her parents, who worked in construction for 16 years. Her role as a Project Administrator (PA) in West Virginia for Sundt’s Industrial Group is crucial to the day-to-day operations of a jobsite. She’s been with Sundt for just over a year and has already found her footing in this integral role.
Tell us about your career journey and how you landed at Sundt.
My career is vastly different from where I started, but I’m so glad I’m here. I majored in Spanish and linguistics and initially wanted to be a teacher. Circumstances led me to work for a video production company for nine years, where I was the director of educational programming. My parents worked in construction, and the industry intrigued me, so I applied for a safety administration role that I worked in for five years. Sundt offered me a position as a PA, and I’ve been in this role in West Virginia for just over a year.
What do you think will keep you in the industry, or with Sundt?
From the get-go, I felt supported from my team and my boss, Sr. Project Manager Brian McCloud, and have developed great working relationships with not only him, but our Procurement Manager, Project Engineer and our Field Engineers. To feel comfortable and respected by the people I work with is a top priority for me, so I knew I’d be sticking around for those reasons alone. I also realized the employee-ownership opportunity with Sundt would contribute to my quality of life in the long run.
Beyond that, my role as a PA puts me in close contact with our craft workforce on a daily basis, especially helping them navigate our various benefits. Sundt has the best craft benefits in the industry, and that really impressed me because our projects would be nothing without them.
“When I first joined Sundt, I had a lot of questions. Everyone I reached out to was kind and willing to help. I immediately knew Sundt’s culture was positive and the people I work with demonstrate this supportive attitude every single day.”
—Keegan Richard, Project Administrator
What does your role look like as a Project Administrator?
This role is responsible for ensuring our people, vendors and subcontractors get paid. On our project, we have 105 employees, and I handle the logistics for payroll and new hires. I also follow up with subcontractors and vendors on agreements and invoices. The best part of my job is problem solving. It’s like a puzzle and I love it.
How do you support craft employees on site?
I love communicating with our craft workforce. I’m their direct contact for any payroll, benefits, or HR questions; I make sure our craft know I’m available to help them with any questions outside of the field. I meet with anywhere from five to 10 craft employees each week, helping them navigate benefits, time off and our various systems. When I can’t help, I greatly appreciate the support I’ve been given from our Benefits and Payroll departments as I continue to learn. I also speak Spanish, which is crucial to building trust and relationships with many of our employees.
You’ve mentioned that this jobsite has a close-knit community. What do you think has contributed to establishing that?
Definitely our people. We have some amazing leaders who lead by example every day. From our safety program, to respect and philanthropy, everyone is engaged in creating a positive culture. Since we’re in a small town in a remote location, giving has become a huge focus for our site. We create opportunities for our teams to give back to the community, and our superintendents are big champions of those efforts. In April we hosted an Easter food drive and collected 1,182 items for the Blackwater Ministerial Association food pantry. I’ve learned that people want to give back, you just need to give them the opportunity to do so.
As a woman in the field, what do you think our industry can do to continue uplifting women in construction?
Support and opportunity are the keys to feeling like you belong somewhere. It’s important that we see women occupying higher roles; this encourages other women to be part of the industry when they see they have opportunities to advance. We have a woman on site who began as a cleaner and is now a general foreperson; she was given the support of her boss and it led to building her career. These opportunities are very common at Sundt.
If you’re interested in advancing your career with Sundt, check out our current openings.