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Women in Construction Week: Interview with Jenn Luckert

Jenn Luckert is a Project Engineer in KBE’s Maryland office.  She started her career in construction when she was just 17 years old and is currently pursuing her associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County (did we say while working full-time at KBE?).

What is the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced in getting to where you are?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far if figuring out the direction that I want to go in.  There are so many paths you can take in this industry – whether it’s accounting, operations, estimating – you can pretty much do anything.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact path I want to take. 
Another big challenge I’ve faced so far is learning to trust myself, especially as a women in construction.  It’s very hard for me to go to a job site and tell grown men what they should be doing on site.  I’ve only been doing this six years and many of them have been in the industry 30+ years.  There is always the fear of ‘are they going to respect me and my direction?’ in the back of my mind.

What advice would you have for other women pursuing a degree in this industry?
My advice would be to network and ask questions.  Meet as many people as you can and pick their brains.  That’s how you learn – from other people and their experiences.

What resources helped you out the most – a mentor, education, or hands-on experience?
At my last company, I worked with a woman named Pam, who was like a mentor to me.  She taught me everything from how to work with other people, to realizing where I belong, and really showed me the complete picture of the construction industry.  We still talk occasionally to catch-up and share ideas.  She helped me with the foundation of my career, and I couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative.
My education has helped me a lot.  I’m currently enrolled in the Community College of Baltimore County, and all my professors work in this industry.  They share their stories and lessons learned in class, which has been extremely helpful.  When you hear someone else’s story, you take note and remember them moving forward, you don’t make the same mistakes.

Why did you choose a career in construction?
I honestly fell into it.  I went to a vocational high school, where I was on the Business Management track.  In my senior year, the school gave students the option of gaining hands-on work experience, and I of course jumped at the opportunity.  They needed someone to work at a company called Hirsch Electric.  So, I met with the owner and fell in love with the company.  I started working with blueprints and other hands-on construction-related items.  I realized that this is what I really liked.  I wanted to see everything, not just the electrical trade.  I wanted to see how buildings came together.

Jenn Luckert on the job site

What impact do you hope to leave on the industry?
I hope to be a role model for young women and show them to not be afraid to step into a male dominated world.  One person that comes to mind is Rosa Marques (KBE Project Manager).  Rosa is not afraid to say what is on her mind and what needs to be done.  People like her have shown me that I can do that, as well.

What is your favorite part of your career?
Knowing that I will never become bored.  New projects, new people, new companies – no one day will ever be the same.  One day you’re putting out a bunch of fires, the other day it’s a little more relaxed.  I also know that my career is going to be a long one.  I mean, in the sense that I have not yet accomplished my goals.  I’m not entirely sure of the specifics of these goals, but I know that a lot lies ahead of me…and that excites me.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field since you started?
Definitely the use of technology, like BIM, 3D modeling.

How has KBE supported you as a women in construction?
KBE has helped me in so many ways, from supporting me through a professional development program with ABC, to putting me through the KBE Leadership Challenge in 2018.  There are so many amazing people who work for this company that I have had the opportunity to work with one-on-one.  KBE and everyone who works here have been a great support system.

Jenn shows off her ABC Certificate with KBE Principal Eric Brown (retired)

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