Women in Construction Week: Kelly Chalmers
Kelly Chalmers is a Project Manager currently managing multiple projects at Seattle Children’s Hospital with Sellen’s Special Projects department. Through her thirteen years at Sellen, Kelly has seen the transformation of the construction industry first-hand and enjoyed every moment of growth!
What drew you to the construction industry?
My family owned a commercial masonry restoration company. In a way, I was born into the industry. As a child, I knew I wanted to be a project manager – from that moment on, the construction industry has been a part of my life.
How long have you been with Sellen, and how has your role changed over time?
I started at Sellen thirteen years ago as a project assistant. While I had previous construction knowledge, it was in a subcontractor role. Starting as a project assistant provided me with the ability to learn more about the general contracting side of construction. In this role, I was able to grow my technical skills, learning the trades and how each trade plays a supportive role that works together to complete the overall project. Through the years, I’ve worked several roles, building up to fulfilling my goal of being a project manager.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
No two days that are the same, keeping me on my toes and providing me with great challenges. I’m fully engaged at all times, discovering great rewards along the way. I enjoy every moment of every day. In addition, I love driving around the city with my family and seeing all of the buildings that I’ve had some part in constructing. It’s very rewarding to help shape the community around me.
What do you enjoy most about working at Sellen?
Sellen has such incredibly talented people that work here. Everyone takes pride in their work and treats it with the utmost respect. Working around incredibly talented and gifted people is such a blessing.
What has made Sellen a great place for you to work and grow throughout your time here?
Sellen is very supportive in helping people to further their education to take the next steps toward their future role and helping people to get the training needed for them to grow. Sellen has women in every position in the construction industry – they’ve opened doors and broke boundaries throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Advice for women in the industry or interested in the industry?
There’s no path for anyone that’s off-limits. Don’t ever think that you can’t be a part of whatever path you want in the industry because of limitations. There’s nothing you can’t do, continue to reach for your goals. Don’t sell yourself short!
How has the industry changed over time?
The industry is incredibly unique. People are such creative thinkers in how they approach problems, means and methods, a design approach, etc. We continue to find very creative ways to problem-solve. The talent and knowledge that project teams provide is incredible.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
At Seattle Children’s, I get to be a part of creating the latest technology in healthcare for kids. It’s incredible for me to be a part of the next-level of care and technology in healthcare. Providing children and their families with safe and clean spaces to heal and grow. It’s humbling and gratifying to be out here.
What made you want to go into the construction industry?
I loved it. I’ve been in the industry for several decades. It doesn’t change, it just gets better year after year, and I love being a part of shaping my community. To some extent, I am obsessed with it. It brings me life, and I love it!
Words of Wisdom:
Be present and follow the three “L’s”: look, listen, and learn. Meaning get out on the job site and be there to absorb everything going on around you. You can learn so much just by being present – just engage and learn. Your ideas are great ideas. Never sell yourself short.