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Construction Dive: Meet AECOM Hunt Kasie Mathena in Chicago

Construction Dive: Meet AECOM Hunt Kasie Mathena in Chicago

 April 10, 2024

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Vice President & General Manager of AECOM Hunt, Kasie Mathena, participated in an insightful digital round table hosted by Construction Dive, a leading industry publication covering topics such as commercial building, residential building, green building, design, deals, regulations and more.

The event saw five women construction leaders discussing inclusion, overcoming stereotypes, market dynamics, and what sets Chicago apart when it comes to construction. A great event with lots of fabulous conversation!

As head of AECOM Hunt's Chicago office, Kasie is at the forefront of the local construction industry. Given construction’s general reputation as being a male-dominated sector, women have been making positive strides into key management roles. This gain in women leaders in construction is particularly apparent in the third-largest metro area in the United States - Chicago. 

Kasie and her peers spoke with Construction Dive about their individual backgrounds, their work, and offered advice for women construction professionals.

Leveraging knowledge to support projects in Chicago

AECOM Hunt Vice President

Kasie is a Vice President in AECOM’s Construction Management business. With over $1 billion of construction oversight, she has extensive knowledge of numerous forms of construction including ground up, phased, renovation, and expansions. Having spent the last 10 years of her career in Chicago, Kasie is keenly familiar with the Chicago market and leverages her knowledge to support many of the City’s projects.

Kasie is also Vice President and Founding Board Member of the Chicago Chapter of Professional Women in Construction.

Working in a male-dominated space

During the digital round table event, Construction Dive raised the issue of the industry being predominantly male and asked why there is a concentration of women construction leaders within Chicago. Kasie suggested that "Women who have made it in construction tend to demonstrate characteristics of grit and mental fortitude by virtue of being female in a male-dominated construction space. When you combine this toughness with Chicago being a progressive city that has evolved to see the value of women beyond more traditional female-oriented careers, the result is highly capable people, often women, leading organizations," explained Kasie.

Appreciating the construction industry from an early age

The panelists were asked to share some insight into their own specific backgrounds and stories, including how they got into the field of construction.

"My father was a self-taught residential exterior siding and roofing contractor. I would go to work with him in the summer starting at six years old until I was about 14. There was something from those experiences and observations that has pushed me to really appreciate what I like most about our industry — the opportunity to use both sides of my brain. I started in the industry in earnest at 19 through internships and part-time work and never looked back," said Kasie.

Collectively working to increase diversity

When asked what her current outlook for construction in Chicago is, Kasie suggested: "In Chicago, we have not been hit as hard with the trade labor shortage challenges many parts of the rest of the country have experienced. However, our market needs to collectively work toward getting more women and people of color in the trades."

Capitalizing on strengths and learning the craft

The round table concluded with the panelists sharing their advice for other women who are in, or want to enter, the industry to embark on a career in construction.

"Get rid of self-limiting beliefs and know yourself very well. Capitalize on your strengths, but know your weaknesses and use them as a resource to learn. If you know yourself, work hard, learn the craft and have an insatiable curiosity, the sky's the limit in our industry," shared Kasie.

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