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Meet Trevor Kelly

7/10/2017 9:34 PM CET
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Contributing to two Business Units. Being based in three cities. And having the chance to be part of the Skanska Stretch global leadership development program. When Trevor Kelly was applying to be hired by Skanska nine years ago, about all he knew of Skanska was that it is a “great company” with a big presence in New York City. Since joining us, he has gained broad experiences that are benefiting himself and Skanska – learn from his perspectives on this.

After Trevor Kelly joined Skanska in New York as a field engineer, the water treatment facility projects he worked on challenged him and helped him develop his skills as a construction professional. In 2010, we asked him to move to Los Angeles to help expand our presence there; on the U.S. West Coast, he took on leadership roles on project sites and also with pursuit teams for two major subway expansion projects. Furthermore, he took part in Skanska Stretch, our global leadership development program for employees early in their careers.

Then, his wife was offered a great opportunity for her career in Raleigh, North Carolina, and so they decided to move across the U.S. Skanska’s U.S. civil construction unit – for which he was working – does not have an office in Raleigh, but our U.S. building construction unit does. Fortunately, there was an immediate need for a project manager with Trevor’s expertise.

How have you benefited from your wide range of experiences at Skanska?

A mutual benefit to myself and the company is my broader perspective. That is something you don’t know you’re missing until you have experienced it.

When I was with Skanska in New York, I was at the epicenter of the increased focus on safety with our U.S. infrastructure projects. When I was asked to go to Los Angeles, part of my assignment was to demonstrate and implement safety best practices from our New York region.

Then when I asked to transfer to Raleigh, Skanska’s building unit there was starting a transit center project that included significant heavy civil work, and a new project manager was needed. So I was able to quickly make a contribution on that project with my civil construction experience and expertise.

I have had the opportunity to work with many different types of people and business environments through all of my Skanska experiences. I have gained a wider perspective on our industry that has allowed me to see the bigger picture in most situations. It has taught me how to unite multiple viewpoints and find common ground when solving problems with a group.

What has been the most unexpected learning?

What connects us across Skanska are our values and that we are all builders and developers. The types of contracts and the types of construction may differ, but the skillsets required to be successful are nearly identical.

For instance, in the U.S. Skanska does a lot of self-perform work for civil construction, and a lot of construction management for buildings – two different approaches to construction. But as part of Skanska’s U.S. building construction unit, I am focused on the same things I was when with the civil unit: collaborating with subcontractors, managing change orders, and keeping my customer and my community happy. We are blurring the lines every day between building construction and civil construction. We are so much more alike than I could ever have imagined.

What about Skanska Stretch really stands out to you?

It’s rare that a training or development program put forth by a company truly changes who you are as a person and leaves a lasting impression on your character. Skanska Stretch actually did that for me. The program changed my perspective on everything I knew about leadership and working with different types of people.

For my assignment, I led the development of a tool to help train Skanska’s people about risk and opportunity management. This involved interviewing people all across Skanska globally; leading a team of international consultants; and spending time in Sweden, England and Poland. Then this tool was implemented in our company. It was an awesome experience.

How did you make these opportunities happen for you?

While working in New York, I received two pieces of advice from senior colleagues that I carry with me every day. The first is: “Skanska is a big company, and we are always trying to do the best for you. But you can’t be afraid to push your own destiny.” This colleague went on to say that there would be times I would be on projects I did not like, and I would be in situations that were not fun. But the responsibility was on me as the employee to transform those situations into opportunities to learn new skills and gain different experiences that could enhance my career.

The second piece of advice is more poignant: “Everyone must take out the trash.” It means that no assignment, no task and no opportunity are beneath anyone: They are all important and anything can lead to bigger things if given a chance. These principles are with me each time I encounter a new situation in my career.

The opportunities I have had at Skanska have come from an open mind and pushes from my side, and a recognition of my efforts from Skanska’s side. I think it has worked out really well for both sides.

Last updated: 7/10/2017

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