Career Spotlight: Get to Know Kelli

a project manager working for Western Allied Mechanical

The first job I helped project engineer was at Stanford. I learned so much in a short time.

Kelli Riley

Hometown: San Francisco, California

I live with: My roommate and my dog Red.

Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering from San Jose State University.

Year in the Industry: Six – I was offered a full time position in the Engineering department after interning for Westen Allied Mechanical the entire previous year.

My main responsibilities are: Planning the project before construction, managing and supporting the field throughout construction, and seeing the job through completion until it is turned over to the end client.

# of promotions since I started: Three. I began as a design engineer and had the opportunity to become a project engineer on a couple of the projects I had designed. After getting more experience under my belt, I became a project manager.

My job is: Fast paced. There’s always a new challenge to overcome at every project.

My first ever job was: I was the cashier at a burger restaurant in San Carlos called Pudley’s.

My favorite subject in high school was: I loved almost all of my classes but I despised writing long essays! 

To be good at my job you need to: Flexible and capable of multitasking.

My favorite part of my job is: Working closely with my field crews to make sure the project is progressing as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

My least favorite part is: Mid-morning unexpected fire drills which disrupt the flow of the day. I would prefer it first thing in the morning.

How I got my start in the industry: My father is a sheet metal worker so I grew up hearing a lot of stories from the field perspective. In college I was at a career fair and saw the SMACNA booth. I was in a rush, but intrigued. After speaking for a few minutes, SMACNA found out my connection to the industry through my dad and helped me get an internship at Western Allied a couple of months later – and the rest is history.

My advice to someone considering coming into this industry is: Ask questions and learn as much as you can, especially when you first begin.

My favorite project was: I’ve had so many favorite jobs. They all had unique, major challenges. The first job I got to help project engineer was at Stanford. Not only was I the original design engineer but it also had a really tight schedule to meet. I learned so much in such a short time. We were able to meet this schedule and make the client happy with our work.

Proudest work accomplishment: I was able to help on a huge project for our company and played a major role in the support it required to make it successful.

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