January 30, 2019

Q&A with Clark Construction's Ashley Kelly

We sat down with Clark’s Ashley Kelly, senior project manager on our Long Beach Civic Center project, who was recently named as one of Los Angeles Business Journal’s Most Outstanding Women in Construction.

Ashley, who joined Clark Construction as an estimator in 2011, has played a key role in supporting Clark’s operations on complex projects throughout Southern California, including the Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse, The Forum renovation, and the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal Apron Demolition and Renovation. 

How did you get your start in the construction industry?

When I chose to study Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California, I didn’t expect that it would turn into a career in construction. But after an internship with a construction management company and a general contractor, I am glad that it did! I love the challenges, the people, and being in a position where I learn something new every day.

What is your overall impression of the construction industry?

It is large yet feels very tight-knit. The construction industry promotes those who strive to build and maintain respectful and trusting relationships.

Construction is truly a dynamic industry that consistently challenges you and fosters a group of people that are passionate about their work and impact in the community.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Two accomplishments come to mind.

At the Forum Renovation project, I was brought on to help manage around $30 million in client-driven change orders on a $60 million project. We quickly implemented the changes in the last four months of the project. Also during this project, I supervised and managed the close out of all the food and beverage areas to meet the health inspector’s requirements in advance of the Forum's inaugural concert.

More recently, at the Long Beach Civic Center project, I have been managing the building enclosure that is primarily unitized curtainwall. Between weekly meetings with the design team and our trade contractors and traveling monthly to Tijuana, Mexico to review production, we were able to deliver curtainwall units on time and significantly under budget with timely and successful installation. 

How would you describe the growing role of women in the construction industry?

Since I’ve started with Clark, I have had female bosses and mentors that I looked up to and learned from. I see these women walk into meetings and command respect from their presence and capabilities, no matter the audience.

While the construction industry is inherently perceived as male-dominated, I see more women taking on and striving in prominent roles. It’s self-assuring that it is quickly being realized that good, hard work is what counts. Over the last few years and now, I've seen my female mentors grow and excel in their positions at the company, and it only motivates me to do the same.