March 19, 2024

New Role: Congratulations Brett Kaufman!

Join us in celebrating a significant milestone within our team – it’s with great pleasure to announce Brett Kaufman’s new role as Executive Assistant!

Brett joined Cleary Zimmermann Engineers this past April as Operations Coordinator. Right from the start, Brett’s dedication, work ethic, and radiating positivity stood out. With a decade of prior experience in the environmental consulting & mechanical contracting industry, Brett hit the ground running from day one. She has played a pivotal role in supporting Thomas Watson, PE, Principal of Building MEP, and Trey McDougall, PE, Senior Principal of Industrial MEP.

In December, Brett achieved a significant milestone, stepping into the role of Executive Assistant to the Principals. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her to dive into her experience at Cleary Zimmermann Engineers.

Hi Brett! First off, congratulations on your on your new role! Could you share more about your background at Cleary Zimmermann?

“I started out as an Operations Coordinator and that was primarily assisting on the operational side of construction administration. In previous roles [before Cleary Zimmermann], I have helped out the presidents and principals of different contracting engineering companies.

“[Due to this experience], Thomas, Trey, and I established a good relationship from the start. Toward the end of the year, I was given the option to continue operations or expand my role as an Executive Assistant. We decided that it would be better for me to take my skills from my current position to support the other Principals as well!”

Can you tell us about your new role and responsibilities?

“My new role as Executive Assistant to the Principals will still include operation duties, such as supporting Construction Administration for Kristin, [Director of Operations]. But now it’s more prioritizing the Principals’ time and making sure they stay on top of things.

I’m their back-up.”

Can you explain more about your background in the A/E/C industry?

“I have about 10 years of experience in the environmental and mechanical contracting industry. I was an Administrative Assistant for a contractor for about 7 years. That gave me a lot of experience on the construction side of a company.

It was a bit of a learning curve coming over to Cleary Zimmermann because I didn’t have a lot of experience with [being a consultant to general contractors and architects]. Before that, I had worked for a consulting engineering company, where I wrote proposals and helped out Business Development Principals. Therefore, coming to CZ, I was able to grasp this side of the A/E/C industry.

I’m very detail-oriented. That comes in handy when I proofread for the Principals and make sure that everything looks correct. I have a degree in graphic design, which helps me make sure everything is organized and in place.

I’ve worn many hats in my previous jobs, so I think this was the perfect place for me to land.”

Brett at the 2023 RECSA Community Project, building a walkway for SAMMinistries Traditional Living and Learning Center

How did your previous position at CZ help launch you into your new role?

“Part of my learning curve is needing to know why we are doing things for the company. [My previous role] was a great place for me to start because it answered a lot of questions about what the company does and why we do it. In addition, I learned where we keep all of our files. This was very important on the construction administration side because we need to be able to communicate and the way to do that is storing things in the proper places.

It was a great time for me to learn how the company operates in general. Now that I am more familiarized with the system and Cleary Zimmermann, I can almost read Trey and Thomas’ minds!”

What project are you currently working on now that will bring you into the new year?

“One of the responsibilities I’ve been tasked in doing is QA/QC (quality assurance, quality control), our internal peer review system to verify design requirements prior to delivery of documents. Currently, we are in the process of having our designers getting their work checked. With that, we’re really going to save a lot of money. What we want is someone who is unfamiliar with the project go in and look at these drawings to make sure its correct. That has been a challenge as a whole, and I feel very special that CZ asked me to take over this project and try to figure out the best way to have our entire company be able to figure this out.

It’s still a work in progress but we have excelled so far. It’s been interesting to see how that has progressed and look forward to see how the program works with everyone.”

Have there been specific mentors who influenced your career growth?

“Of course! I would say Kristin has given me so much confidence. Coming to Cleary Zimmermann, my worries just washed away the first day I started here.

Kristin has supported me along the way. She ensures that I have all the tools I have to do my job. It has been really excellent to sit in front of her!”

What advice would you give other people aspiring to advance their careers and secure a promotion?

“You need to be able to trust yourself and ask what it is that you enjoy most about this company. Also, really understand your previous experiences that have gotten you to where you are today.

It’s also about establishing relationships with those you work with. This is one of my favorite parts of this job is that we are a family. This has helped me succeed the most.”

Looking forward, what do you hope to accomplish in your new role? What are your goals for the first year?

“Mainly, it’s really about saving Thomas and Trey time. I’ve been trying to balance their calendar and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Time management wise, I really want to be on top of their schedule and make it easier for them. Both Trey and Thomas work differently, so they need support of managing their space and time to have enough time to work through their projects.

I want to make sure they continue to do well for the company.”

As we reflect on new year promotions, we can’t help but notice the ambition that radiates amongst all our CZers. From effective communication, resource allocation, and team-building, our crew continues to bring new talents and new abilities to the firm. We are eager to step foot into the new year, with ambitious plans for growth!