Career Ready: McKinstry

Hear from McKinstry employees about their career paths and some advice they have for today’s students.

Students in Washington state have many career paths available to them after they graduate high school, and learning about potential jobs they might pursue is an important part of preparing for their futures.

In this Ready Washington video, students can get a window into several career paths at McKinstry, a Washington company with a wide mix of career jobs.

Established in 1960, McKinstry is a full-service design, build, operate, and maintain firm with 2,000 employees and approximately $500 million in annual revenue. The South Seattle firm partners with clients across the spectrum, from government to health care to industrial sectors,  to “efficiently develop, engineer, deliver and operate the built environment.”

“We have a large professional staff, but we also have 1,200 unionized craftspeople out in the field,” said McKinstry CEO Dean Allen.

Heather Helgen has been with McKinstry for 10 years. Her career began with an internship at a local construction firm. Since then, she has been a project engineer, a project manager, and is now a construction services manager. Her advice to students? Learn how to communicate well with others.

​Ashley Williams is a sheet metal journeyman who went through a  five-year apprenticeship program. Success in her career begins with a strong understanding of math. “It is pretty basic math, but there is a lot of math,” Williams said.

​The many different career paths at McKinstry are indicative of Washington state as a whole. A recent report found that Washington employers anticipate 740,000 job openings over the next five years. A majority of those jobs will require a postsecondary credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. In Washington, the “Career and College Ready” high school diploma is the bridge to any number of options, whether those be college, training, or work.

Dean Allen knows the future is bright for Washington kids, especially those who plan their paths early. “The sooner kids can understand that they can do it, and they can achieve it, and they find something that’s exciting, the sooner they’ll be driving their own educational progress.”