In our member spotlight, Kimberly Wybenga, proposal and business development coordinator for Mark Young Construction, sat down with SMPS to share the rewards of her career and the best advice she has received.
How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? A previous employer was looking for someone with an English degree and strong writing skills to add to their team and help build up the firm’s communications efforts. I took the job and learned the ropes of the A/E/C industries to make my work background more diverse.
What is a typical day like for you? While no day is typical while you wear so many hats as a proposal, marketer, and business development coordinator, some assignments include creating proposals to respond to RFPs, developing marketing brochures, and preparing and attending job interviews. I also spend time attending conferences and events, delivering proposals and bids, visiting project sites to take photos, planning meetings, posting on social media, and keeping our information up to date in our system.
What are the challenges and rewards of the job? One of the challenges is being the only person in my company to do a multitude of different things. I don’t have a team to lean on if I get too overwhelmed, so I have to pace myself and continuously plan ahead. On the flip side, it is incredibly rewarding knowing you helped the company win a project or networked with a new client to open windows that many didn’t even know existed. It is also rewarding to get to visit a project site after completion and be proud that your company worked on such an important task.
What has been your most meaningful project so far in your career? I would say the most meaningful projects are the ones that are local that you can visit and be proud of. A meaningful project for me currently is a golf clubhouse remodel. This took a lot of effort on my part for meeting and forming the team, preparing dozens of pages of RFP proposal response, and attending the interview with the team to win the job.
Why is membership in SMPS important to you? How has it helped your firm? The networking SMPS offers is invaluable to a firm in the A/E/C industries. You get out of it what you put in and attending events and meeting others has been absolutely wonderful. I also appreciate learning new things whether it be directly from members I’ve met or from learning labs SMPS puts on. Through networking, I have been able to set up meetings with companies and have gained new clients, formed relationships with architects and subconsultants, and broken into the design-build portion of the industries.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received and would like to share with your peers? Life is like a box of chocolates … oh wait, that was from a movie. Never stop learning. The more you know and grow, the more invaluable you will be to a company. And don’t forget to put yourself out there to network no matter what position you are in. You never know who you will meet.
What was your childhood dream job? I always wanted to be a firefighter when I was little. I think I found out how hot fire is and how uncomfortable those heavy firefighter suits are. I also found out my strengths laid elsewhere. I have nothing but respect for those who serve the community.
Guilty Pleasure: What can you not live without? Unwinding with me time, which could include fuzzy socks and comfy sweatpants, watching Moana for the 20th time, and ignoring my phone.