The Buzz

Nancy Wolthuis, Calder Richards Consulting Structural Engineers

How long have you worked at your company? 
8 years            

How would you describe your role/job? 
Herding cats 24/7. Just kidding. As most of you in the industry know, this career requires tremendous organizational and leadership skills. I manage all direct and indirect marketing activities and play a key role in securing project leads and strategizing project pursuits with our partners.

What are the rewards of your job? 
One of the most favorite aspects of my job is training and guiding our junior staff in the nuances of marketing and business development. Their thirst for learning this soft skill is almost unquenchable. My age brings to them wisdom and experience gained from 35 years in the biz, while their youth broadens my perspective and knowledge of a rapidly, ever-changing world, particularly with regard to technology. It’s a beautiful relationship.

What are your challenges? 
Helping others to be the best they can be, both professionally and personally, as they have helped me. It’s a challenge, but also what brings me joy.

What has been your most meaningful project? 
I would like to expand this to my most meaningful favorite project sector. When I first joined Calder Richards, I realized they had a wealth of past, but older project experience with the K-12 sector. I focused on that as our first major business development goal, and now, through the hard work and talent of our team, we have become a leader in this area.

How long have you been an SMPS member? 
30 years

What is your role in SMPS?
I have been on the Programs Committee for 8 years.

How has SMPS membership helped you? 
OMG, where do I begin...SMPS networking has been instrumental for my career growth. I have learned so much from our local SMPS leaders and volunteers: Julee, Fran, Heidi, Travis, Aaron, Tom and many others that are now retired. There is enough work for all of us, and we are stronger together than we are working separately to advance our personal and professional goals. I have never met so many talented people that are so generous with their time to help others.

What’s the best career advice you’ve received? 
The importance of a career for women so they are able to financially self-support. Life can throw one a lot of lemons (death or divorce from a primary income earner), but if one has a skill that translates to income and job security, and is a joy to do, then it is much easier to make lemonade.

What’s the best career advice you’ve given? 
See the above! Also, always do what brings you joy. This career can be very demanding, as you all know, but if you love it, then it brings positive, not negative stress. I think psychic income is so much more important than one’s financial income. So stay nimble, reduce debt as much as possible, keep your skills honed, and your network strong.

What has contributed to your success? 
SMPS big time. With 35 years of experience in the industry along with SMPS, I have developed the skills and network to help firms grow. Also, I had to bounce back from significant personal tragedies. Those experiences helped me to understand the importance of surrounding myself with strong, authentic, talented, and kind people. It also has taught me to be the same.

What’s on your bucket list? 
To wash my windows. I don’t really have a bucket list. I encourage myself to do what I want, when I want, because I need to have items on my to-do list completed!

What was your childhood dream? 
To one day reunite with my family that was separated when we were children. The dream came true. We are so close now, that when we get together from far-flung reaches of the U.S., we can’t get through a doorway because we always have our arms around each other.

Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without? 
I have an insatiable curiosity for the world we live in—so, I would have to say, my laptop.

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