B.S. Construction Engineering Management, 2010
Growing up, Kelly Aust hadn’t planned on a career in construction management. She earned her first degree in sociology from the University of Portland, but after graduating she realized the field wasn’t a good fit for her.
“The decision to return to school for a second degree was difficult,” Aust said.
As a student at Oregon State, she embraced every opportunity to expand her knowledge and network by engaging in classes and internships and participating in extracurricular activities.
“OSU has great instructors who are fully invested in helping students succeed,” she said. “I took something from every class, and have used it in real-world situations.”
Now, Aust oversees the execution of multi-million-dollar building projects for a broad range of Skanska clients, including Crestline Elementary School, Clark College STEM Building, PDX Concourse E Extension, and Oregon Health & Science University.
“I make a difference every day,” she said. “We improve neighborhoods and communities. I love being a part of that impact.”
She works to ensure that these projects are delivered in both a timely and cost-effective manner.
“Day in and day out, I am excited to come to work,” she said. “There is nothing I would rather do.”
Aust is a strong advocate for encouraging others to join the construction profession and is involved in a variety of associations and activities geared at attracting young people to the industry, with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
In 2018, she was awarded a Rising Star Award from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She is also a charter member of the Skanska Women’s Network Northwest Chapter and is heavily involved with NAWIC, Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., and ACE Mentors.
“Everyone should take the time to figure out who they are so they don’t get stuck on a career path that isn’t working,” she said. “I feel very grateful to have found a home in construction. I get to blend the best parts of myself into a career I love.”