Keeley'n Spotlight: Austin Smith
Keeley’ns can join our family in many ways, but we always love when our interns and co-ops find their home here. Austin Smith, Project Manager for our Industrial Group, did just that. Starting as an intern, Austin has been an integral part in growing our Industrial Group across the country and his leadership is unmatched.
Austin started his co-op in 2016 and after eight months, he accepted a full-time position upon his graduation from Missouri S&T. He started with estimating and project support for two of our largest industrial clients, moving his way up to field work and gaining some experience with a car shredder project. These projects and clients allowed him to develop a deeper understanding of true industrial projects and the power of self-perform. He was then promoted to Assistant Project Manager where he got his first taste of industrial work in Arizona.
“It was hot, 1,500 miles away from home, but it was the first project I could call my own. This project led to another project which led to another, and three years later we are spending hot summers constructing projects for several clients, including four Global 500 companies. I now get to business develop, estimate, and manage all AZ Industrial projects. I even recently earned the title of Project Manager (with the help of some rockstar Keeley’ns).”
Austin has grown quickly in his career and when he stepped up to help lead our Industrial efforts in Arizona, he was given a lot of responsibilities. These responsibilities empowered him to grow himself, grow his team, and provide high-quality, safe work.
“I truly feel like I am in a unique circumstance, especially at this point in my career. I am empowered to create and drive pioneering efforts in Arizona with a lot of latitude. I get to develop a book of business from scratch and recruit talented team members to execute those projects.”
After graduating with his Engineering degree, Austin knew he wanted to solve problems, but he didn’t want everything to just be on paper. He realized that construction was a perfect fit for him because he has the opportunity to constantly work on something new and solve problems daily. He has also had the opportunity to learn more than he ever thought possible. He has loved working with clients, learning about their industries & processes, and working with them to improve or expand their operations. He has been able to work on a variety of projects, building car shredders, automated greenhouses, and Apache helicopter manufacturing lines. He has had such an amazing experience in the industry, and he would encourage those thinking about joining the industry to dive in headfirst. His advice to those people would be:
“Raise your hand often. If you have the capacity to do more, don’t wait for more to come, go looking for it. The more skills you develop and experiences you have set you up to take on opportunities when they arise.”
Between his career growth and helping grow our Arizona presence, Austin has learned a lot of lessons that have gotten him to where he is today. However, the most important lesson he has learned is the importance of relationships. Building relationships, both internally and externally, can result in higher morale and more awarded work, but Austin has seen that it also makes the tough conversations much easier. Building relationships with Keeley’ns, subcontractors, and clients has helped Austin shape his vision for the future. Industrial work will grow dramatically over the next couple years in Arizona and Austin envisions building several self-perform crews of carpenters, ironworks, and millwrights operating throughout the state. He also envisions his teams’ work shifting toward mining and aggregate and he is excited to learn more about that industry and get to work.
Keeley PRIDES itself on our mission and core values, and if Austin could choose one core value that he sees lived out every day, it would be Empowerment. From interns supervising projects to pioneers starting offices in new regions, innovation of the business can come from anyone and at Keeley, you will get the support and resources that you need to succeed. Along with this is Austin’s favorite part about being a Keeley’n: the people. We have approachable leaders, diligent support teams, and master craftspeople. Austin has experienced this firsthand and seen how this beautiful mix of people creates a perfect storm for those just starting out and for those wanting to grow their careers.
Keeley is growing across the nation and Austin knows he has found his career destination. He believes that everyone should consider Keeley whether you want to work in an office or out in the field.
“The opportunities are endless. Keeley is growing rapidly both in our core markets and regions, but also in new regions. This fosters both traditional career growth potential and entrepreneurial approaches. These opportunities are not limited to office team members. Our craftspeople also have access to the same learning resources and empowerment to achieve their personal and professional goals. While challenging yourself, you will be surrounded by great people who promote the culture of bettering the community and improving our health.”
Austin, we are so grateful you joined our co-op program six years ago! Our growth in Arizona would not be the same without you and watching your leadership grow over the years has been amazing. Your future at Keeley is limitless!