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Employee Spotlight: Kate Kline

J.S. Held’s Inaugural Global Risk Report Examines Potential Business Risks & Opportunities in 2024

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August 12, 2020
 
Kate Kline, Project Manager – Surety Services
Kate Kline, Project Manager – Surety Services

What truly differentiates J.S. Held is our people — world-class talent driven by a common set of core values. Together, these shared values inspire a culture of integrity, excellence, teamwork, and service.

 

Get to know Kate Kline.

Kate has been with J.S. Held for over a year and is based in Toronto, Canada. “I like setting goals for myself, whether they're short or long-term goals. I get a lot of satisfaction out of building a plan and seeing it come to fruition,” says Kate.

When a surety receives a notice of claim, they don’t always have the construction experts on staff to answer the complex technical questions. Kate works with sureties through all stages of a bonded contract to minimize their exposure.

Her role as Project Manager in J.S. Held’s Surety Services Practice includes determining contract defaults, retendering for completion contractors, cost to complete analysis, contract interpretation, and document reviews, as well as project management and monitoring.

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“Kate always remains calm, objective, and the voice of reason. She drills down into the details of every issue, exploring the alternatives to formulate, present, and execute her conclusions.”

Ron Hicks, Vice President | Toronto, Ontario

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Background

Encouraged by the other mechanical engineers in her family and by her aptitude for math and science, Kate pursued and earned a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering & Management.

Kate has worked in the construction industry for over 10 years, starting as a third-party mechanical commissioning agent, then working for a general contractor for large commercial projects where she was the project manager for the mechanical and electrical subcontractors. She also worked as a project manager for a facilities management company for five months.

These roles helped Kate develop strong relationships with various project stakeholders in addition to better understanding their unique perspectives. “I learned how to be very organized and able to track a lot of information, as well as how to review and interpret contract documents,” she says.

Kate met Ron Hicks while working as a Commissioning Agent 10 years ago. They worked together for three years when Ron offered her a role with him working for a General Contractor. At that time, she had every intention of staying on her current career path as she found it both interesting and challenging. Years later, however, when Ron mentioned an opportunity at J.S. Held, promising that every file involved a different type of project—each presenting its own unique challenges—Kate was intrigued.

“Right off the bat,” says Ron, “I noticed that Kate had what we call a ‘Je ne sais quoi’ or an unexplained quality in how she handles herself and the challenges posed by the construction industry.”

Professional Interests

The Surety Services Practice generally focuses on Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) construction projects, acting as a “bridge” in instances where parts of a project fall through. If a contractor defaults or goes bankrupt, or a contract is terminated, a surety can step in and, for instance, help find a completion contractor.

A signature project for Kate involved a waste water treatment plant in Ontario. The project included new construction as well as system and equipment upgrades to three existing buildings. When J.S. Held was brought on, the mechanical subcontract, originally worth approximately $40 million, was terminated with $1.5 million of scope of work to complete. For the last year, Kate has been monitoring the progress of the completion work on a weekly basis using J.S. Held’s 360° photo technology and providing the client with progress updates. In addition, she reviews all completion costs being claimed on the performance bond. This is challenging because most of the completion work is being completed on a time and material basis rather than lump sum, which involves large amounts of data to be tracked and reviewed on behalf of the client.

Another standout project for Kate involved a large community center in the Toronto area. The mechanical contractor filed for bankruptcy and, therefore, was unable to complete their subcontract. The surety had given a performance bond and was obligated to see that their scope of work was completed at the surety’s financial risk. On behalf of the surety, Kate and the J.S. Held team were able to negotiate with the completion subcontractor and reduce the client’s exposure by a significant amount.

Kate realized early on in her career that if you don't enjoy working with your colleagues, you won't enjoy your job—no matter what it is. So, most importantly, she enjoys the team that she works with on a daily basis, as well as the other J.S. Held employees she has met and worked with along the way.

 
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Waste Water Treatment Plant

Personal Interests

Kate enjoys spending her free time in the kitchen. Her go-to hobby is cooking and experimenting with new recipes which are enjoyed by her partner Brandon, and young daughter, Kenzie. Prior to the 2020 pandemic, she had plans to travel for her and Brandon’s destination wedding in Mexico, which they had to put on hold. They still hope to have their wedding in Mexico, as all the details have been planned, and are now just waiting to see when the trip can be rescheduled.

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“I catch myself saying ‘it could be worse’ to myself and others all the time. It helps me put things in perspective if I’m ever starting to feel frustrated or stressed out about something. I think about the good things in my life and how lucky I am, which always makes the challenges in life easier to deal with.”

Kate Kline, Project Manager – Surety Services | Toronto, Ontario

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Contact

Interested in learning more about Kate Kline? Send her an email at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.

 
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