From Admin Clerk to Associate of the Firm: Hear Carrie Spencer’s Career Story

Posted on January 22, 2018
Written by Sunita Bassra

careers, construction project management

Carrie Spencer started at RDH in 2003 as an administrative clerk. Now she is an Associate of the firm working in Construction Project Management, and we are eager to hear about the major milestones, important lessons, and career advice that helped propel her success.

As you celebrate your 14th year with RDH, what thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about your career journey so far?

Mostly pride and respect for those with whom I work. The extent of accomplishment, both personally and collectively, is inspiring.

What were your career aspirations in 2003 and how have you met them or even surpassed those visions?

In 2003, I had just completed an undergraduate degree at UBC as a mature student (if you can call mid-20s mature). I was working as a SCUBA instructor at the time, so I guess you could say I was already concerned about water ingress—just in my dry suit and mask. My first role at RDH was answering phones and working as an administrative clerk.

I remember looking at the RDH website before my interview and seeing a rainscreen assembly detail for the first time. This piqued my interest. Fourteen years later, it is remarkable that I am still around, so it is fair to say my career vision was surpassed and since renewed quite some time ago.

What was RDH like when you first got started and what has your career trajectory been like since then?

There were about 25 employees in Vancouver when I started. It was apparent from start that this was a quality group of people. My career trajectory has been much like the Westcoast water. It ebbs and flows but I feel it is progressing upwards. I have struggled at times but that’s how one knows one is gaining experience. I recall hauling gear around buildings for condition assessments with Marcus Dell, Senior Principal at the firm, and then I began to work on contract administration with Mark Will in the Construction Project Management group. When the company was small, there was always a job that needed to be done so showing interest often resulted in opportunity.

What are some of the personal milestones that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of going back to school to complete a second degree in Construction Management (with distinction) part-time, while pregnant and working at RDH full-time. I have to thank my husband for being so supportive. That was a crazy time.

What is your favorite part of your job? What excites you most?

I love being on-site. There is nothing quite like seeing the work in-progress.

Who has inspired you to have the work ethic and drive that you do? 

My parents have an unbelievable work ethic. Both had full-time government careers while owning/operating a pub and building/renovating houses simultaneously. To this day they send me updates on their latest construction project even though they claim to be retired. There has always been a project on the go as far back as I can remember.

What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received?

The best leaders don’t bring people down, they raise people up.

Are there any valuable lessons learned that you could share with those just starting out in their career?

Show confidence and respect; it is a balance. Speak up. You will make mistakes—just don’t make them twice.

To close, what do you hope for the future of your career and the company?

As an Associate of the firm, I hope to continue to grow and contribute in a meaningful way for years to come.

To learn more about how you, too, could embark on a rewarding career with RDH visit rdh.com/careers