November 9, 2022
The support and success of women within Connecticut’s architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) industry inspired Kyma H. Ganzer to join the Connecticut chapter of the Professional Women in Construction, and more importantly get involved! Our communications team sat down with this former Rising Star award recipient to hear how she entered AEC and learn what motivates her!
When Ganzer headed off to Wesleyan University as an undergrad, she said she would never live in Connecticut; 4 years later, on her last day on campus she said she would not return to NY, making CT her full-time home. She grew a fondness for the state and what it had to offer young professionals.
During college, Ganzer was recruited by People’s Bank. After graduation, she started in the Marketing Department for their credit card division, but she did not like strict corporate structure and began to look at other opportunities. During this time, she invested in her first project. She bought a fourplex building in downtown Bridgeport, which had been vacant for 30 years and needed a lot of work. Ganzer used every penny for the deposit. She would walk to the building during her lunch hour to check on construction. That property created enough revenue for her to leave People’s and start her own mortgage firm with another colleague she met at People’s. Between 2001 and 2004, she and her colleague became mortgage and real estate brokers, and bought, sold, renovated, and rented properties throughout CT.
Ganzer did well for herself and her firm, and expanded into Washington, D.C. shortly before the housing bubble burst in 2008. In a depressed real estate market, Ganzer seized the opportunity to work in the accounting department for Diggs Construction, a commercial construction firm. She thrived at Diggs and was promoted several times while working there. Embracing the career change, Ganzer went back to school for Construction Management. Over the course of several years, she ascended from Assistant Controls Manager to Project Manager, then came to LaRosa as a Project Manager for seven years until she was promoted to her current role as Pre-Construction Manager.
As a Pre-Construction Manager, Ganzer is responsible for the preliminary planning phase and necessary due diligence for the project before actual construction begins. She works closely with the client and design team(s) to ensure the final plans represent the wishes of the client as closely as the budget allows and works closely with building departments to facilitate the permitting process. Ganzer is also responsible for collaborating with the estimating, contract administration, and operations departments with respect to logistics, construction strategies, budgeting, scheduling, purchasing, and bidding, and for the transition to construction.
What do you find most fulfilling about your career?
“I started a new role in January 2022, and I find that being able to work on multiple projects in the early stages, and to work closely with the client and design team are a huge plus. I am learning a lot about the many components of a project. I have gained more respect for estimating, and the person who was in the role prior to me. I have respect for the extensive amount of work that goes into getting projects to the construction phase. The whole process has been like bootcamp!”
How did you get involved with PWC CT?
“My initial exposure to PWC was through Diggs Construction and through CCSU Professor Steve Kaplan at the ‘Meet the Construction Chiefs’ program. What struck me the most was the number of confident and remarkable women in management roles in construction. I didn’t have that exposure before I started at Diggs. It was refreshing to see amazing leaders, and men supporting women in this arena. It was an environment of respect between men and women in the AEC industry, and it was a wonderful opportunity to have exposure to that amount of people in the industry.”
Why are you a PWC CT Volunteer?
“I first volunteered for the mentorship committee. I met Laurann Asklof at a CCSU event, and thought it was a great opportunity to meet people in the industry while helping others. I became involved, and other than having to take some time off for personal reasons, I have been an active member of PWC.” Fast forward to Kyma winning the Rising Star Award – “I felt it was important to give back in terms of time and energy to this amazing organization since it had such a mark on my perspective. I wanted to help support the programs and the incredible reach the organization has and how much it has impacted the industry. All the board members are phenomenal!”
What other industry associations are you engaged with?
“I am on the Board of Directors for Guilford: A Better Chance. This organization ‘invites academically talented young women of color from under-represented communities to attend Guilford High School and to enjoy the many benefits of living in the Guilford community.
Scholars spend four school years living together in Guilford in a residence owned by the program and staffed with a caring and professional support team. They take rigorous academic courses, participate in team sports and a wide variety of extra-curricular school activities, and become part of the fabric of the community. Each month they spend one weekend living with a local host family, two weekends living together at the Guilford ABC house, and one weekend at home with their respective families.’
I am also a member of the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and actively volunteer with my sorority and independently for Habitat for Humanity.”
What do you like best about the AEC industry?
“The best part about this industry is no day is the same and having something tangible and long-lasting that has had a positive impact on someone’s life is great. We’ve improved neighborhoods and changed people’s lives and perception of what it means to work in construction.”
Is there any advice you can offer?
“Never stop learning!”
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2022/2023 PWC CT Program Calendar Announced
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