It’s time for yet another employee spotlight article! This time, the spotlight shines on one of our project managers working out of our headquarters in Marquette, Kathy Vermaat. Ms. Vermaat has had a diverse career before starting at TriMedia in 2004, and has since become the department head for our industrial hygiene department.
Where are you originally from?
I am from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In college I was a part of the ROTC program in college, so I joined the Navy and moved around a lot before moving to Michigan in 2004.
What is your role at TriMedia?
At TriMedia I am the industrial department department head, a contract administrator, and project manager.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Marquette?
I like hiking with my family anywhere along the lake.
Before working at TriMedia, what was the most unusual or interesting job you have ever had?
I worked at the White House in facilities management for the military department.
What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
The Navy League of the United States holds an annual awards program, and I won the female Navy Award Officer of the Year Award for my role leading flood recovery efforts at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. The air station was completely flooded and became inoperable. It took us two weeks to get the runway cleared, lights working, and everything else back up to operate as an air field.
What is your favorite part about your job and line of work?
I think the contractors want to protect their employees, but sometimes they don’t exactly know how. I like helping contractors understand what it takes to protect their employees from potential hazards. It’s not always hard stuff; it can be simple, and sometimes I think they’re pleasantly surprised.
What is the biggest challenge about your job?
The biggest challenge is the other side of what I said before; explaining technical information to clients, contractors, facility owners, etc. so they fully understand if there is a problem (or not) and what needs to be done to address it.
What are your favorite projects to be involved in?
I like a project where at the end, you can see the result; that’s why I like construction and demolition. At the end, you see the building you helped build or a nice site where there used to be a dilapidated building.
What’s your favorite part about working at TriMedia?
They do a great job of supporting their employees and meeting their individual needs.
What advice would you give someone trying to get into your line of work?
Until I joined TriMedia, I didn’t really understand the full scope of industrial hygiene. My best advice is to consider it. I don’t think many people know about it, but it really is interesting.
Industrial hygiene is a bit like CSI-type shows on TV. Someone has a problem, they don’t know what it is coming from or how to solve it, so professionals come in with equipment to take samples and help piece together the puzzle – industrial hygienists do just that.