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#Duckumentary - Kelli Kotzen

Today we speak with Senior Paralegal/HR Manager, Kelli Kotzen!

What did you do before your time at EDA?

Prior to joining EDA, I was in the pharmaceutical industry working as a Contracts/Transactional Paralegal.

What brought you to the construction industry?

The opportunity for growth in my career and a change in industry was what attracted me to join EDA. When researching the company, I found that the company culture set it apart from anything I had experienced. Now having been here for a little over three years, I can tell you the company and culture are unmatched.

Can you briefly explain what you do at EDA?

When I interviewed with Ed DeAngelis– he said, “I am not looking for Human Resources – I am looking for a resource to humans”. I celebrated my three-year anniversary with EDA in August, and throughout that time I have tried to keep that as my number one goal. I strive to be a trusted resource to the humans of EDA. Of course, I have daily responsibilities that include ensuring EDA is compliant with employment laws, creating policies and procedures, recruiting, onboarding, and managing various legal tasks. I occasionally assist the Safety department with pandemic related issues, managing the changing laws/policies and regulations.

What are some things that most people don't know about you?

I like to believe I’m an open book, but there are a few things not many people know about me. I am the oldest of seven children. I have four kids of my own, as well as two grandchildren. I love cooking, and I wish I had the chance to do it more often. I am a hockey mom, usually chauffeuring the boys between ice rinks. During the regular season some of our travel for ice hockey will be to Pittsburgh, Boston, Canada, Buffalo, Detroit, the spring season we could be travelling as far as Prague for the World Championship of Hockey. Needless to say, most weekends are dedicated to hockey games and tournaments.

If you weren’t in the construction industry, where would you be today?

I am in a situation where industry does not impact my role too much. I would be where I could make positive change. Like anyone – you want to be where you are wanted and valued.

If you could work in any other trade or department here at EDA, where would you be?

Learning another skill would be exciting. I would love to have an opportunity in both Estimating and Project Management. To create improvements, you must know how other departments function. I believe having that insight would benefit me in my current role at EDA.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in work? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was moving from solely being in the legal space to managing human resources. Human Resources is very involved – the information that you must master is always changing and updating. Specifically working through the global pandemic after only being with EDA for five months… creating policies from nothing – nobody had experienced anything like that in over 100 years. We overcame it together as a team, and everyone was understanding. We had employees who were at home with kids “homeschooling” and other employees who maybe lived alone. Everyone needed to be checked on. We implemented virtual game nights, happy hours and gave employees the option to have a pandemic buddy they could reach out to. I worked closely with the Director of Safety to ensure we had effective policies and contact tracing procedures. During that time EDA really supported their employees – our families really became one.

What has been the best part about your experience working with EDA?

The best part about working with EDA has been my own growth as an employee and human. Realizing there are more ways than my way that work.

What is your favorite EDA value, and why?

Our Core Values are all amazing, but my favorite is Be Passionate. Time is valuable, we spend so much of our time at work. If you are going to do anything, do something that you are passionate about.