Career Spotlight

Kathryn Hart Tinnesz – Business Development Manager

“I take pride in not being your typical human in construction.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

If you are looking for guidance and inspiration for women in construction, let us proudly introduce you to Kathryn Hart Tinnesz. Specializing in career development, she is a business development manager, as well as founder and host of Space to Build. As a business development manager, she bridges the gap between clients and the estimating team. With Space to Build, she oversees the “creation of all resources, events, and communication provided to the community.” Kathryn has built her own career trail through her skills in professional development, fostering community and networking, and elevating unique voices in the AEC industry.

About Kathryn

Kathryn has loved the built environment since she was a child. For the longest time, she had assumed a professional career as an interior designer, or an architect were her two options. She didn’t feel a gravitational pull towards a career in engineering, but thought design was the way into the built environment. However, Kathryn declined her architecture school acceptance. She decided to pursue an education at a community college and found her first trail marker there. A classmate of Kathryn had mentioned the opportunity of a construction program offered at Virginia Tech. The program was an opportunity for “an ever-growing and well-paying career.” That she time spent in researching further about the opportunity, Kathryn realized that was where she needed to be.

“I have been able to take my career journey just as I see fit for myself.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Building Construction, she started her career in operations for a national general contractor as a project engineer. In that first industry role, Kathryn participated in multiple bids, handling multiple trades for the preconstruction division, managed up to five subcontractors on a daily basis with daily deliveries, field reports, scheduled and tracked inspections, trained others in utilizing the online database, negotiated contracts, analyzed and processed complex requisition packages, reviewed, submitted, updated, and distributed construction documents, prepared meeting agenda and minutes, and led construction meetings. While performing all these tasks at work, she was introduced to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) by her co-workers. Since then, Kathryn has taken on regional roles with the organization and chartered a new chapter. She had latched on to each task she was given as a project engineer. By the time she neared her two-year milestone with the general contractor, Kathryn “got the itch to transition into an assistant superintendent role.”  

I gave myself a promotion.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

Within six months working in her new role as assistant superintendent, she was promoted to superintendent and led her own interior fit-out projects. While she loved her new role, Kathryn wanted to explore more roles in the industry.

“I want to learn as much about the different roles in the industry as I can.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

This led to her next role as a project manager for a glazing company. As project manager however, she missed out on her previously active involvement with NAWIC and her own podcast. That led to her shifting of gears and into her current role as a business development manager of a site work contractor. The shift had also allowed for Kathryn to grow Space to Build.


Kathryn is flexible and knowledgeable with her skillset, allowing her to quickly change roles. This skillset is rooted in inspiration and a desire to elevate women in construction. She also started this early in her career trail, with the creation of the organization Building Women in Construction (BWIC), during her college years. BWIC had originally stemmed from a class assignment and was formed by her and some of her classmates, during her sophomore year. It was a “female student run organization focused on elevating students in the industry by preparing them for the professional world.” The organization was an opportunity to connect with other female students pursuing careers in the AEC industry. Kathryn’s connections from BWIC also helped her charter the Northern Virginia chapter of NAWIC. Her work in supporting students for professional life has translated to providing for emerging professional in the AEC industry. 

Bringing in emerging professionals and prioritizing training is crucial.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

The industry needs help. “We are impeding on our own productivity. We are stacking roles and tasks on individuals to the point of burn out. True productivity requires rest.” Kathryn had a project manager teach her the concept of training your replacement. This is the practice of training another to take over your role, for when you leave it behind for another role. It creates a win-win situation, where the incoming professional now has a mentor that’s willing to help bring them up, and the seasoned professional is established as an expert and capable of promotion. The industry can always do better to support emerging professionals.

We don’t have enough resources available

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

Even the larger companies with online courses, lunch and learn presentations, and mentorship programs struggle with workforce development. The smaller companies don’t always have the same access to tools as their larger counterparts. In both cases, having enough people interested and willing to wholehearted train an emerging professional is not enough. Those same people are overloaded with work and can’t always dedicate a consistent amount of time to teaching. This need to better support professionals was why Kathryn created Space to Build.

I wanted to give you more voices to learn from and connect with.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz


The guests hosted on Space to Build are all open to engaging with emerging professionals. They’ve been in the role of emerging professional and for some, they may still be an emerging professional. “They don’t believe you should go at it alone.” Kathryn has hosted monthly video chats across the industry and country, as well as promoted conversations across the AEC roles. The industry could always benefit from improved communication between roles.

This idea of improved communication inspired her Point of Convergence panel, where she brought together AEC professionals to discuss a variety of topics. In the panel discussion on communication, stereotypes were placed on the table with struggles encountered in each role shared. Productive projects are completed by good communication practices and entering the conversations with a collaborative lens.

At the end of the day, our goals are the same. Complete a strong project for the owner and get paid.”

-Kathryn Hart Tinnesz

Some final words of advice from Kathryn, “your career is just that, YOURS.” Don’t give control of your career to those who aren’t in your corner. It is yours to control and take over. “Green or seasoned, things go wrong pretty often for one reason or another. It’s about how you recover.” It’s okay to make mistakes as they may become one of those most influential career moments.

Thank you Kathryn, for your support of AEC professionals!

Connect with Kathryn via the following platforms:


            Instagram: @spacetobuild

            Twitter: @spacetobuild

            Facebook: Space to Build

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