Women in Construction Spotlight: Courtney Venhaus
By: Claire Sauer
The safety of our people is our number one priority at Keeley Companies. Our incredible Risk Management team ensures that our safety culture, KeeleySafe, is embraced on every jobsite. Courtney Venhaus, Field Safety Coordinator for Keeley Companies, joined the team in January 2020 and has taken our safety efforts to the next level. As the Field Safety Coordinator, Courtney visits various jobsites to assess potential hazards and help educate team members, improving their safety practices.
Courtney was first introduced to the construction industry when she was young by her dad and brother, both of whom are engineers. She grew up watching their hands-on work and knew that it was something she wanted to be a part of. Courtney joined various programs at Murray State that allowed her to get that hands-on experience she was craving. It wasn't until she started working 16-hour shifts for two weeks straight, paving and milling interstates in Wichita, Kansas, that she truly realized her passions for safety and construction.
Since joining the Keeley Family at the beginning of the year, Courtney has been instrumental in helping our field teams learn how to better utilize and implement our safety processes and procedures. Since entering the industry five years ago, she has been able to pull from her past experience and present new ideas to the teams. The welcoming and positive environment shown to her at each jobsite empowers Courtney to continually improve and bring new ideas to the table. Her addition to the Risk Management team has also given the team the opportunity to visit more jobsites, increasing efficiency both within the team and on the jobsites. As for her favorite part of the job, she is passionate and loves that she has been given the opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Courtney has been in the construction industry for five years, and she will be the first to tell you that entering a male-dominated industry as a young woman was intimidating in the beginning and that she lacked confidence. Over the years, she cultivated her career, becoming a confident, trusted, and respected asset for team members in the field. When asked what advice she would give to young women starting out in the industry, she said:
"The three things you need to focus on when starting in the industry are communication, confidence, and building relationships...be able to communicate and encourage people to communicate even when you're not there. The whole goal is to build relationships...Don't be afraid to stand up and speak your mind."
Since starting her journey in the industry five years ago, Courtney has learned many valuable lessons. Her most valuable lesson came from a high-stress, emotional situation that she was responsible for handling a few years ago. She quickly learned that her emotions had to remain in check and she needed to communicate clearly and efficiently. This lesson taught her the importance of communication in any situation, no matter the severity.
Courtney's journey at Keeley is just getting started and she loves the people and the positive and welcoming environment everywhere she goes. As for her future, she has a clear vision. Courtney's next step is becoming a CSP - Certified Safety Professional. However, her main goal is and will always be achieving and maintaining ZERO, not only on her jobsites, but across the whole company. She wants to stay at Keeley for the rest of her career and has her sights set on being the VP of Risk Management (watch out Safety Ray)!
Courtney, thank you for joining the Keeley family. You are an invaluable asset to our teams and we can't wait to watch your growth and success!