Kerri Smith Featured as Up-and-Coming Leader by Construction Dive
Construction Dive has selected Kerri Smith, our VP and Southeast Region General Manager, for its Women in Construction Week profile on Up-and-Coming Leaders. Kerri was nominated by Baker co-worker, Mark Mehalovich.
Turning the unimaginable into something that’s possible is the philosophy that drives Kerri Smith’s leadership style. It also summarizes why she is an excellent candidate to be profiled as an up-and-coming leader by Construction Dive.
Kerri is a vice president and regional territory general manager for Baker Concrete Construction, the country’s largest concrete contractor. She joined the company in 2004, just two years after graduating from Walsh University. She quickly rose through the ranks by leaping at opportunities to stretch beyond her comfort zone.
Today, Kerri is responsible for six markets in the southeast U.S. Her responsibilities include leading more than 1000 Baker co-workers to deliver high-quality work safer and more efficiently than any other concrete construction company in the market.
Raised on a farm in Russellville, Ohio, Kerri learned from a young age that it takes grit, determination, and cooperation to get ahead. She is also competitive by nature. In fact, she played basketball for Walsh University, where she also learned to rely on her team to get ahead.
Those values have served her well as a young leader in the construction industry and are reflected in her leadership style. Kerri manages by setting high expectations. She knows that even if her team members don’t meet their goals, they’ll get close—and in the process, they’ll achieve more than they thought possible.
At the same time, she is intentional about providing more responsibility and exposure to the next generation of leaders. She recognizes that for Baker to maintain its status as a market leader, the company must attract and support talented, passionate, and dedicated talent. Kerri is leading the way by ensuring younger members of the team have a clear path for growth within the company.
It’s a philosophy and a strategy that gets results. It is also earning third-party recognition. In 2020, the ABC Florida East Coast chapter awarded her team the Eagle and the Young Professionals Awards for the Norwegian Cruise Line terminal project in Miami, Florida. Key players on the project—including the project engineer, superintendent, project manager, and project executive—were all under 35 years old. The project required using methods, technologies, and tools that were new to Baker Concrete. Kerri trusted this high-profile project to a team of young professionals, and they delivered.
Despite her successes and competitive spirit, Kerri is a humble leader. She leads from the heart, often applying the lessons she learns from her family to her professional career. Her kids help her stay focused on what’s important in life, and she is quick to share those insights with her team.
Above all, Kerri leads through vision and encouragement. She works to build meaningful connections with clients, co-workers, and industry partners. And she strives to get people to believe in themselves. She helps her team set those stretch goals so they can accomplish more than they imagined. In that sense, Kerri isn’t just an up-and-coming leader; she’s setting up the next generation to follow in her footsteps.
We congratulate Kerri on this well-deserved honor. Click the link below and Kerri’s profile to view her feature in Construction Dive: