Katie Gandy is the Senior Community Engagement Specialist for Barton Malow and has been an integral part in working with clients and community stakeholders to increase transparency and inclusion for the neighborhoods her organization builds. She also supports programs like Barton Malow’s Boot Camp, a six-week program that provides a workforce that mirrors the diverse communities that her organization operates in with hands-on experience at an active job site.


August 2, 2021 ~ Katie Gandy speaks with Guy Gordon about her position as Senior Community Engagement Specialist with Barton Malow and how she impacts her industry by encouraging more female and minority apprentices to engage with her organization’s projects. Katie also talks about her recent appointment as one of the Detroit Economic Club’s 2021 Rising Stars.

Katie Gandy has been working to impact the people, projects, and communities of Barton Malow for over five years and has been an integral part of working with clients and community stakeholders to increase transparency and inclusion in the neighborhoods we build. After working as a Senior Payroll Analyst, Katie joined the Community Engagement Team to support programs like Barton Malow’s Boot Camp, a six-week program that works to provide an inclusive and diverse workforce that mirrors the communities we operate in with hands on experience at an active Barton Malow jobsite.

The construction industry has a trade labor shortage, and the Boot Camp program is Barton Malow’s solution to that industry problem as well as our way of encouraging more female and minority apprentices on our projects. Katie’s work has not only impacted the success of our business, but also the industry as a whole and the communities we operate in.

The 2020 program year saw the largest enrollment yet with equally record-setting success, with 92% of participants completing the program and 77% earning job offers within Barton Malow’s self-perform teams or our subcontractor partners. Part of the reason for the record involvement has been the outreach conducted by Katie and the rest of the Community Engagement Team, including partnering with the City of Detroit’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program, getting workforce training programs under the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation workforce umbrella involved, and continuing the relationships with former Boot Camp participants who are working as field staff so they can provide referrals.

The 2020 program also had to be adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the workshop portion of the program to run virtually with a third-party consultant. Katie managed this shift in a way that still provided value for boot campers and allowed the program to run smoothly alongside the in-person, hands-on work in the field.

In addition, Katie also works with career tech education partners to recruit and educate underserved residents on careers in construction, provides access to supportive services and grants for apprentices to remove barriers to success within the skilled trades, and partners with HR to implement strategies that will increase engagement of women and minorities in the skilled trades.

In addition to her work responsibilities, Katie serves as the Treasurer of the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, whose purpose is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry by providing education, support, and networking to help women advance their careers in construction, build their technical skills, and become leaders.

A little bit more about Katie:

When I reflect on a moment that I am proud of, I think of…

“The Barton Malow Boot Camp. The program’s goal is to expose youth, ages 18-24, to careers in the skilled trades and provide sustainable employment opportunities with Barton Malow or our subcontractor partners. After the 2020 Boot Camp concluded, I received a hand-written “thank you” note from one Boot Camper we hired as a carpenter at Barton Malow. He thanked me for everything we had done to introduce him to the skilled trades, which has allowed him the opportunity to go further with construction as a career. It’s moments like that when you know what you’re doing is making an impact.”

As I continue to grow, I am hopeful for…

“Continued involvement in the growth of the Boot Camp program, which makes a positive impact on peoples’ lives.”

During my free time, I …

“Love being active by golfing, playing softball and soccer, and hanging outside with my kids. I also like to relax and catch up on my favorite TV shows, and volunteer in my community whenever I can.

If I could give advice to my 20-year-old self, I would say…

“Trust the process. Things are never going to go according to plan. But in my experience, everything has always worked out for the better – even if it doesn’t feel like it in that moment.” 

20 years from now, I see myself…

“Continuing to give back to the community in the most impactful way possible.”