Change Management Supervisor
Growing up, Lauren Middleton was quite familiar with CB&I. It’s headquartered in her hometown of The Woodlands, Texas, and she was continually hearing about the company’s involvement in her community. After going away to school in California, she returned to Texas to become an engineer for CB&I, but she didn’t remain in Texas for long. In the past six years she’s progressed through seven different roles, and now finds herself working in Cartagena, Colombia.
What made you decide to join the team at CB&I?
When I was looking for my first employer, I thought it was important to be a part of a company that was growing. It’s one thing to join a company that’s already the biggest and the best, but to be a part of a company’s growth and contribute to its success is so exciting to me. Since 2000, CB&I has acquired eight companies, the stock price has had tremendous growth, and the workforce has increased to more than 55,000 employees. As the company grew, I knew my career with CB&I would continue to grow as well.
Tell us about your career path.
Although I envisioned a technical engineering career at CB&I, soon after starting, I was able to use this knowledge in unexpected areas. Not long after joining, I was given an opportunity in Investor Relations, where I was able to combine both engineering and business skills. In IR, I learned so much about the company and industry; it dramatically changed my career outlook. I asked for an international assignment in Project Controls, where I’d gain experience on a refinery project with 16,000 workers. I had no experience in Project Controls, and I didn’t think I’d get what I asked for—but they found a spot for me! At the same time, I was also accepted into UC Berkeley’s graduate structural engineering program. Choosing between returning to school and an international assignment was tough, but the chance to work in Colombia, in such a key area on a multibillion-dollar international project, was just too attractive to pass up.
What kind of mentoring does CB&I provide?
I have technical mentors, career mentors, and one mentor who has been an amazing female role model. When deciding between grad school and the new role, it was my mentors who encouraged me to take professional risk—no matter which direction I chose.
Are you a mentor?
Yes, I am! I remember how it felt the first time my phone rang with a colleague asking for advice. The colleague was a recent college graduate who had joined our CB&I Training Program and was looking for guidance from someone who had been through some of the same experiences. I’m used to asking for help, not giving it. I found the opportunity tremendously rewarding.
What challenges do you face?
People expect that a woman engineer working in a male-dominated industry would encounter many problems. But at CB&I, I've found my career to be filled with many opportunities. Drawing upon training and support from the company, I’ve made sure to consistently perform well so, as a woman and as an employee, I’ll be remembered because I’m great at what I do.