Interview with Katie Cothern, Director of Operations
Having worked at VP Engineering for 15+ years, Katie Cothern, Director of Operations, has a unique view on what makes VP an exceptional place to work, how the company has evolved, and future growth opportunities for the firm.
Katie initially joined VP in 2008 as our Office Manager. At the time, the firm was small, with roughly eight employees. As the company grew, so did the available positions and opportunities—specifically for Project Managers, Design Managers, and Team Leaders. A natural leader, Katie quickly grew with the company and, within a few years, was elevated to a management role as VP’s Director of Operations.
In this role, Katie oversees all business operations for the company and implements policies and procedures that improve day-to-day operations for the company, clients, and team members.
When asked what makes VP an exceptional place to work, Katie shared, “When you have worked somewhere with the same group of people for 15+ years, you all grow up together. VP truly has a family feel.” She continued, “Sometimes, I feel like I am working with my siblings. We have supported each other through marriage, divorce, having babies, and losing parents. Having a work family that shows up for you in a time of need is invaluable. I also appreciate that no one in management is unreachable. An owner can be contacted just as easily as a project manager.”
Katie also points to employee retention as essential to the VP’s work culture. As a liaison to our growing team members, Katie’s dedication to growing the company has allowed VP to offer new and exciting employee benefits. With Katie’s direction and guidance, VP offers health, dental, vision, life, short-term/long-term disability, and other optional plans such as accident/cancer/wellness policies and a 401K match program to all employees.
“As we see it, you need happy employees to have high employee retention – and we want happy employees. We strive to provide a good work/life balance, the benefits mentioned above, and a culture that people want to be a part of.” As Katie explains, “If you like what you do and whom you work with, you will be a more dedicated employee who doesn’t want to leave.”
Another benefit that has kept Katie and her peers engaged and dedicated to VP is the company’s continual growth opportunities. For designers, there are several paths to grow in their positions. As Katie has observed, it’s also ok for team members to be satisfied with a long-term role they enjoy and thrive in. The company works hard to train employees and give them personal and professional growth opportunities at every step of their professional journey. She notes, “VP’s motto has always been – with time and experience, the sky is the limit!”
In Katie’s opinion, VP is a fantastic company in its 20th year of business, and the future is bright with growth opportunities for both employees and the firm. The current management team is hardworking and creative, and everyone at VP is dedicated to making it an excellent company and a unique place to work.
About VP Engineering
VP Engineering is a premier MEP design firm offering engineering expertise in senior living, multi-family, hospitality, and retail/commercial markets worldwide. We have offices in Charlotte, NC and Dallas, TX and service clients throughout the Southeast. With experience in a wide range of building types, our MEP and Technology engineering services help clients keep projects on budget and achieve their goals. To learn more about VP Engineering and career opportunities with our team, we invite you to visit us at www.vpce.com.