Thea Hem, Lead Project Accountant

My name is Thea Hem. I am truly honored to participate in the Women In Construction Week Spotlight. I just passed my 12th anniversary with Swinerton. My current role with Swinerton is Lead Project Accountant.  

Embarking on a Professional Odyssey

Before joining Swinerton, I had little knowledge about the construction industry, with most of my exposure coming from working for an engineering firm. I came across a project accountant role with Swinerton in 2012 and found it an exciting opportunity to continue my professional growth. The company’s core values – especially around ownership, integrity, and striving for excellence- attracted me to join Swinerton. Working for a company whose personal core values align with my own is very important. As I delved deeper into construction accounting, I discovered the dynamic and challenging nature of the field, which continually fuels my passion for the work.

Role and Responsibilities: Nurturing Excellence

As Lead Project Accountant, I am privileged to collaborate with a team of exceptional individuals. My responsibilities include workshops, process documentation, training, and accounting duties for complex projects. I find immense satisfaction in my work, driven by my love for numbers, problem-solving, and fostering meaningful connections with colleagues.

I firmly believe that the success of a project hinges on the strength and cohesion of its team. By sharing my knowledge, maintaining accuracy, and fostering collaboration, I strive to contribute positively to our project’s outcomes and the overall success of our teams.

Challenges and Triumphs: Embracing Growth

Navigating challenges is an inherent part of our work, especially in construction accounting, where issues related to costs, cash flow, and project needs frequently arise. Overcoming these challenges requires proactive problem-solving and empathetic leadership to identify and implement effective solutions. I have triumphed over obstacles and contributed to successful project outcomes by embracing constant curiosity and maintaining open communication.

One particular achievement I take pride in is my ability to adapt to the unique needs of each project, fostering efficiency and effectiveness. Through effective communication, empathy, and problem-solving, I have built trust and collaboration across stakeholders, leading to positive outcomes.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals: Embrace Opportunity

To aspiring professionals, especially women considering a career in construction, I offer this advice: Focus on attention to detail, accuracy, and open communication. Embrace your role as a team player, cultivate relationships, and lean into your passion for numbers and problem-solving. The construction industry offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and success, so seize them with confidence and enthusiasm.

Personal Touch: Finding Fulfillment

What I enjoy most about working at Swinerton is the camaraderie among colleagues and the tangible impact of our work. Witnessing our projects come to life, whether driving past a construction site or seeing one of our cranes illuminated against the night sky, fills me with immense pride and fulfillment.

When not behind the desk, I enjoy fitness, traveling the world, and taking my dog Shiloh on a hike in the Bay Area.  

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