Empowering Women in Construction
A Thank You to Kathy Halter
Since the first depiction of Rosie the Riveter during World War II, fierce and influential women have been putting their stamp on the construction industry. Today, women account for 9.1% of the construction industry workforce in the United States, including filling numerous roles, such as sales, office, management, maintenance, production, labor and transportation1. At Russell, we are proud to employ 35 women in key roles, equating to 39% of our staff. Of these women – one has blessed us with her knowledge, passion and work ethic for the past 30 years. It is with gratitude, sadness and excitement that we announce that our own Chief Financial Officer, Kathryn Halter, will be retiring on March 30.
Forging a Path to Success
Kathryn (Kathy) Halter initially began her career with Russell as a part-time Accountant and mother of two re-emerging into the workforce, with the “technology” at that time being a typewriter and an adding machine. As our Chief Financial Officer (CFO), her job description was much more robust than a typical CFO’s. Taking on more than the financial oversight of the company, Kathy also headed up Russell’s IT initiatives for a time, growing and investing in technology to sharpen the company’s competitive edge. Additionally, she supervised numerous key corporate functions, including: Human Resources, Auditing, Legal/Contracts and Compliance and Risk Management. She is, and will continue to be, a member of Russell’s Board of Directors.
A True Innovator
Kathy was a true industry pioneer on behalf of Russell. Over 20 years ago, Kathy brought an idea to Jim Russell, CEO of Russell: use the company’s dedication to safety to improve our cost of insurance rates by getting in on the ground floor of a new proposed industry idea. The now Captive Insurance plan was designed to keep costs at a reasonable and affordable premium for the Contractor by pooling company dollars with some of the best run business in the United States; with premiums based on losses. This concept was financially risky and included starting a new national company, with four other companies. 20 years later, the National Contractor’s Insurance, Ltd. program is thriving and has over 100 participating companies coast to coast. Kathy has also been a key to Russell’s Surety Bonding relations, having grown our corporate bonding capacity from virtually nothing to an excess of $150 million dollars.
“Kathy has been a versatile leader and executive for the company for most of our 34 years. One of the things I appreciate about her most was her ability to look into the future to identify key trends that affected our business. I greatly depended on her tremendous instincts and her ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve exceptional levels of performance. Russell has earned many peer and industry awards for growth, safety, philanthropy, and service with her on the leadership team. We are going to truly miss Kathy’s insights, infectious personality and leadership,” remarked Jim Russell, President & CEO of Russell.
Advocate for Women
Kathy was more than the CFO of Russell, though; she was and will continue to be a great mentor for young professional women. As a true advocate, Kathy routinely mentored those within her department, and the company as a whole, on available volunteer opportunities and how to be a successful and empowered woman in the construction industry. Kathy’s professionalism, passion for upholding the culture of the company for women and men alike, and her drive to influences the lives of others outside of the Russell community made her an outstanding asset to Russell for the past 30 years.
Congratulations, Kathryn Halter, on your retirement – we will surely miss you!
1: NAWIC Website: https://www.nawic.org/nawic/statistics.asp