Vikki Hackett, the organizer

Vikki Hackett is a meticulous soul. She wants, no, needs everything to be in order — or she isn’t happy.

And that’s exactly the kind of attitude The Korte Company wants from a project engineer.

“I’m just a double Type A personality,” she said. “I’m very, very organized. I pay attention to detail.”

Her personality is ideal for construction, where organizing a ton of people and resources around one goal creates such amazing things.

Vikki started at The Korte Company as a project control assistant in 2018.

Today, her children are five years older, and her responsibilities at the company have significantly expanded.

But her success is no mystery.

The Korte Company appreciates organized, hardworking and dedicated people.

She’s already helping on a training program to teach others how to succeed in her role. Fortunately, teaching is something she knows well.

You see, Vikki went to college to be a schoolteacher.

From teaching to construction

A young Vikki Hackett displays a buck during a deer hunting trip.

Vikki was raised in Choctaw, Oklahoma on a 70-acre plot that her family shared with a couple horses.

She spent a lot of time outside, playing baseball in the yard or taking her horses out on “safaris” around the property.

But it’s been a long time since then. The Choctaw community has grown around her country home. New family homes now stand where she once led her horses on safari.

“When I was a kid, it was literally the country,” she said. “It’s not anymore. It’s grown quite a bit. But usually when you told people you went to school in Choctaw, they were like, ‘Where?’”

While a lot has changed, her brother still owns the 10 acres where their old house and barn once stood.

Like her first home, Vikki also experienced a period of change after studying for years to become a teacher.

She attended high school in Choctaw before earning a two-year degree from Rose State College, then The University of Central Oklahoma, until she was two semesters away from an education degree.

Vicki Hackett leads her class during a special visit from a fireman.

However, she didn’t enjoy how lesson plans were built around standardized tests. At the time, she worked as an interpreter for the deaf, but further pursuing that career would take her far away to southern Oklahoma.

It was time for her to make a change.

She landed in a new industry, where she would find better outlets for her skills — and even meet her husband.

“I accidentally fell into construction, and after that I was like, couldn’t see myself really doing anything else.”

Entering the industry (and starting a family)

Vikki first put her foot in the construction world working part-time as a summer hire for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — while she was still working toward her degree. So, she had a nice landing pad when she left school.

The Corps is notoriously strict about the rules. Fortunately, Vikki thrives on structure and discipline.

In her eight years with the Corps, she worked her way up to become one of two office managers and eventually a civil engineering technician. Along the way, she learned valuable skills like making spec books, processing modifications and payroll certifications. And making better money didn’t hurt.

“I just loved it,” she said. “I was like, well, I’m not going to go back to being a teacher now.”

Vikki left the Corps after a government shutdown. She then spent 18 months at a bank, but knew she needed to get back into construction.

“It was not a good fit for me,” she said. “And so, I just got on LinkedIn and sent out an email to all my construction contacts and was like, ‘I need a job.’ And so actually, that day, my now husband messaged me and he’s like, ‘We’re looking for a contract administrator.’ And I interviewed the following Tuesday and got hired. And so, two weeks later, I was back in construction [working for a general contractor].”

Vikki first met her husband, Mark, while working for the Corps. But they hadn’t spoken in about five years.

Despite her initial impression that he wasn’t very personable and overly focused on business, Mark gradually won her over through the years. Over time, they bonded over their mutual love for running and TV shows like ‘The Americans.’ This led them to start dating, and eventually, start a family.

Vikki worked at the general contractor about four years as a contract administrator. She decided to leave just before her daughter was born and concentrated on being a mom.

Vikki, Mark and their daughter, Ava, in a family photo.

Mark interviewed for The Korte Company while Vikki was in the hospital to have their baby. But she doesn’t hold it against him. After all, it was a good job with a great company — and he made it back in time for the delivery.

They have a big happy family now. Ava is six years old, and Mark added three sons from a previous marriage, Mitchell, Brady and Elliot.

Joining The Korte Company

After Ava was born, Vikki had a hard time reentering the job market. Some felt she was overqualified. Others thought her experience with the Corps wouldn’t translate to private industry.

The Korte Company felt she was a perfect fit.

At first, she started on Mark’s project team as a project control assistant. But her talents were soon recognized, and she was called to help for two other jobs to keep things organized and moving.

She did so well that they started giving her other unfinished projects to close out.

She now works as a project engineer, submitting submittals on new projects for customer approval. It’s a critical job, ensuring all the correct materials are used in a project.

If submittals aren’t organized and up to date, it risks building with unapproved materials. This would waste time, resources and money. Then there’s the damage it could do to the customer relationship. That’s Vikki’s worst nightmare, so they don’t let that happen at The Korte Company.

“Any project that I’m on from the beginning, if you need something, you can find it exactly where you’re supposed to find it. And I take pride in that,” she said. “The way I name my submittals is very consistent. Whatever is named in the specs, it’s how mine is going to be named so there’s no confusion about what we’re looking at. When I’m sending something out, I’m very clear about the way I label it, and I don’t change. I have a very structured way I go about my day, especially when my email usually sits at over a hundred.”

Vikki also cleans up submittals for ongoing projects with the Corps, so all her experience still goes to good use. She currently works with the Corps on four projects – three at Tinker and one at Fort Huachuca. She’s also working on projects on Whidbey Island, Washington and Atlanta, Georgia.

Vikki Hackett receives an award for working at The Korte Company five years.

What lies down the road?

In the future, it could make sense for Vikki to move into project management, like her husband.

But she enjoys being a project engineer. She’s helping to create a training program for other project engineers so they can work as effectively as her.

It seems like she’s become a teacher after all, and she’s glad to do it at The Korte Company. It’s the only place she has worked that truly recognizes her contributions and pushes her to succeed.

“They’re not afraid to let you know that they appreciate you,” she said. “I work really hard no matter what, but when I get that kind of feedback, I feel even more inclined to prove myself. They have this faith in me, so I have to get this done. I have to work harder.”

It’s not hard to see why she is so valued. The Korte Company considers organization a project deliverable, and Vikki always provides.

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