Since 1921, Virginia Tech has seen thousands of trailblazing women make their mark on the world, transforming industries and shattering glass ceilings. Kim Roy ’99 is making her mark in the construction industry where she serves as the chief executive officer for HITT Contracting.
Kimberly Roy's passion for building came at a young age. She was ten years old when she told her parents she wanted to move to New York City and build skyscrapers. "It surprised my parents. They are not in the building industry and really a lot of builders are generational, so it was unique." That passion ultimately led her to Virginia Tech. "I started studying architecture. I didn't even know there was a a building construction program. So I transferred into building construction. And again, it was foundational to my career trajectory, my time in Blacksburg and getting that important knowledge at a young age cemented my passion for building." Kim, a 1999 alumna, is now CEO of HITT contracting, an award winning nationwide construction company. "I left Virginia Tech and I came as an assistant manager. I went right out into the fields and I worked on construction sites for the first 12 years of my career." Being a CEO never crossed her mind. [Did you aspire to be a CEO? Was that part of the plan too?] "No, I wanted to be a builder, I thought that was cool." Nearly 15 years into her career, Kim's interests in the business side of construction peaked. HITT gave her the opportunity to pursue it. "Anytime I went to the owners and said, I'd like more runway, Can I take a shot at working on a new system or new tool or how about we, we think about a different way to organize part of our corporate resources team, things like this, they would say go for it. And I felt like I had a lot of ability to control my career, but also support." Being a woman in an industry where less than 10 percent of the workforce is female has its challenges, some self-imposed. "I think the challenges were more, Sometimes I would limit myself, you know, I think that, you know, I would, my perception was if I was out in the field that maybe someone didn't want to show me how to thread that pipe. When in fact, I went out and I said, Hey, can you show me what you're doing? The craftsmen were so, mainly men, were so excited to and proud to show me and they were like, Wow, someone cares about this. They didn't care whether I was a man or a woman. But it made me in my head." Kim shares it's important for women to see women in leadership roles. "So now I, I love talking and saying, Hey, let me tell you about my career. Let me explain to you my degree from Virginia Tech and what building construction and all that that entails means." More than 20 years after joining HITT, Kim says there's no better time to be in construction. "It is a very exciting time to be in construction. We are looking at ways to transform the industry and the way we did things many years ago, we need to see a rapid change. I think, particularly in the areas of technology and the areas of materials, of the productivity and how we build. Our clients are seeing rising prices. And we have to find a way to make housing and building more affordable to everyone. So I think there's a great challenge to unlock there."