Our Story, Values

Knutson Celebrates Women in Construction Week 2024

Today marks the beginning of Women in Construction Week, an annual event that celebrates the unique contributions and roles women play in the construction industry. While we appreciate all the women of Knutson every day, we thought it would be fun to feature five incredible female members of Team Blue who were nominated to be recognized by their peers.

In the spirit of this year’s theme for WIC Week, Keys to the Future, we’re looking at the journey that led all five of our nominees to find their current place at Knutson in hopes it will inspire other women to view construction as a legitimate career opportunity where they will be sincerely welcomed and appreciated for the work that they do.


Kylie Lindquist, Project Manager – Minneapolis

Kylie’s interest in construction began in her mid-teens, and she had the foresight to follow her instincts to pursue a career in it against all odds. Even though she had been working with her hands since before she entered high school, she felt she still faced some gender discrimination as she navigated her collegiate and working career despite having pursued a construction management degree and garnering plenty of relevant experience.

When Kylie found herself at Knutson in February 2023, she felt something click and her career took off. She was promoted to Project Manager after just eight months in her initial Assistant Project Manager role. She credits this in part due to her tenacity and in part due to having an incredible mentor in Senior Project Manager Quentin Knaak.

“I would say from being a young girl, I knew I wouldn’t be in a female-dominated field,” Kylie said, when asked about what drew her to construction. “My parents and my grandfather really let me do what I wanted to do, and I was always a tools girl. I wasn’t a Barbie girl. I knew I could [have a career in construction], and I wanted to prove that.”

Kylie has had a substantial impact since joining Knutson, working on projects like the Allina Health Lakeville Specialty Care Clinic. She specializes in healthcare projects, with a vested interest in tenant improvement / tenant interiors and remodels. Her peers were quick to nominate her based on her eagerness to attend industry events, dedication to truly stepping up to the plate to learn something new when needed, and ability to be a mentor to other women, while also being incredibly passionate about her craft.


Erin Kanak, Assistant Project Manager – Minneapolis

Erin has been designing and building things since she was in middle school, partaking in any career technical education classes she could over the course of her high school years. In college, she initially entered the education field with an interest in teaching technical education classes like she had enjoyed in her youth. But once she saw the opportunities that existed in parallel fields like architecture, engineering, and construction, she switched her major to construction management.

“Seeing those opportunities firsthand, it really opens up your horizons,” Erin said. “[I learned] that construction isn’t just people in the field, doing the physical building.”

After interning in an operations-based position, she realized she wanted to be part of the construction industry. Wanting to join a general contractor and move closer to the metro area, she joined Knutson as a Project Engineer II in May 2021. In her time on Team Blue, she has contributed to several large-scale projects, like UMN Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, UMN Carmen D. and James R. Campbell Hall / Institute of Child Development, UMN Offsite Collections Facility, and the Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Addition and Renovation. She has found she loves working on higher education and K-12 projects, perhaps due to her initial interest in a career in education.

“I think my favorite thing is that [in construction] you build these projects, and you see students in there when you’re done,” Erin said. “You feel like you’re truly making an impact and you’re building something tangible for the community. You’re empowering the next generation by giving them a state-of-the-art facility to learn and grow in, and that building really just started out as something as simple as a napkin sketch.”

Erin was nominated due to being a “monumental asset” to the projects she’s worked on, and how she is a wonderful mentor and leader to those she works with. We appreciate how she’s made such an impact since joining us and how involved she is in event participation to boot!


Trinity Richardson, Laborer – Iowa

Trinity grew up with a father who prided himself on being a jack of all trades with experience across many industries, and she remembers conversations about the feasibility of a career in construction starting in her high school days.

“I was talking to my dad about what I wanted to do, and we were going over all the options,” she recounted. “He mentioned to me, ‘why don’t you work in construction or something related? You’ve always liked building things.’ I had never really thought about it before as an option, and it just flipped a switch in me. So, I took a weekend long carpentry class after that and I just kind of fell in love.”

After the carpentry class, Trinity took a building trades and construction design technology class, learning the basics of many trades including more carpentry, plumbing, electric, and HVAC. She then took up a job at a handyman company while she continued her schooling, bridging the gap between school and real-life experience. Her education path was dotted with various opportunities from there before she ended up at Knutson in July 2023.

“I love working for Knutson,” she said. “I’m constantly working with other people, we’re always having a good time, we’re doing a physical activity – which I love – and it’s always different. But the main constant is that we’re collaborating as a team and always problem-solving together, making something bigger than ourselves. That’s my favorite part of the job.”

Trinity’s nominations shed a light on her immense dedication, willingness to learn, and bravery in tackling challenges head-on while still acting as a vital part of the team. Her peers were sure to note that she is always on time and has an extremely positive attitude, as well.


Aspen Brubaker, Project Coordinator II – Rochester

As a child, Aspen often joined her father – a custom home builder – on-site, admiring knowing he had a hand in building the structure she was standing in. Taking up an interior design hobby because of this exposure, Aspen knew she was interested in some level of design and decided to pursue marketing in her collegiate classes. In the interim, she started working as a Project Coordinator at Knutson. But when she had established herself at the company and finished a bit of schooling, she started second guessing her initially chosen career path.

“I realized I liked what I was doing at Knutson,” Aspen said. “I’m glad I was open to an operations-based position. It has opened so many doors – the projects I’ve worked on and the people I’ve gotten to meet are fascinating. I get to work with so many different people, like architects, subcontractors, and clients, and I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought I would.”

As a result, she has decided to instead pursue a career in construction, changing her major to business administration. In her current role, Aspen is proud to support her project teams with items like project reporting, software facilitation, risk management, workflow strategization, employee onboarding, and more. She has assisted with multiple K-12 projects in her tenure at Knutson, including the Byron High School Referendum projects.

“I feel very privileged to say this, but at Knutson I’ve been given many opportunities and a chance to prove myself,” Aspen said. “Working in construction has its challenges, especially with society in general, but from my own experience, I feel I’m treated like an equal here and people have been very supportive and encouraging.”

Aspen was recognized by her colleagues as always going above and beyond in her work, even if the task at hand is outside of her position’s focus. She is credited for being extremely organized and ready to take on a challenge, all while providing The Knutson Experience to everyone she interacts with.


Aryahna Schwinghammer, Labor Journeyman – Minneapolis

With a grandfather and a father in construction, Aryahna’s exposure to life on the jobsite started young.

“Being a little kid, I got to see them both doing all types of projects,” she said. “My dad became a superintendent young and he’s been bringing me with him to visit his jobs since I was little. I’d put on all my safety gear and walk around with him admiring everything, and I remember just being in awe, seeing things change from beginning to end.”

Initially, Aryahna planned to pursue a career in medical sales. After working on her pre-requisites and post-secondary enrollment options, the COVID pandemic hit and her interest in pursuing online schooling dwindled. She applied at Knutson and joined the team as an apprentice in June 2020.

“I absolutely love it here,” Aryahna said. “Even having the background I did, there was so much I didn’t know when I first started. But Knutson has some great people who will take you under their wing and mentor you. I’ve had great foremen helping me, and I feel like as long as you prove you’re not here to mess around, you’re good. There might still be a stigma against certain women in construction, but here, I think you just need to get out there and work with the guys to show them that we’re the same.”

Aryahna has worked on several K-12 projects at Knutson during her time here, including the Eden Prairie Central Middle School and Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Addition and Renovation. No stranger to the summer slam, she loves the rush of demolition and finishing a project in a short amount of time. It brings her back to when she was young and so easily inspired by seeing how quickly a project can turn into something great.

“My favorite part of working [in the field] are the great subcontractors we get to work with,” she said. “All of us together, building out the project from day one to the end. I love seeing the beginning, knowing where it all started, and then seeing the final project.”

Every single nomination Aryahna garnered for WIC Week stated that she is an exceptionally hard worker, great at her job, and easily relied upon due to being a fast learner who goes above and beyond. She is an integral team member who always exceeds expectations, and we’re glad to have her at Knutson!


We are so grateful for all the women that make up Team Blue, today and every day. It is our hope that this Women in Construction Week, they all feel appreciated, inspired, and assured in the work they do. And to all of our nominees – thank you for your service to the industry, and to Knutson! You deserve these accolades and more for your contributions to our projects.