A resident of Lakewood, Colorado, Kelly Martin earned her bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Colorado State University. She has been with the same company—ISEC Inc.—since 1994, where she today serves as Vice President of Corporate Preconstruction and Education.
ISEC is a commercial contractor that does ornamental metal and customized woodworking for sports stadiums, airports, high-end hotels, and other structures across the United States. Kelly leads a team of 30 in-house employees and manages another 70 outsource partners. It’s a big job with big responsibilities at a company with 1,200 employees and annual revenues of about $350 million.
Why would a highly successful business executive who is also a married mother of two decide to go to law school?
Kelly points to two “ah-ha moments.”
“I am at the management table with 21 men who are great builders. That is what they do. Build. At one point, I looked around the table and said to myself ‘What can I bring to the table that they don’t?’ That got me thinking about law school.”
As part of her role, Kelly also negotiated contracts with vendors, suppliers, and contactors. “It is a huge part of construction and I would be on the phone negotiating. I knew what I was saying but I didn’t have the right words. One day I was one the phone working through a contract with an attorney representing a vendor. I knew he knew I wasn’t an attorney. I hung up the phone and made my decision to not just think about going to law school, but doing it.”
Kelly enrolled in Concord in 2012. “I choose Concord because of its flexibility. When I enrolled I was raising two children who were in high school in addition to my full-time job. I was amazed by how well it all worked and was put together—the curriculum and the online experience. You had to be present and people, my fellow students and faculty, knew if you hadn’t done your homework. You were held accountable, which I liked.”
She credits her success to a “very structured” schedule.
“I would work from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm. I’d come home to walk the dog, make dinner, and then from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm I was focused on studying. On weekends, I would try to get in 6 hours of study time each day, starting at 4:00 am before everyone in the house got up and started their days. By 10:00 am, I could be mom again.”
Studying turned out to be a family affair.
“One of the best things were my kids, who were in their last years of high school. They were very good with their studies and we figured out where every coffee house was in the area so we could study together. So it was good bonding time.”
Kelly offers words of wisdom to others who are tending to work and family and thinking about going to Concord.
“First and foremost, it is rigorous and you’re going to come away with some great tools. It can be overwhelming, so it is important to take it one day at a time. So a good approach that worked for me was to chunk it out and determine what you need to get done that day—and keep going. All of a sudden, you’re at the end.”
Kelly reached her finish line in February 2017, earning her EJD degree. Congratulations Kelly.