Employee Spotlight: Jewel Kayfes

How long have you been with NWESI?
I’m fast approaching my six year tenure with the company in June. What that means is I’ll be fully vested in the company which is a really exciting thing.

What is your primary role at NWESI, and what does it cover?
I’m the Director of the business development group, and I get asked to jump in on many things with the company. My primary goal is to lead us, to achieve new projects, and to sustain our growth. We’re always thinking of ways we can best serve our clients and partners with services and initiatives, and keep our marketing and branding consistent and growing across the company. I get to work side by side with some of the smartest and most thoughtful engineers so it’s exciting to be a part of that energy and collaboration.

What kind of work did you do before?
I have a strong customer service and sales background, so I’m not afraid to talk to people. I worked in finance out of college, and I feel like if you can talk to people about their financial goals you can talk to them about anything. Because I’m able to ask those key questions and really get to the heart of what people are passionate about, it applies so well to what we do. I feel like the conversations I enjoy the most are with people who really care and are enthusiastic about their projects and goals for the built environment whether it’s energy, sustainability or anything in line with what we do and how we can help each other.

What has been a personal or professional growth that’s happened since you’ve been here?
I think the biggest thing is seeing our culture shift towards company-wide business development whether it’s with new clients or strengthening our relationship with existing clients. I think, culturally having an entrepreneurial type spirit is important for employee retention and enthusiasm. If there are employees that are connected to that energy and value, they’ll be motivated to do the right thing – every time. It’s that awareness as employee-owners that we’re all invested in this and it’s incorporating people from across the company; not that [that attitude] wasn’t there before, but it’s noticeably grown a lot stronger over the past few years.

Another is having the freedom to build a team with unique skills and knowing that I don’t need to have every skill because I can plug in people who are strong in those fields. Building a team that can do it all. Having a diverse team that possesses those different skillsets makes you a better, more competitive place.

If there’s a favorite part of your work, what is it, and why?
I really love it when our firm wins and shines! When we can solve a problem for a client or make our clients look really good and get that feedback, it’s a huge win. But also when we win such exciting new projects that are changing our communities! I have a lot of pride with being able to say we work at this school, or university, or hospital, this space. It makes the hard days easier knowing what we’re doing to get projects for our company and our community is my favorite part of the job.

Secondary favorite thing-working with our team—our BDG group is a lot of fun, but also my peers at the company who make an effort to make it fun and interesting among the stresses of the industry.

Do you have any outside hobbies? If so, what draws you to them?
In a typical year, my biggest joy is seeing friends and family and the people that I love. I love reading and crafting. And anytime I can get outdoors—my husband Brandon and I love kayaking in central Oregon and down the river. Anything hanging out with Brandon and our dog Bruce I love. I also volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), that’s been really rewarding and making sure that the foster kid I’m observing has a safe environment and that I can make a small impact on their life.