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Army Veteran Finds Meaningful Career and Purpose In Civil Construction

Meet Kevin Cutler. Kevin is an army veteran who found his place at Craig & Heidt, Inc. Kevin’s story is one of many that weaves the intricate fabric that makes up the construction industry in Houston. He is bright, eager, loves the industry, and is ready to learn and excel in the civil construction space. This is Kevin’s story.

Kevin is a Conroe native, graduating from Conroe High School in 2011. Kevin was very anxious to make his way into the world and as soon as he turned 18, he enlisted in the Army’s infantry division. Kevin chose the Army as a way to honor his grandfather who was also an Army veteran. While in the Army he was stationed in El Paso, Texas and Colorado Springs, Colorado. During his stint in El Paso he joined the sniper team where his skills and tenacity allowed him to excel. After his time in El Paso, he was transferred to Colorado Springs, where he was promoted to a new position, operating the Army’s newest technology - a Stryker vehicle. As this was new technology for the Army, he was tasked with testing and learning about the equipment. Over time, the Army noticed Kevin’s leadership ability and placed him as the lead for an infantry squad of 8 soldiers. Kevin honorably served his time and was discharged in December of 2016.

Not one to sit around for any length of time, he returned home to Conroe and tried his hand at several different jobs. He spent time remodeling homes, got his EPA license and worked as an HVAC tech, and went into search and rescue dispatch. While these were all good jobs, Kevin knew that those were not his true calling. He then began a stint with a large heavy highway contractor. He was placed on the drill shaft team and performed foundation work for bridges and overpasses. But his heart was not there, nor was the opportunity to move up within the company.

Kevin knew education was the key to his success, so he put his GI Bill to work and was accepted into the Adaptive Construction Solutions (ACS) apprenticeship program, where he was matched with Craig & Heidt, Inc. as his employer. Kevin was interviewed by the Craig & Heidt team and hired as a General Laborer in early 2020. Then COVID struck. When many in the industry faced layoffs and pink slips, Kevin was concerned about what his future would look like considering he had only been employed at Craig & Heidt for two months. Kevin said, “I was so blessed to be employed by a great company like Craig & Heidt. They kept me on as a furloughed employee at 40 hours a week during a time when there was so much uncertainty about the future of work and our industry. I will always be grateful for that.”

Thanks to construction being deemed an essential business in Texas, Kevin was able to get back on the jobsite in June of 2020. “I was very ready and eager to get back to work,” said Kevin, and Craig & Heidt was ready for him. He showed his gratitude by working hard, showing up every day and being prepared to do what the job demanded. He was moved from the dirt crew to the asphalt crew. Although he technically did not have any experience working with asphalt at the time, his eagerness to learn was always present.

Today, Kevin has a hand in every Craig & Heidt asphalt job, and he loves it. When asked what he likes best about his job, Kevin remarked that he feels a sense of duty to his fellow co-workers and his employer to keep everyone around him safe and make sure that projects avoid any injury or costly delays. He communicates with the crew through a series of hand signals, directing them away from harm while ensuring that asphalt is placed properly. He also uses math calculations to determine the best approach to a job, both effectively and efficiently.

In the future, he hopes to shadow the company’s Superintendent and learn everything about that role so that he can emulate those skills and one day be a Superintendent as well. He is also eager to learn all facets of the asphalt and paving industry. Kevin craves knowledge and seeks out opportunities whenever possible. He is currently enrolled in the Construction Management program at University of Houston-Downtown. When asked what advice he would give someone who may be considering different career options, Kevin said, “Don’t spend too much time looking, just take the leap, you will not regret it. Some of the smartest people I know are in the construction industry. Don’t let a negative perception deter you from a career in construction. Construction provides a solid career path, it’s not just a job, it is full of opportunities. We live in the fourth most populous city in the nation, there will always be a job in construction here in Houston.” We agree with Kevin, and following in the motto of Nike, when it comes to a career in construction, “Just do it!” To learn more about Craig & Heidt and the careers available, visit www.craig-heidt.com or call 713-467-7932.