Employee Spotlight: Kaitlin Bueno, CIP Coping/Junction Slab Foreman

Crews working on I-4 Beyond the Ultimate projects navigate challenges every day as they complete the large-scale roadway improvements. Kaitlin Bueno, a bridge foreman, is contributing to this transformation of Interstate 4 (I-4) for all Central Florida travelers.

Bueno works on the I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway improvement project as part of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, but prior to her construction career, she was in a much different line of work.

“I started off in retail, and retail just wasn’t making ends meet for me at the time,” she said. “I wanted to get somewhere that I could make a future for myself, because retail wasn’t it.”

Bueno’s father and older brother both worked in construction on surveying teams, and she said that their support helped ease her career transition.

For Bueno, taking on this new challenge meant starting off in dirt crews, working her way up to mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall construction, and eventually fulfilling her role as a bridge foreman. She works with a team focused on ensuring key parts of the bridge, such as overhangs, are correctly formed and installed. Bueno meets with her team each day to make sure her coworkers have the equipment they need to get their assignments done efficiently.

After working as an MSE wall foreman for two years, Bueno has been a bridge foreman for about a year. She has six years of overall construction experience. Her communication and planning skills have helped in her development along the way. As a foreman, she is always looking ahead — a week ahead, to be exact — to plan schedules and address her team’s needs. She said building relationships with the contractor and superintendents is important for anyone working in the field.

A construction work zone is a place where teamwork and consistent communication are needed. Bueno is adept at working with others and said it is important that she continues to be a voice that other foremen on the job can turn to if they need help, and she can go to them when she needs help as well.

“The other foremen that I work with will call me and say ‘Hey, you’ve done this more than I have, I need some advice, I need your help,’” she said. “I’ll do the same thing, vice versa. Being able to have somebody to talk to and keep you going is really what you need out here.”

At the I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway project, construction crews are working to convert the existing overpass into a new interchange, and while the project goes on, Bueno’s message for anyone who wants to work in the field is simple: your hard work will make a difference.

“If it’s something that you want to do, or something that you want to try, give it everything you have,” Bueno said. “People do notice the hard work. If you want to work somewhere that you can see your progress and you thrive off that progress, (construction work is) definitely something that you should try.”

For more information on the I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway project, visit I-4 at Daryl Carter Parkway Interim Interchange | I-4 Beyond (i4beyond.com).