Karen Okerlund a LABJ Women’s Council & Awards Nominee

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LABJ_Women's Council Awards_Karen Okerlund

Karen Okerlund, director of marketing and client development at Oltmans Construction Co., is a 2019 “Rising Star” nominee for the LA Business Journal’s Women’s Council and Awards.

Karen is a marketing professional who, with over 14 years of construction industry experience, leads as the director of marketing and client development at Oltmans Construction Co., an 87-year-old, family-led general contracting firm based in Whittier, CA.

Upon joining the Oltmans team in 2013, Karen got to work, introducing a new, modernized business campaign that would leverage the company’s impressive history and prepare for the future with a fresh, refocused approach. She unified the Oltmans brand across all platforms (some which hadn’t been updated since the 1990s), and her efforts have since completely changed the way Oltmans is recognized by its staff and the industry.

Today, Karen’s role at Oltmans has broadened beyond marketing. She’s involved in expanding the company’s reach within the education and healthcare markets, and has played an important role in all major hiring efforts and the incorporation of more efficient methods of operation and goals for a balanced workforce. A demographic snapshot of Oltmans in 2019 shows that the company’s staff is now 42 percent female and 58 percent male, with 35 percent Millennial and 39 percent Generation X representation. These types of changes at the company have jumpstarted major advancements in company culture and the overall business plan.

Furthering the growth of company culture, Karen spearheaded the creation of Oltmans’ “Culture Committee,” an integrated group of over 45 volunteer employees (30 percent of the office staff), which focuses on: interdepartmental team building, planning company-wide events, organizing charitable efforts, and solidifying the relationship between our office and Union field staff. Karen simultaneously began the multi-phased renovation of Oltmans’ 30-year-old headquarters. Under her leadership, the office has transformed into a space that is more conducive to collaboration, connectivity and creativity—and 97 percent of Oltmans employees agree, according to a third-party employee satisfaction survey which deemed Oltmans a “great place to work.”

In addition to Karen’s considerable contributions to Oltmans Construction Co., she is actively involved with the Orange County Rescue Mission, Olive Crest, and the American Red Cross. She is an accomplished UCLA and Commercial Real Estate Development Association Young Professionals Group (NAIOP YPG) alumni and lends her talents to the organization as their social chair for 2019/2020. She participated in NAIOP’s prestigious, year-long “35 Under 35” program while she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, and she and her team went on to win the final case study competition.

Karen is also the co-owner of an online children’s boutique, Joy + Love. She and her husband, Phil, are raising two beautiful, young daughters to know that they can make positive impacts and accomplish remarkable things when they truly have a heart for others.