Dani Rust, Project Engineer at Baldwin General

Inside Baldwin General Contracting: A Q&A with Dani Rust (Project Engineer)

Project Engineer Dani Rust looking at hotel build by Baldwin General Contracting

In this on-going Q&A series, go Inside Baldwin General Contracting to get a closer look at the dedication and attention to detail that goes into each individual project, while also recognizing the talented individuals – Project Managers, Project Engineers, and fellow staff members – who have helped build Baldwin General into an industry leader throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Whereas previous editions of Inside Baldwin have centered on those with life-long experiences in construction, this time we shine a much deserved spotlight on Dani Rust who is off to a strong start in her career. A Project Engineer with a background in healthcare before making the transition into general contracting, Dani is a big reason why Baldwin is “building a better way forward” as she provides a fresh young look within an ageless industry. 

“Be willing to ask questions and learn,” said Dani when asked what words of advice she has for those beginning their career in construction.

“This industry has a lot of different parts and pieces and there will be times where you don’t know much about something, and it is okay to ask questions.”

Dani recently answered this question and more and she retraveled the road that ultimately led to joining Baldwin, the characteristics that make for a strong Project Engineer, and the excitement that comes with working on a project like the new 142,000 square feet Nuovo Apartments in Bellevue, Washington.

Dani Rust with Son, Baldwin Project Engineeer

Before we get into your work at Baldwin as a Project Engineer, can you share how you got your start in the business and what made you pursue a position in construction?

Before working in the construction industry, I had worked in healthcare. Towards the end of my time in healthcare, the clinic I was currently for had bought their own building to remodel and relocate one of their locations. Hearing this news brought back memories from when I was a child. I remembered when I was young, I had the opportunity to see my parents build their home. I was able to see different stages of the build and see the progress of the house coming together. After moving into the home, I started drawing floor plans of houses. It was fun for me to draw these and make them my own. Remembering this sparked my interest in construction again and I decided to start my career over in the construction industry.

What do you appreciate the most about being able to work as a Project Engineer?

Being able to work as a Project Engineer, I appreciate being able to constantly learn the most. Even though projects have many things that are the same, every project is different. Each project has its own individual challenges, and this gives me the opportunity to learn about many different things in the industry. Being a Project Engineer, I have the ability to learn internally at Baldwin from other Project Engineers, Project Managers, preconstruction, administration as well as learn externally from architects, engineers, clients, or subcontractors. I am learning something new every day.

What is the key to balancing a career and motherhood?

Having flexibility and setting boundaries is the key to balancing a career and motherhood. Baldwin supports me in having the flexibility to juggle this, and they understand how important it is to me to make sure I am there for my son (Hudson) and that he is my number one priority.

What projects have you worked with during your time at Baldwin that you are most proud of? Are there builds that you have drawn a personal connection to?

It is hard to say what projects that I have worked on with Baldwin that I am most proud of due to not having had the opportunity until now to start with a project from the beginning and being on it through to the end. I have now been able to be on a couple of projects from the start and I’m excited to see the success of these projects and be proud of them in the end.

Bellevue Nouvo Apartments project build by Baldwin General

What are you currently working on that you are excited about and why?

One of the current projects I am excited to be currently working on is the Nuovo Apartments in Bellevue, Washington. I am excited to be able to work on this project as it is the largest project I have been able to help manage. The apartment building is roughly 142,000 square feet spanning over six levels. I have helped with many small projects, and it motivates me to be able to help Baldwin with a much larger project where I can continue to develop as a Project Engineer.

Working on this project also gives me the chance to work with subcontractors I have not had the opportunity to work with in Oregon. I am given the opportunity to help Baldwin grow by contributing to developing relationships with subcontractors in Washington, mainly in the Seattle-Bellevue area.

For those aspiring to become a Project Engineer, what words of advice would you offer?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about something you don’t know much about. This industry has a lot of different parts and pieces and there will be times where you don’t know much about something, and it is okay to ask questions. Be willing to ask questions and learn.

How had Baldwin helped support and grow your own career path in the industry?

Baldwin gave me the opportunity to take a leap of faith to work in an industry that I hadn’t worked in before. Not only giving me the opportunity to take the leap but gave me the tools to learn and the people willing to mentor me into who I have become as a Project Engineer today. 

What do you feel makes for a strong Project Engineer?

Ambition, honesty, dedication, being open-minded, and willingness to learn makes for a strong Project Engineer.

What differentiates Baldwin from other builders?

Baldwin focuses on developing relationships with subcontractors, clients, architects, and engineers to bring success to projects and work together to develop business.

To learn more about Baldwin General Contracting or for any questions, connect with Baldwin on the company website or on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.