Lisa Ballantyne has spent nearly her entire career working at Turner Construction Company-but she didn't always know she would end up in risk management.
was growing up in a suburb of Boston, Ballantyne
said, "Education was the number one thing.
Ballantyne had always been a strong math and science student, so she decided to study engineering at Tulane University.
After college, with help from an uncle who worked for a heavy highway civil engineering company, she
found a job as a civil engineer.
"I realized right away as an engineer I was not going to be a good designer.
I was not going to sit behind a desk and just draw all day," Ballantyne
said of her
"What I really loved was being able to touch and feel whatever it was that we were building."
first job working on Boston's Big Dig (a 20-year project to reroute a major highway through a downtown tunnel), she
realized construction was the industry for her
"Construction was great," she
"I was actually able to get on the job site and watch things really happening."
In 1998, two years into her career, Ballantyne accepted a job at Turner Construction Company, and she's been there ever since, first in the Boston office, then New Jersey, and now California.
She went back to school part time while in Boston to earn her MBA from Simmons College because she was interested in the business side of construction.
Now Ballantyne serves as Turner's vice president and general manager of the company's offices in Northern California.
Along the way, she worked in the role of vice president for risk management, overseeing insurance, safety, and claims and legal affairs.
, risk management satisfied her
love of forming strong relationships with colleagues while still staying close to the building process.
"We get to see the product, build the product, and actually interact with people," she
Ballantyne's professional experience gave her
a unique understanding of the importance of risk management.
started out in general management at Turner
, and her
close relationship with clients helped her
realize the pressure to say yes when it comes to safety-related decisions.
knows you can't always say yes, Ballantyne
has learned that risk management isn't about being the bad guy either.
"Our job is not to say no to risks, but to at least identify what the risks are and try to help the general managers make decisions based on how we can mitigate those risks," she
Risk management is becoming increasingly significant in helping to ensure business success at Turner
"We're looking at the bigger picture in how we approach a project to make sure that it's going to be as successful as possible for the employees, for the company, for our partners that we're working for, and for the subcontractors on the site," said Ballantyne
"Yes, we're in the business to build buildings, to make money," Ballantyne
said, "but not at the cost of safety."
"It's kind of like a puzzle.
If we can find a creative solution, a way to actually be able to say yes, that is when I have the most fun," Ballantyne