ASPA Member Highlight – Kelly Gatzke, Senior Project Manager, Enterprise Project Management Office, Strategic Program Office

Written by Karen E. Mosier

Kelly Gatzke studied 2 ½ years at the University of Regina in from 1988 to 1990. His summer employment created a career change to complete his Journeyman Electrician Certification in 1996. He attained his Construction Specifications Canada CCCA (Certified Construction Contract Administrator) in early 2015.

He has been an ASPA member since August 16, 2016. While employed at the University of Saskatchewan, he completed his PMP (Project Manager Professional) designation in early 2018. He is currently taking night classes and will be finishing his Certificate in Business in April 2020.

Kelly and his team work collaboratively to successfully deliver projects by managing scope, risk, costs, schedule, and add value to the campus through their collective abilities. As a project manager, Kelly is accountable to ensure that everyone on the team knows and executes their role, feels empowered and supported in their role. Communication is a critical part of his role as a Project Manager. They work to gather client requirements and business needs for all projects. Delivering what the client needs while maintaining the vision for the whole campus is their primary objective.

What Kelly likes best about his job is the ability to share his career experiences for the betterment of the University’s long-term interests in the growth of our campus. His unique perspective comes from experiences gained while he worked as a tradesperson e.g., electrician, supervisor, engineering construction administration manager, architectural construction contract administrator. The more diversity in one’s work life creates what he likes to call “lenses” to view an issue from various perspectives when he engages with others in group discussions.

What Kelly appreciates the most about working at the university is the work life balance that affords him to camp, fish and spend quality time with family and friends. He believes that the University of Saskatchewan is one, if not the most beautiful, campus in the country. Kelly acknowledges that it is very rewarding for him to be a part of making improvements to existing buildings, adding new buildings and building more reliable infrastructure to keep our campus running smoothly. He firmly attests that, “The talent on our U of S campus is incredible and with the humble nature of the people of Saskatchewan, we don’t tell others enough about what great things are being done”.

Kelly is motivated to do what he does out of a sense of pride and excitement. The facilities on campus have very high usage and with that our campus systems must undergo an extremely heavy workload. A strong sense of pride goes into the great level of detail that is given to the selection of materials used on campus to ensure the function and workload are up to the quality required to achieve this. This is critical to create this unique learning and research environment. Kelly is also excited to see what is coming next for the campus and how much it will change for the better in the future.

Kelly believes in the importance of education. His PMP, CCCA, CBUS and Electrical Journeyman Certificate all provide a unique background for his current role. One piece of advice a journeyman told early in his apprenticeship was “Try to learn something from everyone you work with” and he has tried to carry that with him during his working career of nearly 30 years. He advocates that it is important to continue learning and refining your present skills and fill in any gaps that may be present to bring even more value to wherever it is that you are working.

Kelly appreciates the support that is available from ASPA to members as an advocate to negotiate and protect our interests in a fair and equitable manner. This is his first experience in working in a union environment and it has been a very good experience for him, with friendships, collaboration, and genuine interest from other members and other bargaining units on campus. In addition, the professional development funds allow him to continue his education, and build and maintain on his current industry recognized designations. As well, he notes that the tuition waiver is a great opportunity that allows members to take classes with the tuition waived and pay only a small cost to take each class, whereas the APDA can be used to support the costs for buying books.

If Kelly could give advice to other ASPA members, it would be to embrace the benefits that ASPA has in place for our members. Especially try to take in as many of the applicable items that are covered by our benefits like life insurance coverage, that is very attractively priced to protect the well-being of your family should something happen to you.

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