Journal of Commerce – March, 2005
The Journal is celebrating the achievements of women in the construction industry. The 13 women profiled, all took the path less travelled and all agree that the industry offers many opportunities for a satisfying career, whether it be as an architect, engineer, electrician or project manager. Through perseverance and hard work, these women have found rewarding careers in their respective occupations. They are ambitious, willing to pay their dues and love the industry for its diversity, flexibility and tangibility. They are also some of the pioneers in traditionally male dominated positions, proving women can and do hold their own in the industry. Their enthusiasm and experiences are an inspiration to women considering a new career path.
How does it feel to be 36, a woman and the head of a multi-million dollar company globally recognized as a leader in concrete solutions?
“It feels pretty good,” laughs Kari Yuers, CEO and President of Kryton International.
Having assumed management roles in the company at the young age of 23, Yuers is well aware of however achievements.
In 2001, Yuers took over the reins of the company founded in 1973 by her father Ron, who today still serves as the chairman of the board.
The “Queen of Concrete” has a diverse background in the construction industry from childhood days of sweeping floors at her father’s factory to painting, roofing and general contracting.
She studied psychology at the University of B.C. but left to try her hand at a variety of jobs before returning to Kryton in 1991. She served the company in a number of
capacities, including technical services, sales and general manager for 10 years.
Yuers was hands on in every department, learning about the business and its products while honing her skills and expertise in technical support and research development.
She speaks with enthusiasm for not only the company but also the industry in general.
“I just love it,” she says. “I love concrete. And I love learning new stuff. I love the fact that we can solve problems.”
Yuers recalls going to meetings in her 20’s and being the only woman in a room out of 100 men. She views being a woman as an advantage in the male dominated industry. “I feel very lucky – I never looked at being a woman as a disadvantage,” she says.
She also counts herself lucky to be working with a talented team of 40 in Vancouver. Yuers emphasizes the importance of recruiting, training and developing talented people.
A leader in waterproofing systems and specialty coatings, Kryton manufactures and sells more than 150 products on all five continents.
Yuers’ plans include continuing Kryton’s significant annual growth rate, building a strong international distribution network and establishing a new global cohesive branding strategy.
Kryton’s specialization in crystalline technology and coatings remains the number one area of growth.
Yuers also expects to be opening new offices in Europe and possibly the Middle East in addition to ones in the U.S., Beijing and Vancouver.
Outside of work, she’s active in numerous professional organizations, notably Construction Specifications Canada and American Concrete Institute
International. She was most recently appointed a director of the Leadership& Management Development Council of B.C.
Yuers was the co-chair if the 2003 ACI spring convention held in Vancouver, an event she counts among her greatest achievements. It took four years to
plan and put in place, she notes.
Yuers has won two CSC Merit of Achievement Awards for outstanding contribution, which are “dear and near to her heart” and in October 2003 she was named Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Pacific Region.
Through ACI Yuers coaches and mentors young people. As well Kryton has a co-op program for local and international students.
For Yuers, her father Ron is her main mentor. “He did a great job of pulling me under his wing and giving me an opportunity to grow within the company and really helped me to understand and learn aspects of business as well as the industry,” she says.