Bridging the Gap

by Balfour Beatty

December 6, 2023

Every day, teams across the country live out Balfour Beatty’s purpose of building new futures. Kasey Bevans, SVP, Chief Information Officer, and Denise Hubley, Buildings EVP, Chief Financial Officer, recently had the opportunity to see that purpose expand across the world, joining our Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) team in Rwanda as they built the Gihinga trail bridge.

A Hands-On Experience

Initially, the team planned for Denise and Kasey to visit the bridge site toward the end of the build, so they could participate in the ribbon cutting and opening celebrations. However, due to scheduling changes, the pair made the trip out to Rwanda on the third day of construction.

“I couldn’t think of a better time for our visit,” says Denise. “The team welcomed us right into the fold, and we got a true, hands-on experience.”

Although they were only on the build site for three days, Denise and Kasey were determined to make the most of their time and contribute as much as they could. They jumped in immediately and had the opportunity to experience several key activities, such as torquing the bridge cables, shoveling concrete and hauling equipment.

“It was some of the most demanding physical labor I’ve ever done, but so rewarding,” says Kasey. “We were honored to help our team and work alongside members of the community.”

Community Ties

The most impactful aspect of the trip for Denise and Kasey was stepping into a new culture and seeing how readily they were accepted. As they rode into the village, the pair was met with smiles and waves from the local children. They regularly traded fist bumps with the members of the local community and worked side-by-side with the local builders including the highly esteemed leader of the town of Kirambo.

“Everyone we interacted with was extremely grateful for the bridge,” says Denise. “Each day when we left the build site, we saw hundreds of children in the village. Some of them had to walk as far as three miles to cross the river to get to school. Witnessing that really put into perspective the positive impact this project would have.”

While they couldn’t remain in country to witness the Gihinga trail bridge completion, they did have the opportunity to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony for another B2P project nearby. The community’s joy as they celebrated that bridge opening was palpable and infectious, giving Denise and Kasey even more passion for our partnership with B2P.

Learning on the Job

Denise and Kasey have decades of experience in the construction industry, but neither have hands-on experience working in the field. Despite some initial trepidation, both quickly realized that they had no reason for concern.

“We had such knowledgeable people with us,” says Kasey. “Everyone was very patient in teaching us what to do and answering any questions we had.”

Teammates like Project Manager Chris Nelson, Superintendent John Uhl, Senior Project Engineer Evan Rossi, Assistant Project Manager Michael Smith, VP of Loss Prevention Chris Diaz and Project Manager Anvesh Motadoo guided Denise and Kasey through their tasks and ensured they got to experience every aspect of the project.

Denise stresses the value of the experience for any Balfour Beatty teammates who may be interested in the B2P program, whether they are boots-on-the-ground or working from an office every day.

“Personal skillset was not nearly as important as our work ethic and willingness to try something new,” she says. “This was a unique opportunity to experience another culture and make a real difference. If anyone is interested in joining next year’s build team, I would encourage them to apply.”