The accomplished business leader and educator will set the course and extend the growth of the AEC firm’s PMCM business in Texas and the Southwest
McKissack & McKissack, one of the nation’s leading Black- and woman-owned architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies, announced today that Heidi Obie joined the company as vice president of operations for Texas. The Houston-based executive has more than 23 years of experience leading program management construction management (PMCM) and building projects in multiple markets. She will focus on operations and P&L, and partner with McKissack’s Dallas-based Business Development VP Shandra Colón to grow the firm’s capacity and PMCM business in Texas and the Southwest.
Obie comes to McKissack from a long-standing career with large global consulting firms, where she served in multiple roles that have given her impressive AEC industry experience. Most recently, she was a PMCM VP and business leader in the buildings, water and transportation markets in South Texas. Since 2015, she also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston (UH) College of Technology’s Construction Management Department and was vice chair of the Strategic Planning Committee on the UH Construction Management Industry Advisory Board.
“As a West Indies immigrant, university-level educator and mentor to many students, Heidi is also a trailblazer and incredible role model for young minority women pursuing professional careers,” McKissack added.
Obie sits on the board of directors for the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, was a recent graduate of the 2022 Class XL Leadership Houston cohort and remains active in several national AEC industry groups. These include the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), where she served as a past chair of the board of governors for the Construction Management Certification Institute (CMCI). She is committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in AEC, and in particular attracting young women and people of color to STEM fields. To that end, besides mentoring University of Houston students Obie serves on the Education Committee of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Obie’s proven leadership in PMCM supports McKissack’s growth in Texas
“Heidi has proven leadership skills and deep experience navigating the AEC industry, which will be invaluable to our company’s growing operation in Texas,” McKissack said. “Because we’re a mid-sized company, we don’t have a cumbersome structure that can slow things down and hamper innovation. But we are looking to Heidi for her expertise in refining processes to maximize groundbreaking solutions, spur continuous improvement and inspire people to do their best work.
“Heidi’s academic experience is also a plus for our company, especially when it comes to attracting exceptional talent in a competitive market. Teaching has given her access to a lot of talent, and she has stayed in contact with many of her students over the years,” McKissack added.
“I’m looking forward to channeling all my prior experiences into this remarkable opportunity,” Obie said. “McKissack already has a solid presence in Texas after working here for almost a decade. They’ve already been awarded many major projects here, and even made history last year when Fort Worth selected them as the first Black woman-owned business to be the top firm for capital projects. We’re growing very quickly here because McKissack is nimble and streamlined and can react to opportunities and market needs quickly. I find that extremely rewarding, but we must be strategic about maximizing our efficacy and expertise.
Initially, Obie says McKissack will be focusing on several sectors—education, healthcare, water and transportation. She is also committed to maintaining and strengthening McKissack’s celebrated culture, noted for its people- and client-centric focus where employees and their families are inspired and empowered every day. In addition, longstanding client relationships are fueled by the firm’s commitment, service and excellent performance.
Obie brings majority-company skills back to a minority, woman-owned AEC business
After more than two decades working with large international consulting firms, Obie said she was drawn to McKissack because of its entrepreneurial spirit and “humble, hungry and smart” culture inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s “The Ideal Team Player.” “What I admire about the McKissack team is their willingness to go the extra mile to support each other and deliver excellent service. I saw tenacity. I saw fearlessness. I saw excitement about executing projects of every size, whether small or large. That was inspiring to me.”
“Heidi truly feels like coming to McKissack was a calling,” McKissack said. “She learned so many significant skills with some of the largest AEC companies in the nation and knows so much about best practice from teaching. Given her many talents and enormous drive, she will be instrumental in helping us grow in synchrony with Texas—one of our nation’s fastest growing states. We are fortunate to have her on our team.”
Obie was born in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia. She moved to the United States to attend Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in construction management and building construction. After several years of work in the design and construction management industry, she shifted her focus to business operations. To support that focus, she earned an executive MBA in management at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her professional registrations and certifications include Certified Construction Manager (CCM) and Safety-Trained Supervisor (STS).
Obie lives in Houston with her husband and their 5-year-old daughter. Her extended family lives in Texas and in St. Lucia. In addition to her business and industry group leadership roles, Obie has been active in community service and advocacy roles dating back to her time at Virginia Tech, where she joined the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, a national sorority that emphasizes continuing achievement and community involvement by Black women. Since 2001, she has advocated for children and families through her volunteer work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Houston and nearby counties. She was recently inducted into the National Women of Achievement (NWOA).
About McKissack & McKissack: Founded in 1990, McKissack is a national woman and minority-owned architecture, engineering, program and construction management firm dedicated to delivering industry-leading expertise and best-in-class services to a diverse array of clients in all market sectors. McKissack strives to work with clients to envision and deliver building and infrastructure projects that enrich people’s lives and empower communities to flourish. Based in Washington D.C. with offices in Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles, McKissack’s three services areas are architecture and interiors, program and construction management and infrastructure. It is ranked by Engineering News-Record among the top 50 Program Management Firms and top 100 Construction Management For-Fee firms in the nation. Learn more at mckinc.com.