December 5, 2022

Lindsay Nakaki joined Berkeley Lab in January 2022 as a Construction Manager with the Projects & Infrastructure Modernization division. She was one of two Construction Managers coordinating the efforts of hundreds of personnel this past August for the East Canyon infrastructure projects, and is the assigned Construction Manager for Seismic Safety & Modernization project.

Lindsay earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UC Berkeley and a masters degree in environmental policy from Sciences Po in Paris, before falling into construction management.

A native of Los Angeles, Lindsay recently purchased a home in the Bay Area. When she’s not traveling, skiing, or hiking, she can be found crocheting and hanging out with her German Shepherd/Husky mix rescue dog, Ronin.

How did you get started in construction and project management?

I kind of fell into it. After I got my masters degree in environmental policy I came home, began my “dream job” search, and also took a temp job in the meantime. Because I had a bachelor’s degree in architecture, the temp agency ended up placing me with a general contractor. At first I thought, why would I do construction? And then I realized that the people that I was working with were some of the smartest people I had ever met and the work was so challenging. I loved it. In construction, there are daily problems to solve, and I get to work with different people from so many different walks of life to solve those problems. It's not just about the building.

Your career went a different direction than you originally planned. What advice would you give to someone about making a major career change?

I think that career fulfillment and your happiness with your career can come very unexpectedly.

I wish that I had had more of a questioning attitude earlier on. I thought I was open-minded, but it’s easy to get blinded by what you think is your dream. Maybe you didn't understand what that dream really was, and there's something that is better suited for your personality and is fun. I think everyone deserves to find a job that they really enjoy doing.

What do you like about working at the Lab?

I really love my fellow Construction Managers, and how supportive they all are. This is also the first time where I've had a boss who I know wants the best for me and all the people that work for him. Feeling that support is not something I've felt elsewhere. You feel like you're on a team, and we have each other's backs. It’s a really cool environment to be in where you don't feel like you're competing with each other. It is collaborative and we want the best for each other.

Lindsay and Ronin enjoying some sunshine

Lindsay and electrician Joseph "Joko" Colmenares preparing for the East Canyon utility outage