Member Spotlight: Kat Sabo

Kat Sabo, President at Budova Engineering

Name, Job Title, and Company: Kat Sabo, President, Budova Engineering

Describe your job. My job is to develop relationships with members of the A/E/C and CRE communities and learn how Budova can best serve them and their clients.  My job is also to find projects that are a good fit for us, write proposals, pay bills, attend every industry event within a three-state radius, return emails in the middle of the night when I am trying to catch up, sponsor events, and a whole hoopla of other things.  When you own a small business, you wear many hats and are constantly trying to keep them all from tipping off your head. This is especially difficult on windy days.

How long have you been a CREW Member?  Two glorious years

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join?  I knew from the moment I attended my first CREW event that it was an organization with which I wanted to be involved.  I met Lindsey Kiefer before I joined, and she went out of her way to follow up on a conversation we had.  She’s a good egg. 

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of. I was the Programs Committee Co-Chair in 2018, and currently I am honored to serve on the Board as the Programs Director.

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations? Our members are genuine and truly want to help one another professionally and personally.  Also, there are no cliques.  It’s an easy room to walk into. Please note, these comments are not meant to be disparaging in any way toward other organizations.

Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally? Yes.  As soon as I joined CREW, Theresa Stegman of Ancora Partners [she was at its parent company, Cross Street Partners, at the time] invited me to come in to discuss an upcoming project.  While there, she asked a colleague, Adam, to join the meeting.  Adam’s project also needed LEED services, and Budova was hired for the Hoen Lithograph Building project.  We’re also doing the IgCC commissioning on a job for Manns Woodward Studios, thanks to Lindsey Kiefer introducing us after she started working there.  Last but certainly not least, I hired Michele Cohen of Miles and Stockbridge who has done a fantastic job helping us with contract negotiations.  I look forward to working with many other CREW members in the future.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business and how did you overcome it? This is the elephant that is continuously in my room, regardless of whether or not anyone else can see it.  Usually it feels like it is sitting on my lap.  Although I am the majority owner of an engineering firm, I am not an engineer, so MDOT denied us woman-owned certification.  I was shocked.  We had just relocated here from Atlanta, didn’t know a soul, and had been told 573 times in the first week that I absolutely needed that certification to break into this market.  Once I could get out of my own head about it, I made the decision that we were going to move forward and make it work without it.  I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason and what is meant to be will be.  I’ve worked hard to build relationships with people here and have found that to be more valuable than a piece of paper from MDOT.  Please note:  In case you are reading, MDOT, don’t get me wrong.  I’d be happy to accept that piece of paper should you change your mind.

What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself. Spare time?  Now that’s funny.  Seriously, though, I used to run.  Fun fact?  I’ve run ten marathons.  No-so-fun fact?  Last year I found out I have a herniated disc, a bulging disc, as well as a tear in one of them.  I think I need to find a new hobby.  Like back surgery.  I love reading and watching football, too.  I can’t disclose my team or there will be booing in the background; however, if you really want to know, keep reading.

What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)? Ice cream.  Preferably with chocolate jimmies and the most delectable taste in the entire universe, Nutella.  I would eat it every day if I could.  For every meal.  I’m trying not to categorize it as its own food group in 2019, so please excuse my personality this year as a result.  It could get ugly.

What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? The second?

  • Buy Superbowl LIII tickets for my family [me, my husband, & our two sons], my dad, and our good friends in New England.
  • Put away enough to pay for our sons’ college education and our retirement.  Then tell my husband he can go fishing.  Every day.
  • Donate to charities, including CREW Network Foundation of course.  
  • Take my husband and sons on a trip around the world, which would include swimming with dolphins. 
  • Hire a personal chef, trainer, and massage therapist.