Heather Hutchinson - Sargent

Heather Hutchinson

Human Resources Manager

Q: What is your job title here at Sargent and what does that role involve?
A: I’ve been the HR manager for Sargent since May 2018, and I oversee human resources for the company. That includes personnel and benefits, and I also do the recruiting for the New England region. I oversee the HR person in Virginia, and I have another HR person here in Stillwater that mainly does benefits. I have a wellness person, and then I co-manage payroll with the controller.

Q: What would you say is the main challenge you encounter in your job?
A: Having enough time! [laughs] I would say the biggest challenge is constantly re-prioritizing my day, depending on what’s going on. I might have an employee issue that needs to be dealt with immediately, which results in my other daily projects going on the backburner.

Q: What were you doing in your career before you came to Sargent?
A: I did human resources for a handful of companies prior to joining Sargent. I actually worked for Sargent from 1992 to 1995 as the payroll admin before I took my first position elsewhere in HR.

Before that, I earned my associate’s degree in business administration from Northern Maine Community College, which at the time was the Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute. I also have a certificate in human resources from the University of Maine at Orono.

Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
A: I like working with people and helping them as best I can. I enjoy the challenges, and HR is always challenging, to say the least.

Q: What is it about Sargent as a company that sets them apart from other construction companies?
A: The biggest reason is the culture here. It’s very much a family-oriented company, even though we’ve grown to have about 400 employees. The fact that we’re employee-owned is a big part of it for me as well. As an employee-owner, you’re not working hard for someone else to profit. We all share in the profits and we have control over how well the company does because our individual work impacts the bottom line.

Throughout my career in HR, for about 11 years I co-owned a construction company with my former husband. I have a unique perspective because I know what it’s like to own a construction business, as well as being an employee, so the big appeal for me is that Sargent gives us the best of both worlds.

Q: Are there any accomplishments throughout your career that you’re especially proud of?
A: When I originally left Sargent in the nineties, I went to work for a group of physicians that owned a lab and a courier service. They didn’t have an HR department, so I built that department from nothing and was there for 14 years. Having constructed an HR department from scratch is something I’m very proud of, and it also gave me the ability to go into an existing HR department and see where things can be improved.

Q: Is there anyone that you’ve looked up to as a mentor in your life?
A: When I worked for the group of doctors, their CEO was an excellent mentor to me. He always took every person into consideration, from the pathologist who owned the business all the way down to the couriers who transported the specimens. He always looked out for everyone’s best interests.

He also understood that in my world, it’s difficult to make everyone happy. He used to joke with me that if I wasn’t pissing off at least one person a day, I wasn’t really doing my job. He was amazing to work for, and he taught me so many lessons that I’ve carried into my work with Sargent.

Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: My kids are grown, so I like to spend some time relaxing on the weekends these days. I also have friends that get together and go out sometimes. Some of my friends are into line dancing, which can be a fun time. I also like to watch movies, especially superhero movies.