Andrea Wharton is the Division Controller for the Pennsylvania Regions within Barrett Industries, the Colas USA subsidiary that operates throughout the Northeast United States.
Read more about Andrea through the following spotlight.
Describe your role to someone who is not familiar with the construction industry or Colas USA.
As the Division Controller, I work with the Pennsylvania Regions and the Barrett Corporate Finance team on financial reporting, consolidation, budgeting, and analysis of data. I work with our Senior Leadership Team on business development and strategy.
I also have the opportunity to work on some special projects, such as analysis of potential acquisition targets and recruiting within our finance department.
What has been your favorite project so far?
One of my favorite projects I’ve worked on so far was when I had the opportunity to attend the Colas UNI 3 program in 2022/2023. This project was working with an international group of peers in my cohort to research, analyze, and put together a presentation on our topic of how we could more effectively communicate the Colas core values of Caring, Sharing, and Daring (and specifically Daring for my group), to all Colas employees.
We were tasked with coming up with specific solutions that would be simple to implement and effective not just in North America, but all over the world. We were challenged to think outside the box, work with an international team, and then also present our ideas and findings to the Chairman/CEO, Vice President of Human Resources, and Chief Financial Officer for the Colas Group.
What drew you to working within the construction industry?
I never imagined that I would be working in the construction industry but found myself with an opportunity to work within the Colas Group through a connection I made during my time as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers. I soon found that I loved being in a work environment that was interesting, tangible, different and challenging every day, and allowed me to work with a large variety of great people with different interests and skillsets.
It was an added bonus that the company was French-owned, so I could continue to practice the French I learned during my college minor classes and study abroad program when I lived in Rouen, France for six months.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work every day?
One of the main drivers that motivates me every day is the people. I have worked with so many different people over the years and one common thread I have found is their strong work ethic, integrity, drive to succeed, team focused mentality, and overall positive attitude even in tough times.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Some people may not know that my husband and I flip houses at night and on the weekends. It can be pretty hectic and stressful at times, but it’s something incredibly rewarding that we get to share together. When a house goes on the market and sells only a few days later, you know all the literal blood, sweat, and tears were worth it!
From her nomination:
“The characteristics that make Andrea an effective leader is her combination of professional civility, intelligence, and positivity. Whether it is engaging the Senior Leadership Team at Barrett Industries to setting direction for all of the company or coaching controllers to improve processes and results, she combines friendly questioning with allowing her team the freedom to try new things. She embodies the concepts of caring, sharing and daring. She shows up to work every day with a positive attitude, her work ethic and attitude are contagious. She is always willing to help a co-worker when needed. She makes everyone around her a better person, and if she is on your team, you already have a head-start. She is a good mentor and advisor; she has sound advice and guidance.”