Beneath Kathleen Logan's warmth and charm is a tough, tenacious, and resilient woman. She cuts through nonsense like a scythe, but she does so with warmth and sincerity that would win over even the most ardent skeptic.
Before, during, and since earning her St. Ambrose Bachelor of Arts degree in Business in 1995, Logan encountered – and erased – skepticism at every step of her remarkable life and career. She has thrived in previously male-dominated industries and done so with a combination of sheer will, intelligence, and a simple, matter-of-fact style that basically says, "You doubt I can handle this? Let me show you why you're wrong."
Her path is littered with vanquished skeptics.
As a teen, Logan paid her own tuition to Alleman High School, a Catholic institution in Rock Island, Illinois, while working as a server.
For nine years she pursued her SAU degree, taking classes at night while working at a local utility company for seven of those years and also raising a family.
Degree secured and wanting more, she ventured to Colorado to assume a series of big jobs at Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. She was director of procurement and administration at the company, managing several corporate departments and guiding a team of high-level managers spread across the continent. Other duties as assigned included a key role on a crisis management team that tackled the immediate impact of major hurricanes.
Logan left that demanding position looking to make a different kind of impact. She took a fundraising job with Mile High United Way of Denver and would have stayed on the job, but family needs brought her back home to the Quad Cities.
Here, she took a job at employee-owned Terracon, a national engineering consultant firm. Within six months, she was promoted to director of operations and today leads Iowa offices in Bettendorf and Dubuque. She is the first non-engineer/scientist to do so.
With the support of her boss and mentor, André Gallet, Logan had to prove she was capable. She proved it and then some; today she presides not only as the director of operations, but also as a principal in the company.
In the middle of all of the above, Logan also fought through stage 3 breast cancer, which included surgery, nine months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation.
"Terracon is a wonderful company, and I love working here," Logan said. "But it was a challenge. I had to prove myself because I'm not an engineer or scientist. But when you think about it, the business model makes sense. It allows our engineers and scientists to focus on their technical strengths while I support them and the operations end of the business. Supporting the team, helping them and our clients succeed is what I really enjoy about my job."
Logan used her people and organizational skills to help land Terracon a large quality control contract as part of the new, $1.2 billion I-74 bridge currently under construction across the Mississippi River.
She credits St. Ambrose with burnishing an already strong sense of community and giving back. She volunteers her time teaching second graders a Junior Achievement class on community and is actively involved with Lead(H)er, a mentorship program that fuels career and community engagement for young professional women, as well as myriad other non-profit and community organizations and programs, including the St. Ambrose Wine Festival series.
"St. Ambrose ties into everything," Logan said. "Not only did they accommodate my need to attend night school and provide a strong business/management foundation for me through my degree, but they also very much instilled a responsibility to give back to the community."