Branch Builds Names First Female President

Cathy UnderwoodBranch Builds is pleased to announce the promotion of Catherine Underwood from senior vice president to president. In this role, she is responsible for defining key initiatives, identifying business growth opportunities, as well as developing and executing the strategic vision of the company.

Cathy joined Branch Builds in 2000 as an estimator and has since served in a variety of roles, including project manager, project executive, and director of construction management. She has held executive leadership responsibility since 2010, acting as vice president and later senior vice president and business unit leader for Branch Builds’ Roanoke, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices.

“The Branch Group is quite proud to have Cathy as the president of Branch Builds. She has the knowledge of the industry and leadership skills that will support her to excel in her new role,” said Chairman of the Board Ron Oakley.

As the first female to lead the company, Cathy’s 20 years of experience give her unparalleled insight into Branch Builds’ operations. Her skills have been invaluable in bringing complex projects to successful completion, including the $107.5 million Montgomery County Public Schools (VA) 3-School PPEA project as well as the $59 million Ridgeview High School/Middle School project in Dickenson County, Virginia. Cathy also pursued and led the company’s introductory LEAN construction project via Integrated Project Delivery. This experience directly resulted in the development of Branch Builds’ LEAN-based Team Centered Planning (TCP) process, a collaborative approach that emphasizes maximizing value for the customer while minimizing waste.

In 2018, Cathy received the Constructech Women in Construction Award, which recognizes women within the industry who take a step forward in technology and innovation, demonstrate bold leadership, and embrace mentorship.

“As a leader at Branch Builds, I believe it is important to live out our core values each and every day and be present and available to my fellow employee owners. There is a lot going on in our world right now and being there to listen to their concerns in whatever they are dealing with is imperative to me,” said Cathy. “I feel fortunate to work for an organization that supports and empowers me. I hope other women and young ladies can look at my path and see that there are opportunities for everyone in this industry.”

As president, Cathy intends for Branch Builds to expand its geographic footprint, continue to be a leader in innovative construction techniques, help grow its next generation of leaders, and remain a premier construction organization to work for, and with, in the industry.

“I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity,” said Cathy. “We have a great team and a bright future ahead of us.”

Cathy earned a Master of Science in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, where she also graduated with her bachelor’s degree. Committed to personal and professional development, she received her LEED Professional Accreditation and has completed the FMI Leadership Institute, Harvard School of Business Program on Negotiation, Virginia Tech Construction Affiliates Leadership Series, and The Management Institute at Roanoke College. She also serves as a board member for the Association for Learning Environments.