When she retired after nearly a decade of playing professional basketball, Jaynetta Saunders found a new career she was just as passionate about: construction. “I love driving by something and being able to say, ‘Man, I helped build this bridge or this highway! My hands have been on almost all the roadways in Tarrant County, Texas, as well as surrounding cities,’” she says.
Jaynetta began her basketball career in 2001 after attending Texas A&M University. She was drafted in the WNBA’s second round by the Cleveland Rockers and traded to the Phoenix Mercury, where she played guard forward for more than two years. She then traveled overseas, playing for six years in such places as Belgium, Israel, Portugal, Luxemburg and Poland.
Jaynetta says it was her cousin who sparked her interest in the construction industry. “I had just finished playing ball and was relaxing, and my cousin asked me if I was interested in getting into construction.” Soon after she found herself working for Kiewit—one of the largest construction and engineering firms in North America—helping build the world’s largest pump station in Belleville, Louisiana. That experience was a slam dunk.
“I got to work on some great projects and travel to some pretty cool places” with Kiewit, she says. But it was her math skills that landed her in the surveying profession. “They saw I was good with numbers and asked if I wanted to get into surveying.” She did.
But after a few years doing conventional surveying, Jaynetta realized that she missed the art of building things. “Boundary surveys are cool, but I really wanted to get back closer to construction.” That’s why McKim & Creed was such a good fit for her. She joined the company’s Dallas/Fort Worth office earlier this summer as a geomatics crew member.
“Jay likes the construction side of the industry but she is quickly adapting to the other aspects of the surveying profession,” said Robbie Jackson, geomatics project manager with McKim & Creed. “Since we do a lot work for TxDOT, she is getting exposure to technologies she hasn’t used before, like terrestrial scanning, LiDAR, mobile mapping and subsurface utility engineering (SUE). That is feeding her passion.”
Jaynetta’s team spirit has made her a success on the basketball court, the construction site and in the surveying field. Now that’s a win!