After four years in the Marine Corp, Brita Nykreim spotted a crane and something told her life would never be the same.
“I saw a crane and told my parents, ‘I think I’d like to get up there,’” she recalls. “‘I know you will, Sis,’ my dad replied. The next thing we knew I was accepted into IUOE Local 302 apprenticeship program just outside of White Swan in 1995.”
Brita didn’t miss a beat and was dispatched immediately to Lakeside Industries after finishing her apprenticeship. She then worked for Hurlen Construction, which is now PPM.
“The idea of building and mastering a craft attracted me,” she reflects. “At the time I had no idea what it all entailed, but I knew I wanted to be outside and I loved building.”
Brita once took a two week dispatch that ended up spanning more than two decades, starting with one of Seattle’s memorable projects: EMP (Experience Music Project), now MoPOP, founded by Paul Allen and designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The 140,000-square-foot building was inspired by the piecing together of electric guitars.
“This project was extremely unique—a real eye opener for me,” she explains. “All the panels were trucked from St. Louis to Seattle and not a single one of those panels fit—they all had to be refabricated. It was very challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
One of her fondest memories was getting the chance to work on EMP side by side with her dad, brother and brother-in-law who worked in the sheet metal business.
“I’ve worked on so many amazing projects—from the Hilton Grand Islander high rise in Waikiki, and EMP to the Green River Water Treatment Facility—and I can say tower crane work is nothing short of extraordinary. But being able to work with my family was a career highlight.”
After years of operating hydraulic cranes, and rigging and running tower cranes Brita joined the Mayfield’s family as a valuable team member in field support. Her love for being outside is still strong as she is more than happy to fill in running tower cranes and rigging, if needed.
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