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Carter Blazes Unique Trail to the Top 


The first time Korin Carter went to an IAPMO Southern Nevada Chapter meeting, she was merely filling in for her boss. Five years later, she presides over them as their first female chair.

“He was supposed to go, and I wasn’t really familiar with what it was all about until I got there,” she said. “And then I started meeting these people; a lot of the people I had had interaction with.”

Carter took a somewhat circuitous route from her drafting classes at a technical high school in Rochester, New York, to the Las Vegas area. After graduating, she went to work for Eastman Kodak and enrolled in its drafting apprenticeship program, which included engineering classes at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Several years later, she was a victim of downsizing at Eastman Kodak and went to work for MDT Corp., which made supplies for dentist’s offices such as sterilizers and lights, in addition to work for the Department of Defense. Thinking a change would do her some good, she moved to Virginia and worked at several engineering firms, ultimately landing at Clark Nexsen, one of the largest architecture and engineering design firms on the East Coast. It was here, she said, that she gained a better understanding of the construction side of things.

Her husband Donald’s Marine Corps career then took them across the country to Southern California for about five years, during which time she worked as an information technology designer. Shortly after he completed his military service, they moved back to Virginia and she resumed her employment with Clark Nexsen, this time as a designer instead of as a drafter. About seven years later, they headed back out West, settling in the Las Vegas area, where she went to work for JBA Consulting Engineers. However, this was in early 2008 — just before the construction bust — and within months she was looking for another job because the projects for which she had been hired were being canceled. Carter landed on her feet at Love Engineering, where she would stay until deciding to strike out on her own in May 2017, when she started Soarsa Consulting.

“It occurred to me one day that I could either continue making money for someone else, or finish out my career on my terms, with my rules,” she said.

Carter now does mechanical and plumbing design work under the tutelage of professional engineers. She also provides support during the construction process, such as answering questions and reviewing submittals. Carter describes it as being more of a service organization than a consulting firm.

She said the networking and educational opportunities that being an IAPMO member provide have greatly benefited her career.

“There’s much to be said about knowing somebody face to face and being able to ask them questions,” she said.

Initially unaware that she was to become the Southern Nevada Chapter’s first female chair, Carter is very proud of the honor.

“We’re talking about a genuinely male-dominated field that the females are just scratching up to the top, slowly, over the past 20 years,” she said. “I’m sure I’m going to be under a little bit of scrutiny, but that’s OK; I’m up for the challenge. They wouldn’t have asked me to be chair if they didn’t think I was worthy.”

Carter listed several goals she would like to accomplish during her time as chair of the Southern Nevada Chapter. First, she would like to increase participation from mechanical contractors. Code changes have a tremendous impact on mechanical work, she said, so it is important to increase their involvement and make sure everybody is on the same page.

“Knowing what is required of them is important, and trying to get them involved,” she said. “Fortunately Dennis Cicala, the new vice chair, is involved in the SNARCSA [Southern Nevada Air Conditioning Refrigeration Service Contractors Association] chapter here also and will be able to help with that.”

Carter’s second goal is to get more women involved in IAPMO.

“I know the female professionals are out there,” she said. “It’s how do I draw them in and get them involved in the conversations that go on, and involved in the chapter, and get that firsthand knowledge of what has been discussed at conference, what is being looked at by Clark County?”

Finally, Carter wants to reach out to high school students to let them know that there are lucrative career paths — such as the trades — that do not require a college degree.

Along with exposing new high school graduates to career opportunities in the trades, she said, it is important to get them involved in the codes and what is going on in the state of construction in their respective areas. 

“Having gone to a technical high school, going through that, I had that experience,” said Carter, who does not have a college degree. “I can speak to them from that experience and say, ‘This was the best thing for me.’”

Outgoing chapter Chairman Jordan Krahenbuhl said Carter is a very knowledgeable person who has already greatly benefited IAPMO.

In addition to her professional knowledge, he said, she has shown to be very innovative in coming up with ideas for chapter functions such as the installation party. In her role as vice chair, she was key in planning the most recent installation party and came up with the idea for a “gangster” theme. More than 100 people attended the highly successful event.

Krahenbuhl’s advice to Carter is to “Just keep being her. Keep doing what she does because she’s very good at it. She’s a huge asset to our chapter, and has been for a while.”

Another former chairman, Allen Decker, echoed Krahenbuhl’s sentiments. The chapter was developing some customer engagement and sponsorship programs, he said, and despite initial concerns about the time commitment, Carter jumped right in.

“That’s one of the biggest things I remember most, is whenever there was something to be done she would just jump in and take the bull by the horns and work to get it done, so that was amazing,” he said.

Before joining the board as vice chair in 2016, Carter served on several subcommittees.

“I was glad to see that she made it (as chair),” Decker said. “She’s worked hard to earn it, so she’s going to be a real asset to the organization and to the chapter.”

When she’s not blazing new trails in IAPMO’s Southern Nevada Chapter, Carter likes to unwind by reading, playing puzzle games and sewing. In fact, she has an ongoing project in which she makes quilts for the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City.

“I took a bunch of scraps and just made a bunch of blankets, and I should be finished sometime in 2025 or something,” she said, laughing. “No, sometime this year.”

She and Donald, an Associate Warehouse Manager for CORT Events, have been married for 22 years. Their son, Timothy, is preparing to enlist in the Navy. They also have two dogs, Caesar and Ghost.

“I would not be where I am without my family,” Carter said. “They give me the strength to overcome just about anything. They are always supportive. My husband jokes that he is my ‘plus one.’ To me, he has always been so much more than that.”