Meet Olivia Walt: ‘Wonder Woman’ of Yates Construction

General engineering alumna among company's youngest directors

Olivia Walt is Director of Business Development at Yates Construction in Jackson. (Submitted photo)

Olivia Walt is Director of Business Development at Yates Construction in Jackson. (Submitted photo)

In the 1970s television series “Wonder Woman,” Diana Prince is transformed from an exceptional special agent into the powerful Amazonian heroine with a few simple moves. Like the fictional character, Olivia Walt has evolved from a promising 2015 University of Mississippi general engineering graduate to director of business development at Yates Construction in Jackson.

Walt, who entered the firm as an estimator, was responsible for generating the cost of construction of a project. About one year later, she advanced to her current position.

“My initial impression of Olivia was that she seemed smart and capable,” said Laura Hearn, senior marketing manager at Yates. “Since then, she has proven to be not only smart and capable but a hard worker, self-motivated and dependable.”

Walt said she has definitely grown into her present duties.

“By getting a technical degree with a business background, I can now communicate with a project manager or engineer who is trying to talk about foundations or logistics,” Walt said. “I can also communicate with an owner about what makes our firm stand out from another.”

Walt said she enjoys working for Yates Construction because of the company’s four core values: safety, integrity, passion and commitment.

“I believe that these are all fundamental values that a company should possess and exhibit in day-to-day activities,” she said. “Yates is a family-owned company, and the Yates really do strive to make each and every employee feel like a member of their family.”

Walt, who earned her degree with an emphasis in business, hails from Jackson. A graduate of Madison-Ridgeland Academy, she chose Ole Miss because when she fell in love with Oxford and the university while touring campus and attending football games.

“I could talk for hours on why I loved the engineering school, but my absolute favorite thing about UM engineering is the support I received from Marni Kendricks and Dwight Waddell,” Walt said. “They are outstanding individuals, both professionally and personally. They thrive on seeing their students succeed.”

Olivia Walt rides Alfie, her favorite jumping horse. (Submitted photo)

Olivia Walt rides Alfie, her favorite jumping horse. (Submitted photo)

Walt said she also loved the tight-knit family that the school creates.

“Bringing mechanical, civil and general engineers all into one group created relationships that will last a lifetime,” she said.

Kendricks, assistant dean for undergraduate academics and a fellow UM GE alumna, said Walt was always exceptional.

“I am so happy for Olivia,” Kendricks said. “She has got to be one of the youngest people to ever take this job. So very wow!”

Walt’s family includes her parents, Bruce and Susan Walt of Jackson, and twin brothers Hunter and Heath. She enjoys riding hunter/jumper horses and was the high point adult amateur rider in Mississippi for 2015.