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At Delta Construction Partners, we are proud members of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). NAWIC provides its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service and more. In honor of the NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week (WIC Week), March 1-7th, Delta Construction Partners interviewed a few women about what it is like to be a woman in this industry. Check out their interviews below!

“Working as a WOMAN in the construction industry can be challenging at times,  but also very rewarding and EMPOWERING!”

- Assistant Project Manager

Project Manager

What originally brought you into the construction industry?

I have always been interested in real estate and construction, having come from a real estate family it has always been a part of my life growing up. My mother has been working as a realtor for over 30 years, and she made sure that all of her kids got their real estate licenses once we turned 18 years old. Although I am degreed in business and finance, I have always had a passion for the real estate and development. After graduating college with an undergraduate in finance, I joined the Army, there I became trained as an engineer and specifically received construction training at a Naval Seabee school in Mississippi. I used this experience to get my foot in the door in the construction industry, in my first job, the CEO was a Navy veteran of 28 years, and also happened to have trained at the same Mississippi school, years earlier. It was an amazing coincidence that I began my construction career with people in a company that I had unknowingly crossed paths with years prior, and I am very grateful for the chance they took on me.

Who inspires you and why?

I am inspired by a lot of people, all for many different reasons. I am inspired by both CEOs I’ve had in construction. I admire my current CEO’s, fearlessness and ferocity. While my current CEO, is kind and compassionate, he is very involved in local community outreach and tries to make a difference in urban and youth career opportunities. As a female in the industry, I look up to Erica Chapman (VP of Global RE at Pepsi Co), I first met her in a CoreNet Young Leaders program that I was selected for in 2015, I have been inspired by her and have closely followed her career since.

What opportunities does the construction industry offer to women?

There are many opportunities for women in construction, I actually participate in many “Women in Construction” social groups. Since women only occupy approximately 10% of the industry give or take, it is important that we all stand behind each other and support one another. BWiC (Building Women in Construction) and NAWiC (National Association of Women in Construction) are both designed to help promote women on the management side of construction. These two groups have really helped me build my network and have opened many opportunities for my career. I am also involved in “Tradeswomen Tuesdays,” this is a women’s group dedicated to helping women find jobs in a variety of construction trades. Although I am very new to this organization, it has been a great experience getting to help spread the word to women about all the great opportunities that a union construction job can offer them.

What is a challenge you’ve experienced with being a woman in the construction industry?

I have been very fortunate to have worked at such great companies, I feel everyone has been very kind and fair to me throughout my career. I am not married and do not have kids, so I feel that I am not challenged in the same way that many other women are with trying to manage their work/life balance. I could not imagine all of the juggling they must do in their day to day, all while maintaining a successful career and a family. It is very admirable.

How important is it for more women to be encouraged into the industry?

It is very important, I am a firm believer that women are designed perfectly for the construction industry. We are naturally very organized and approachable, this industry can get very combative and aggressive at times, women are great for mediating in a confrontational environment. Women also have excellent attention to detail and patience, both traits that are great to have in this industry.

What one piece of advice would you give to other women out there that want to get into the construction industry?

This industry is very stressful, if you are not interested in working 10-12 hour days regularly, or potential 7 days a week, then this industry is not for you. At times, this industry can be very stressful and involves high risk decisions, if you are risk adverse, you may not be a good fit for construction. That being said, it is very rewarding to see a project transition from an idea on paper to a tangible building. I take pride in all the projects I’ve built, even the most challenging ones, since those are usually the ones where you learn the most.

In your opinion how can others in the industry help women enter and succeed in the field?

The best advice I can give to someone is “get involved” whether its construction related or not, getting involved in groups, and networking opportunities will help you. The more people you know the more opportunities arise and doors will open for you. The saying “it is not just what you know, but who you know” is very valid and is something that I feel very strongly about.

 

Highways Engineer

What originally brought you into the construction industry?

My passion for maths and physics combined with wanted to help people brought about my introduction into the industry.

Who inspires you and why?

I inspire myself because the things I’ve completed i didn’t believe that it would be possible but every time i put my mind to something i show myself that i can do anything if i really want it!

What opportunities does the construction industry offer to women?

Even though we make up a very small percentage, the industry is now noticing the gap and has been intentional with promoting women and making it flexible for women to work in the industry. There are also countless amount of scholarships and bursaries set up for women in construction.

What is a challenge you’ve experienced with being a woman in the construction industry

A challenge that I’ve experienced is not having many people that look like me to encourage me, right from university I could count on one hand the amount of women in my class. Likewise in the work place, however I started going to women in engineering events where i saw a multitude of women that I could relate with. Going to these events has shown me that I am not alone and sharing experiences has helped me to navigate through this industry.

How important is it for more women to be encouraged into the industry?

Very important as many women are scared to enter the industry despite having the means to, having women in the industry will bring fresh and innovative ideas.

What one piece of advice would you give to other women out there that want to get into the construction industry?

Be bold, it’s not as scary as it may seem. Even though you are a minority it causes you to stand out and show your greatness. Entering the industry shows that you are willing to be part of a great change rather than running away from the problem.

In your opinion how can others in the industry help women enter and succeed in the field?

Companies need to promote a welcoming and inviting space for women to enter into, also show that they are actively trying to promote women in their company.

 

Owner

What originally brought you into the construction industry?

I actually fell into the construction industry via a friend of mine while in high school.  I was 16 and her boss needed a receptionist.  At that time, I don’t know if I was hooked or stuck (hahaha).  I continued to move through the industry landing my first “real” job with a developer in the Gold Coast area of Chicago, Jupiter Realty which is where I really cut my teeth on the industry as an assistant to the Vice President of Construction. From there, I switched over to the General Contracting world, dabbled in the subcontractor arena and eventually settled into where I am now working for a construction management company by day and running my business by night.  What’s kept me in the industry, is NAWIC though. The National Association of Women in Construction is a organization that has really been supportive of my personal and professional journey but also a safe place to grow.

Who inspires you and why?

Quite honestly, who inspires me is the younger generation. Their perspective on things, especially the women from that age group on our industry is refreshing. They’re smart, aware and willing to take that no and explain to whomever why that no is not acceptable without a bat of an eye. I’ve always been a big advocate for change and I’m proud to say that I have every confidence that the next generation is going to do something significant for our industry. I can feel it.

What opportunities does the construction industry offer to women?

The construction industry doesn’t offer anything to anyone that doesn’t want it.  For women specifically, I think this industry offers us opportunity and challenge. The opportunity to break stereotypes, embrace diversity and challenge our journey for growth. Construction is ever changing and it’s a perfect conduit for illustrating that no matter how much you plan and prepare, you will always need to pivot to some degree.

What is a challenge you’ve experienced with being a woman in the construction industry?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a women in the construction industry is not being ‘one of the guys’.  Yes, I’m a little bit of a tom-boy but I am most definitely still a woman.  I’ve even had managers and owners tell me that the reason why they rely on me for the things they do is because I’m their “go-to GUY” with the emphasis on guy.  I appreciate where they come from with that compliment because it is an expression of endearment, but I am my own and I bring something different to the table that the ‘guys’ don’t.

How important is it for more women to be encouraged into the industry?

The importance of women in our construction industry is just like any industry – diversity promotes success and we should always embrace that.  We should encourage other women to consider a career in this industry because we can absolutely do it, but more importantly the industry needs us.  The industry is a partnership, a collaboration between all that choose to participate and have their voice be heard.

What one piece of advice would you give to other women out there that want to get into the construction industry?

My advice to women that want to get into this industry is that their success lies in their voice.  If you don’t let them know what you’re thinking, they will assume.  If you want something, you need to ask for it and if you think being a women in this industry means you have to be more masculine to succeed, you need to think again.

In your opinion how can others in the industry help women enter and succeed in the field?

The best thing you can do to support a woman in the construction industry is to not coddle them but rather let them have their own experiences and be there for them when they have questions.  If you want to help more women get into this industry, then simply ask. Ask your manager, ask your owner, ask whoever is in charge of making the decision to consider a woman for the position.