What challenges exist for women in the construction and engineering industry? Any path you’ve taken to overcome these?
Although the number of women in engineering and construction has greatly improved, it’s still far too low. In construction, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women make up less than 9% of people working in construction. There are still those in the education system and in math- and science-related industries that believe boys are more capable than girls in these areas.
I grew up with four brothers and my father always used me as an example when he lectured them about achieving good grades. I typically made excellent grades so I never had an inferiority complex about my capabilities. Professionally, I didn’t really pay any attention to it until I started going up the corporate ladder. I did have to assume a posture and communicate differently on-site for superintendents and foremen to take me seriously. But I didn’t let it impact me and throughout my career, I’ve always made sure that my ideas and needs were voiced and heard.
I also realized in talking to my female friends—who often sought advice from me when they were negotiating new positions—that women, “in general,” don’t usually “ask” for things like a raise, better treatment, or a promotion. Women need to do a better job asking for things that we know we deserve as much as our male counterparts. But you better be good because qualifications matter as well as diversity of thought.
What current projects are you working on?
I’m currently working on the POLB project controls and Unifier rollout, and I just copresented our achievement with the client at an AACE conference. I was also working in a support function with PMO/project controls for ComEd in Chicago.
My day-to-day job includes addressing client concerns, pursuing the next project(s), mentoring and managing my staff, and preparing responses to proposals and interviews. I also believe that the good relationships I’ve developed with previous clients throughout my career should be maintained and can play a role in supporting my counterparts outside of my region (SoCal). I continue to reach out and present PMA to them no matter where they are in coordination with my colleagues in other regions.
What is your career highlight so far? (at PMA?)
I don’t know if I have only one highlight, but I always enjoy inspiring people to step up and improve professionally and personally. Breaking the mold is important.
What is something new or innovative happening in your industry?
3D printing. I mean, this is some real sci-fi happening! The structures that they can build with a 3D printer is something that I saw once in a sci-fi cartoon back in the 1980s. And now we’re seeing that technology in use today.
What university or college did you graduate from?
University of Washington. Loved going to college! It was great fun.
What is your favorite local establishment/feature (restaurant, museum, stadium, etc.)?
I’m a foody and there are many restaurants that my husband and I like to frequent; no specific one comes to mind. He’s in the business and I accompany him when he does secret shopper trips and when he writes reviews for restaurants. I love the beach but New York City is in my soul. There’s just so much to do there.
Provide a Fun Fact?
I’m a dance maniac. Provide some good soulful music and I‘ll dance for hours; I also belly dance and kick box.