To close out Women in Construction week, we've asked a few of the women at AMHigley to share their stories and advice for the next generation in our industry. This week highlights women, as well as raises awareness of the many opportunities available within the field of construction.
NAWIC (The National Association of Women in Construction) states, Women in Construction Week (March 3-9) “aims to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry” and “raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry.”
"There has never been a better time to be a woman in construction. AEC companies are embracing diversity and working to close the gender gap. Men and women alike should take every opportunity to advocate for their female colleagues, as well as encourage young women exploring opportunities in the AEC profession." – September 2018 ENR Article
Wendy Harris - Senior Project Engineer
Why construction: Building has always been an interest of mine. Even as a little girl, I would construct buildings and furniture for my dolls out of scraps of cardboard and wood. In healthcare, the best part of construction is the gratification of completing a project that will help the healing process of people. Design and construction have an impact on our world, whether creating a beautiful space to visually ease their fears or building an operating room to cure someone’s ailments. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Advice: Construction is not just for the guys. There are more women in construction today than ever before. As women, we bring a unique perspective to problem solving, communications and management. If you have an interest, go for it and tap into your girl power!
Anna Dodson - Vice President of Business Development
Why Construction: After 17 years in the contract furniture industry, I made the decision to move into the Construction industry. The industry alone was not the reason I made the jump. The company (AMHigley) was the main reason. I wanted to expand my knowledge of construction while learning more about the high-level approach and process that’s required to take a project from start to finish. I didn’t want to work for a company that has a traditional mindset; instead I wanted to be part of a team that is collaborative in their approach to everything from strategy to customer experience to building the actual facility. It’s proven to be an exciting industry that requires adaptability and customization in every aspect.
Advice: Women need to be mentored and find mentors. Women need to coach, admire and support other women in business. Real Queens fix each others’ crowns….or hardhats in this case.
Lisa Shanklin - Project Accountant
Why Construction: I was first hired in as a receptionist at a construction company in 1992 while I attended college part time. The industry interested me and my desire to learn, helped me excel in the industry. I was soon part of the Safety Department and then transferred into accounting. I love being involve and watching the entire process unfold. From the bidding phase all the way through the final construction, watching a pile of dirt turn into a beautiful building is very satisfying to me personally.
Advice: One thing I have learned in this field is you need to have thick skin, be able to stand your ground and have a great deal of confidence in yourself and your work. Be able to think outside the box and do not be afraid to speak up in voicing new ideas and or new ways of doing things.
Emily Lord - Sr. Manager of Business Development
Why Construction: The process of creating beautiful buildings and environments using floor plans and raw materials has always fascinated me. When you get to watch a construction project take shape first hand, it is truly a work of art.
Advice: Have confidence in who you are and what you bring to the table. Just because you can’t carry as many pieces of wood as the guy standing next to you, doesn’t mean you don’t have something great to offer.
Sandy Youssef - Project Engineer
Why Construction: My heart is in this field. After multiple co-ops with different companies in design & construction, I discovered where my passion was & it was in construction. I wake up every day looking forward to what I would be doing at my project and that feeling made me choose construction.
Advice: Speak and act with confidence. Sometimes people would not want to listen, but your confidence can change that. What you say is important no matter what kind of experience you have.
Rebecca Wollenhaupt – Manager of Marketing & Communications
Why Construction: With my background in fine art, I love getting the chance to apply my graphic design knowledge to proposal creation and further developing our pursuits. I enjoy finding creative ways to showcase our company’s expertise and history.
Advice: Stay open minded to career opportunities, even industries you never thought you’d get into! You never know what it could lead to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Sadie Miller - Project Engineer
Why Construction: I picked construction because every day brings new accomplishments but also challenges. There are never two days that are the same. I couldn’t work in a career where I do the same thing over and over again.
Advice: Talk to as many people in the field as you can and get to understand what they are working on and just ask them how they are. You can learn so much from the people working in different trades and they are more willing to show you if you are nice.