As this year’s Women in Construction Week wraps, we’ve been reflecting on how proud we are to work with (and support) women in the industry.
According to this report published by our friends at Levelset (which included 1,001 women), 78% of respondents say they love their jobs. But, 65% say fewer than 1 in 10 of their company’s employees are women. While ideally this number would be much higher, we’ve been excited to see more women enter the construction space in recent years—and continue to break ground on new (inclusive) ways to work together.
Words of wisdom from two women in construction
In honor of this dedicated week, we reached out to some of the awesome women we know in the industry. They told us all about their experiences—from what first inspired them to work in construction to debunking some common misconceptions.
Linda Johnson is a Project Administrator and Safety Advisor at She Digs It. She Digs It is a woman business enterprise (WBE) that specializes in utilities, excavating, and plumbing for the commercial industries. Linda just recently celebrated her five-year work anniversary there.
Mariah Whitlock is a Construction and Safety Administrator at JRC Mechanical—a Class A mechanical contractor offering 24/7 commercial repair and maintenance services. Mariah has been working there for two years.
Here’s what they said...
What got you into the construction industry?
Linda: My husband and his passion in the industry.
Mariah: My husband works for JRC, and most of my family is in construction.
What's your favorite part about your job?
Linda: Connecting with my crews! Hoping to always make them feel appreciated, and keeping them safe.
Mariah: I love being field support. These people work an intense labor job and create these beautiful buildings. (It’s really an art form.) I love being able to help them out, in any way I can, to make their lives easier.
What's your dream role in construction?
Linda: I'm in it.
Mariah: Exactly what I do now. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Are there any memorable projects you've worked on? What made them memorable?
Linda: We did a job for the City of Gladstone—a park named Hobby Hill. It had very personal ties to the community, and was a great success.
Mariah: I’ve been a supporting role in many jobs, and they’re all my favorite in their own way. From the Sentara Cancer Center and the Chemistry Lab at ODU, to the high-rise apartments at 27th St in Virginia Beach.
What do you want people to know about the construction industry?
Linda: It's not just for men. Plenty of women are making their mark!
Mariah: Learning a trade is never a bad thing, and it’s always something to be proud of. Construction workers are the backbone of the community!
What's one goal you have for this year? (Personal or professional)
Linda: The number one goal every year is to keep our crews SAFE! And for 2021...let's conquer COVID-19!
Mariah: My goal is always to be the best support, and do the best I can to make life as easy as possible for our field people—our backbone of the company.
Anything else you'd like to share on the topic?
Linda: The common misconceptions in this industry are that construction workers are low on the career totem pole, unskilled, uneducated, and underpaid—and that construction is only for men. I'm here to tell you that that couldn't be farther from the truth. These men and women are hard-working Americans that made this country what it is today. Without them, we’d have nothing.
As someone once said, “The road to success is always under construction.”
Mariah: Construction and learning a trade are great alternatives to college. College isn't for everyone. Whether it’s about finances or home life, all situations are different. Also, a trade is always a good thing to have to fall back on. My husband started as a helper, and in less than ten years, he’s our youngest Senior Superintendent. Be proud of being in construction!
Inspiring women in construction, every week
We believe celebrating women in construction shouldn’t be confined to just one week. The National Association of Women in Construction works year round to support women’s career growth and development in the industry. (They’re the ones who made this week possible.)
Looking ahead, we can’t wait to see more women continue to choose construction and take the industry to new heights with their experiences and perspectives.
Special thanks to our customers, Linda and Mariah, for their time and incredible answers!