Written by: Heather Devocelle

In the last issue, I shared that diversity in our workforce is instrumental for our future growth. One area where I am passionate about growing our talent pipeline is exposing our great industry to our younger generation. This is a competitive time for talent and one opportunity that I don’t want to miss is introducing the variety of construction roles available to women. Currently, women make-up about 9% of the construction labor force (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). To understand that number a little more clearly, out of almost 10 million people working in the industry, only around 900,000 are women.

At Shiel Sexton, we are currently growing with more women joining our team. I want to inspire our future women candidates with some personal stories. Since we have 14% female population, I thought who better to ask than some of our women employees to share their passion for construction. Each of these women play an integral role in our company, so let’s check out what they have to say!

“Many of the women in construction I have met throughout my college career got their start in construction from family members and relatives that were part of the industry. I grew up, however, going on mission trips with my church where we did residential construction repairs. In my Construction Management program at Ball State, we had less than 6 women in our major when I started. The department worked, while I was there, to get more interested in the program. By the time I left Ball State, we had 20 women in our program. This is definitely encouraging to the future of women in construction. I am so happy with the field I have chosen and am looking forward to seeing the female population continue to grow with it.” –Sarah Galloway, Project Engineer

“What made me interested in construction is the challenge it presents. It’s not an easy job. It relies on good communication, strong leadership and an enduring attitude. I have stayed in construction because it is ever-changing which keeps you on your toes and there is always something to learn!” -Sara Ornelas, Project Engineer

“I found my first interest in construction while helping my mom do small renovation projects around our home and on her rentals. Seeing her try new things, like installing tile and painting, showed me women can do construction, too. What I learned from her then carries with me today. Although construction can seem overwhelming at times, I know I can figure it out if I put my mind to it.” –Hillary Scott, Estimator

“As a little girl, I grew up in a construction family. It did not take me long to decide that when I grew up, seeing that the industry was mostly male-dominated, I wanted to break the mold and inspire women that they can do these management roles too. Personally for me, construction is like art wherein every project is a blank canvas that we bring to life. Transforming spaces, being part of constructing a space from ground up is what gives me happiness and so, here I am!” -Sanjana Hemanth, Assistant Project Manager

“I enjoy the construction field because it is constantly changing! I get excited when I drive past a building and I’m able to tell my children, “I had a hand in building that.” Being a woman in the industry can be challenging at times but nothing compares to being able to solve a problem! I could not imagine doing anything else.” -Melissa Vandenberg, Assistant Superintendent

Do you know someone who may be interested in a career in construction and doesn’t know where to start? One of our showcased Project Engineers shared three ways to get familiar with the construction industry:

Check High School Class Availability-Some schools offer classes such as Drafting, Architecture, Manufacturing Processes, and Construction, where actual homes are built inside the classroom.

Join Campus-Organized Groups-To keep students interested and involved, the construction management programs have an organized approach to host monthly networking lunches.

Attend Industry Professional Networking Events-The construction management program hosts female professionals in the industry to discuss personal experiences shaping them in the world of construction where real world examples are shared.

If you would like more information about careers in construction contact YourPath@ShielSexton.com.

The SCOOP | September 2017 | More from this issue