The first full week of March is an important one for our industry. It is the week that we celebrate Women in Construction. At Baker Roofing Company we are proud to embrace diversity and the benefits that it brings to our trade. This year we partnered with Frank L. Blum construction to bring a voice to Women in Construction Week. Each company had employees of varying ages, positions, and personalities share their views on being a woman in the construction industry.
How have you seen the changing demographic in your workforce positively impact your organization and industry?
Anna Hurst (Frank L. Blum): “The increase in diversity has led to an open‐mindedness throughout our organization. There are more people from different backgrounds which leads to more ideas about how to conduct business.”
Anna Gallimore (Frank L. Blum): “Bring to the table the female perspective. A variety of opinions always gets to the best solution.”
Jessica Traub (Baker Roofing Company): “At one time there were 2 women in our office and none in our field, today there are 5 women in our office and 1 in the field. I believe this change has allowed our office to become more organized and run more efficiently.”
Gina Willis (Frank L. Blum): “Increasing women’s presence in construction creates an awareness to all women that the construction industry is not limited to men, but also an opportunity for women...women with young children, women out of college, all women with various backgrounds, etc. Increasing women’s involvement in this industry allows a prospective, involvement that may have been previous lacking in this industry.”
How has being a woman molded your experience in the construction industry?
Chana Ferrell (Baker Roofing Company): “I have worked twice as hard to gain respect being a woman in the industry. I have accomplished that respect in my peer group, I feel very much that I have added value in the construction industry.”
Gina Willis (Frank L. Blum): “As a woman, I feel like I am able to look at things from a different angle that maybe isn’t always evaluated. I truly feel each team member brings a different insight to the project, without one, the team will not be able to receive the ultimate project value. In working together and equally trying our best we are able to complete tasks/projects as a team.”
Jessica Traub (Baker Roofing Company): “I have been able to connect with our customers and be empathetic to their concerns.”
Did you have any reservations working in the construction industry?
Anna Hurst (Frank L. Blum): “Yes, I was worried about working in a male dominated industry that I would not have the same opportunities as the men. I was also worried about sexual harassment when out in the field. I have found a great company that supports my advancement in this industry, and the majority of the men I work with (co‐workers and sub‐contractors) are extremely respectful and kind.”
Anna Gallimore (Frank L. Blum): “No.”
Gina Willis (Frank L. Blum): “I am “green” to the construction industry…I knew this industry was male dominated, but I never felt overwhelmed about the statistics. I feel like being female in a male dominated industry allows you great opportunity to provide input, perspective and offer a new look at the overall company picture.”
What would you tell a young woman just starting out in the construction industry?
Jessica Traub (Baker Roofing Company): “ Don’t be intimidated. When I first started my career I was extremely intimidated by all the things I didn’t know. However, once I began to really embrace it and learn as many aspects as I could about the industry it really started to come together for me. My career in construction and at Baker Roofing in particular has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I enjoy coming to work and continuing to learn more every day.”
Chana Ferrell (Baker Roofing Company): “Learn as much as possible about new technology that is now available that relates construction robotics as well as off site modular construction.”
Anna Hurst (Frank L. Blum): “I would tell her to ask as many questions as you can and if you see something that looks wrong, it probably is. I would also say speak loudly and stand your ground.”
Anna Gallimore (Frank L. Blum): “Be a learner; a teacher; Do not be afraid to ask ANY question. Express your opinion.”
Gina Willis (Frank L. Blum): “Prior to working at Blum, the construction industry was never even on my radar, but after spending 6+ years in various financial environments, this has truly been a great fit. There are many opportunities for women and definitely and industry worth exploring.”