Baker Roofing and Barringer Construction Spotlight Women in Construction!

Happy WIC Week 2022! We always look forward to the first week of March to celebrate the women that make our industry truly great and welcoming to all. We’re celebrating this WIC Week 2022 in partnership with Barringer Construction by highlighting and amplifying the voices of women in construction, both at Baker Roofing and at large!

Over the years we have been celebrating WIC Week, it has been a joy to watch our industry’s workforce become more representative of the world around us! It’s only right to take time to flip the script this week and let the women share about their experience in finding a career in the historically male-dominated industry of construction. Watch our film in collaboration with Barringer Construction and read on to get to know the women leading our teams!

Francisca Mejia

Construction Management Program - Raleigh, NC

I come from a family of roofers. My parents are roofers and two of my brothers. My family has been my biggest support in construction, always pushing me forward to accomplish my dreams and making me feel that construction can be for anyone and know how capable I am of succeeding in this industry. 

I’m thankful to be the first woman in the Construction Management Program. It has helped me a lot by working on my communication skills. I have met good people that are helping me along this journey. 

Of course. There were some days where certain things seemed impossible to accomplish and along the way you might find some people that might not want to share their knowledge with you or other companies that might not want to give you the opportunity to show your potential. 

I would tell them to keep breaking those stereotypes and that sometimes we as society create barriers for young females making them think that construction is only for men. 

Just by being the first female in the Construction Management Program makes me feel that I am making a difference. 

I really hope to be the first female superintendent or project manager here at Baker.

Kaitlyn Roberts

Business Management - Nashville, TN

Practical training has impacted my daily work by providing me the ability to communicate more efficiently with my team and clients. It has given me the chance to create more dynamic opportunities and impacting relations. I have been fortunate to learn about roofing in a safe environment and for the mentors I have acquired along the way. My career has been greatly influenced by these mentors and has helped created a straightforward adjustment.

In my office I am the first woman to decide to step out from behind the desk and strap on work boots. I have received comments from both female clients and colleagues that their eyes have been opened to a field of possibilities in construction. It has given them the perspective that women are not limited to what we can do in an industry that has been male dominant for many years. 

Each week we discuss on our weekly fundamental. The previous week was Fundamental #20 – Excellence in all that we do; paying attention to details is key to exceeding expectations. Since I have transitioned to Business Manager, our team has worked diligently to become more efficient and well organized by intentionally implementing daily objectives. I have made it my personal goal to supply high-level support for customers and staff. By managing the internal responsibilities, it has provided the field operational teams the advantage to really focus on guaranteeing we are able to provide the best service and maintaining the greatest experience. 

I have a passion for always spreading kindness and giving the best that I can in every aspect, whether that is taking on more tasks to lend a helping hand or support others to help reach their goals. As I continue into this new roll, I am eager to see the growth (both personal and professional) of all of my team members. When my team members succeed, I succeed and that is a fulfilling achievement in itself. 

As a famous Greek philosopher once said, “nothing in life is constant except change”. When anyone is changing their career paths it can seem overwhelming and at times the feelings of vulnerability can creep in, but there is no courageous act without the presence of vulnerability. Don’t hold back. Five years ago I would have never thought I would be where I am today. Now I can’t imagine myself anywhere better. 

Alexa Soler

Barringer Construction

I received my BA in Communications, which has such a broad application. After graduating, I still wasn’t completely sure on what I wanted to do! I fell into a position as an Executive Administrative Assistant for a developer out in San Diego, which opened up the door of the construction world for me. The developer and Owner of the resorts I was working for started to lean on me more and more to assist with construction related document review, and I knew that was the path that I wanted to continue down for my career!

The highlight of my career (I think many people will agree) is being able to see your project from start to finish. The amount of blood, sweat (and sometimes tears) that goes into a project is all worth it once you see that finished product. Not to mention driving past the Charlotte skyline and being able to point out a building and say “I built that!”

The best part about working in construction is every day is different. Every day on a job site challenges you and forces you to think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions to get the job done. In the same vein, that can also be the most difficult thing! You never know what you’re going to get when you start getting into the finer details of a build out. It’s very rare that you start a project without finding something that wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but it wouldn’t be construction if that didn’t happen!

Confidence is key! Working in a male dominated industry can be intimidating, but don’t silence yourself. Everyone’s ideas bring value to the table and it’s important to recognize that early on. Also – ask questions! You’re never going to have someone from your team look down on you for not knowing the answer to something. 9 times out of 10 whoever you’re asking the question to is more than happy to explain what you’re looking at. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Kathy McLaughlin

Superintendent - Barringer Construction

I kind of fell into it. I was going to school for architecture and working at a restaurant at night. I got to know one of our regulars who was a builder. Since I was in architecture school, he invited me out to his jobsite so I could see firsthand the work I was studying. I loved it and he let me keep coming by the site. I started by sweeping floors and learning the ropes until one day he handed me a hammer and some nails and said “nail this deck in, I will be back in a few hours.” I was too proud to say no! He knew I could do it and was giving me a real chance. All these years later, here I am!

I have been fortunate to have a lot. One that comes to mind was a 300‐yard concrete pour I did while working at SCM Metal Products. It was one of my first “big time” milestones that we worked on for weeks to prepare for. It was such a rewarding process!

The best part for me is the physical aspect. I couldn’t sit behind a desk all day. I also love that when I build something, I can drive by 1, 5, 10 years later and it’s still there. The hardest part for me has been accepting the fact that I physically can’t do as much as men can, though trust me, I’ve tried. I started my career during a time that men were not as accepting of women in construction, especially in field positions. I had to prove myself a lot along the way.

Don’t give up. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to have challenges thrown your way, just don’t give up. It’s hard but so rewarding.

By Shelby Zeuli

Shelby joined the Baker Roofing marketing team in April 2021! When she's not on top of roofs trying to get a good angle, she likes to capture portrait photography, skateboard, and watch movies with her dog, Sarge.