March 07, 2019

WIC Week 2019: Young Leaders on Why They Chose Construction

We sat down with five female engineers at Clark who are making a significant impact on our business and our communities early in their careers. In this article, they discuss what they enjoy most about construction and what led them to pursue a career in the industry.

Education: Auburn University (B.S. Construction Management) 

Project: University of Washington Seismic Improvements

Tell us a little bit about your role at Clark.

I currently manage our University of Washington Seismic Improvements (UW) projects. The overall program includes four phases of improvements across 25 historic buildings on UW’s Seattle campus focusing on three main scopes of work: bracing of unsafe appendages, correcting unreinforced masonry bearing walls, and anchoring historic masonry facade. 

What led you to pursue a career in construction? 

I have been around construction my entire life. From watching my dad build his career in industrial construction, to being his right-hand woman during home improvement, I credit him for my passion for and drive to succeed in this industry. My dad and my first bosses always treated me like an equal. This was the foundation for my success as a woman in this industry.

What makes construction a great industry to work in?

For me, it's the people. At Clark, my coworkers have become my family. The people in the industry are who continue to challenge, push, and encourage me. The Clark Family energizes me to keep striving to be better within our company and industry.

Education: University of Florida (B.S. Construction Management) 

Current Project: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial

Tell us a little bit about your role at Clark.

I currently manage the day-to-day coordination, logistics, and financials for several of the memorial element feature trades on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial project in DC. These trades include the Spanish limestone cladding and Bas-reliefs, as well as Italian-fabricated sculptures of Eisenhower as a president and general.

What led you to pursue a career in construction?

I took drafting classes in high school which lead me to study Architecture for a year at the University of Florida. Architecture wasn't the right fit for me, but through that program, I found the Rinker School of Construction Management. I didn't even realize construction management was a potential career path prior to changing my major. I'm glad I did!

What makes construction a great industry to work in?

The construction industry is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Each day is different than the last and there is never a dull moment. Our industry requires constant problem solving and collaboration to complete our projects successfully. Also, there’s something incredible about seeing others benefit from the office buildings, museums, or memorials that we build. Lastly, the people in this industry are second to none. I don't know anyone who enjoys their coworkers as much as we do.

Education: San Diego State University (B.S. Construction Engineering)

Current Project: UCSD North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood

Tell us a little bit about your role at Clark.

As a project engineer at the UCSD North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood project, my activities vary from day-to-day. One day I might be managing our MEP trades and assisting with sustainability, and another day I might be reviewing and submitting RFIs & Submittals.

What led you to pursue a career in construction?

I attended a unique high school called the Construction Tech Academy (CTA). The school integrates construction, architecture, and engineering into the curriculum. I also participated in Camp NAWIC during high school. It was at Camp NAWIC where I learned how to manage small projects, work collaboratively and efficiently on a team, and had the opportunity to meet professionals from across the construction industry.  

During college, I became involved in construction-related school student organizations and industry associations. Through these organizations, I went on job walks, attended industry meetings, participated in industry volunteer events, and continued to meet industry professionals.

The professionals I met during Camp NAWIC, during college, and at Clark inspire me to work hard everyday.  

From your perspective, what makes construction a great industry to work in?

There are so many things that make construction a great industry to work in.  

  • The people are amazing
  • Everyone is hard-working
  • Teams work together to build structures that impact our communities
  • The opportunies are endless
  • No project is ever the same
  • There is something tangible at the end

Education: Bucknell University (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) 

Current Project: 800 K Street 

Tell us a little bit about your role at Clark.

I oversee Clark’s construction efforts at 800 K Street, an office building renovation project in Washington, DC. 

What led you to pursue a career in construction?

I learned about Clark through a career fair during my freshman year at Bucknell. Construction was of interest to me so I interned at Clark before my senior year. I worked in Estimating for the summer and loved the fast pace and exciting nature of the industry. I was hooked!

From your perspective, what makes construction a great industry to work in?

I love being able to work with a variety of groups across the industry: Owners, Architects, Subcontractors, Coworkers. 

This leads to a career that is ever-changing, is never boring, and will always challenge you. 

Education: Lehigh University (B.S. Civil Engineering) 

Current Project: 1770 Crystal Drive

Tell us a little bit about your role at Clark.

I’m an assistant superintendent at 1770 Crystal Drive – an office renovation project in Arlington, VA.  The project just started, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with the upfront planning- this includes working on the baseline schedule, figuring out the site utilization, and setting up the job for success!  

It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to really shape the job. It’s a new part of the process that I haven’t seen before.  

What led you to pursue a career in construction?

I decided to major in Civil Engineering at school because I always enjoyed Physics and Math and city infrastuctures have always fascinated me.

Construction was a great way to explore building in an exciting way.  

My dad is also a retired union electrician, so I’ve always had some familiarity with construction.

From your perspective, what makes construction a great industry to work in?

Construction is a great industry to work in for so many reasons. For one, the construction industry is vast. This allows for flexibility and the ability to try different roles until you find the role that really suits you. Another aspect that I love is all of the relationships you make. I especially love spending time getting to know the craftworkers onsite; everyone has such different backgrounds that are really interesting to hear. 

Lastly, the teamwork onsite is palpable. When a job is in a difficult phase, it is truly amazing to see a project team come together and support each other.