Describe the path you took to get to where you are today.
My path has been quite interesting. I have gone in many different directions and learned quite a lot along the way. In the summer of 2008, after graduating from undergrad at Marshall University, I moved to Hoboken, NJ. My dream was to go to make-up school in Manhattan just across the Hudson River. However, once I got there and discovered a whole new world, that dream got put on hold (I did eventually become a professional make-up artist.). For two years, I lived out my dream and worked from the 27th floor of the Bank of America building on the Avenue of Americas for a marketing company. In 2010, I moved back south to my roots and started my career in health care management. After having my second child, I took time off from work to stay at home and study for my MBA, which I completed in 2018. In 2016, a year into my graduate studies, I took a year off to begin working for a leading electrical engineering and construction firm out of D.C. Shortly after starting this professional adventure, I knew it was the start of the rest of my life in the construction and engineering industries. I finally discovered what and who I wanted to be when I grew up.
What motivates you in the construction industry?
Construction is a lot like life. You are constantly faced with obstacles and setbacks, but in the end, you get to be a part of something amazing – from start to finish! I have never felt more fulfilled in my working life than when I turned over my first 32 mega watt datacenter. I was a part of building “the cloud”. With IPS, I get to be a part of building process facilities that aid in life saving technology and medicine. I cannot wait to see what’s to come!
Tell me about your biggest triumph and why you’re proudest of it?
My children are my world! They are my reason for working hard, continuing to push upward within my career, but more importantly, I strive to lead by example for them in all aspects of my life. With that being said, I was laid off in March 2020, due to the pandemic. This was a huge hit to my pride in the moment, but I also feared for how I would care for my children as a single mom. I knew I had to work fast, but smart to find a job. However, as stubborn as I am, I did not want to just find any job. I wanted to continue moving forward in my career with a company that considered me an investment. My patience prevailed and I found IPS in May 2020. I was truly blessed to find a company that was comfortable with the unknown the pandemic had brought us all. A company that considered my health and wellbeing above all and trusted me to be able to manage being a mother and a professional. I have not always considered myself a patient person, but this particular series of events showed me that I can be patient and that patience is truly a virtue. Looking back, I am proud of myself for not falling apart and pushing forward.
How have COVID-19 restrictions changed the way you work now? Will they create changes for the future?
I have always strived to be a productive employee – be kind, be present, ask questions and do the job better than anyone else. However, COVID restrictions have set a whole new tone and has reminded me that success and happiness are based off of our perspective and attitude. Our lives are in constant motion and we are in charge of choosing the direction. I had to reset my mind and learn how to become productive from within my home – the biggest feats were to stop obsessing over what I wasn’t getting done as a mother and homemaker – it is much easier to forget about the 3 loads of unfolded laundry when you are on the job site.
As far as the future, I think it is going to be crucial for our industry leaders to redefine roles and who is needed on the job site. I feel that we leaders will also find new and possibly more cost-effective ways to build safely and efficiently. Most importantly, we must strive to find ways to build employee morale in person and virtually! We have learned throughout the last year, that technology is our friend and quite convenient. It has also provided us a way to keep our essential workers on site building, while the rest of team works on the behind the scenes from home. I must mention the allowance it has given parents to be present for their children and loved ones during this very confusing time.
What aspect of your daily routine do you love the most?
First thing in the morning, hot coffee, quiet house and my chair. There is nothing quite like it. It is the calm before the beautifully chaotic daily storm.
Can you please share advice that you have for other women that are considering construction as a full-time position?
Be patient, be kind, continue to learn, but always be confident in yourself and your expertise. Don’t let anyone take that from you and don’t be afraid to share it freely.