Learning about opportunities in construction is a barrier to girls because statistically, boys are more prone to look to careers in construction.
An upcoming event, Build Like a Girl, wants to break this barrier and give girls the confidence required to join a male populated industry.
Build Like a Girl is set for 5:30-8:30 pm Tuesday, February 27 at the Great Hall, 5121 Bay City Road, Midland. Girls in grades five through twelve are invited to listen firsthand the experiences of four accomplished women in the construction industry, which will empower them to confidently explore this field.
“Getting more women in the skilled trades will create a diversified workforce for the construction industry. We want to show young women that they too, belong,” said Cathy Geiger, director of marketing and community affairs for the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Greater Michigan.
Attendees will hear from a panel of successful women in the industry, moderated by Meg McLeod of WNEM TV-5 for the second year in a row.
“I am so thrilled to participate in Build Like a Girl again! The empowerment was contagious last year! These young girls’ faces lit up as they talked about their dreams of driving heavy machinery, becoming an architect, or training to be a carpenter. They were fearless in their goals, thoughtful in their questions and confident in what they will achieve. I cannot wait to be surrounded by all that girl power again,” McLeod said.
- Summer Weiss is the Project Manager at SPACE, Inc. She works with the team to ensure a positive customer experience while maintaining a budget and schedule. She received her Bachelor of Marketing from Michigan State University and her MBA from Northwood University. “Working in the construction industry is a very rewarding career. Every day is different and there are always new problems to solve. I enjoy the freedom to be able to be in the office and get computer work done or to suit up and visit a job site. It is important for women to continue to be involved with the trades, whether in the office or the field. The knowledge and skills of these individuals can often bring different perspectives to the table. That can be a very powerful thing,” Weiss said.
- Julie Monson is the Greater North America Construction Management Operations Leader at Dow. As the lead in Field Execution of Intermediate capital and expense projects, she improves reliability, addresses regulatory compliance, and provides business growth opportunities. In addition, Monson creates collaborative relationships with supplier in Greater North America regions (17 Dow sites), implement construction safety best practices, oversee our Michigan Operations Capital Marshalling Warehouse, engage with local Environmental, Health and Safety team members and engage with business partners to ensure execution priorities are net and owns overall project portfolio for all intermediate projects within the Greater North America region.
“I love being in the construction industry because you leave an impact on individuals and your community by seeing the different buildings being built. Buildings are a final product. For example, residential = homes, commercial = hospitals, stores, etc.; industrial = chemical plants, etc., but there are a lot of skill trades that go into having an impact on the final project. Earthwork/heavy equipment operators to set the site up for foundations, concrete/masons for foundations; civil/arch for building the structures, electrical/instrumentation for wiring facility for lighting/power, insulation for warmth, carpentry for walls/woodwork, etc.; coatings for painting walls/facilities; HVAC for heating and cooling; just to name a few. Knowing you’ve had an impact on someone’s life and making a difference is very rewarding,” said Monson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
- Becky Manson is the Jobsite Foreman at Valley Electrical Contractors. In her role as foreman, she analyzes blueprints as they are produced, gaining a thorough understanding of the team’s responsibilities for the project. She assigns individuals to tasks according to their skills, ensures timely ordering of necessary components, and coordinates material procurement for the team to construct the required wire ways. Furthermore, she supports her supervisor in tracking job progress and communicates any issues to be addressed with the project manager. She received her Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the Greater Michigan Construction Academy.
“I love that the people I work with do not treat me any different than one of the guys. I’m taken seriously and can show other women that this is not just a man’s world anymore and that I can encourage other women to get into a trade. I believe others want to be a part of this because once you learn a trade no one can take it from you. With the construction industry always being busy, you’re always going to be needed, no matter what trade you get into. If you know you’re not cut-out to be a 9-5 office person, then absolutely join a trade…you get to work outside, be busy every day, meet people trying to achieve the same things you are,” Manson said.
- Jessica Vance is the Environmental Health & Safety Director for Alloy Construction and a Construction Health & Safety Technician through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. She has been in construction safety full-time since 2008, supporting commercial HVAC & custom sheet metal fabricators, industrial mechanical contractors, heavy equipment with undergrounds, remediation, and structural steel. Jessica enjoys teaching as an OSHA Outreach trainer in Construction.
The panelists will share about their occupations, what a typical day is like, education, how and why they got into their respected fields and more.
Attendees will also hear from local employers and multiple training providers to gauge if a career in construction would be a great fit. This unique workforce development program is aimed to help empower young women to step into roles that will solve the construction industry’s labor shortage. Contractors and suppliers will offer hands-on activities, they will learn about the education needed, and how to gain confidence in the industry.