Women in Construction Week celebrates the growing role of women in the construction industry and raises awareness of the opportunities available for women in construction. Seven women construction leaders in the Chicago area recently weighed in on their experience in the industry.
How did you get into the construction industry?
Winczner: My background is on the architecture side and after many years in the architectural profession, I decided it was time for a change of scenery but within the same industry. I reached out to some of my contacts within the industry to see what I might find, and this opportunity at Evergreen Construction seemed like a great fit.
Describe a typical day on the job.
Winczner: I work on multiple projects at the same time, so the phase of construction for each project determines what I might be working on at that time. My day could be gathering and reviewing proposals, submittals, OAC or team meetings, preparing for draw meetings or visiting a jobsite.
What have been some of the biggest obstacles (if any)?
Winczner: In general, making the jump from design to construction was a challenge. Although it is the same industry, and my architectural background has been very useful, I had to learn a whole new set of processes and procedures. And these processes and procedures continue to change from job to job, depending on the project scope, other entities involved, etc.
What was your favorite construction project and why?
Winczner: Oso Apartments is probably my favorite project that I’ve worked on at Evergreen to date. It was ground up, new construction whereas all my other projects have been renovations to existing housing facilities. Knowing that Evergreen Construction was playing a part in creating new homes for deserving people was really rewarding.
What do you like most about your job?
Winczner: As mentioned with Oso Apartments previously, I love the personally rewarding aspect of the job. With Oso I never got to meet the people who would eventually move in, but on the renovation projects, I often have a chance to interact with the residents. Hearing their appreciation for the improvements firsthand makes me realize we are making a difference in their lives.
How has the participation of women in construction changed over the years and where do you see it heading?
Winczner: When I was on the design side of the industry, I only once interacted with a woman on the construction side of a project, and it seemed like such an anomaly. I hope the increased awareness of women in construction, and events such as Women in Construction Week, help young women realize that they can be part of this industry, too. I appreciate that there has been so much diversity in hiring at Evergreen Construction.
What is your advice to women wanting to get into construction?
Winczner: Do not be intimidated by the traditional idea of construction. Be confident in yourself and your knowledge and prove to others that you belong there. So many of the subcontractors, owners, etc., that I have worked with since joining Evergreen Construction have been very welcoming, and it’s very encouraging for me and the future of women in construction.