Now more than ever, women are breaking new ground and firmly establishing themselves in the construction industry. In fact, between 2014 and 2019, there was a 64% growth in women-owned construction firms.
With construction industry jobs expected to increase by almost two million this year, there is no better time for women to make their mark. This increase in the workforce will prompt companies to recruit more females and has already led to 75% of companies promoting a woman to a senior position.
As women begin paving the way, it is important to highlight female construction leaders and trailblazers for the incredible impact they’ve had on the industry, further encouraging women to seek a career in construction.
As the 2022 Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Board Chair, Stephanie Shmidt has climbed her way to the top. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University’s program specializing in Construction Management, she returned to her alma mater in 1992 for a job overseeing the design and construction of academic and administrative buildings.
By 1999, her ambitious career path looked promising as she joined the Poole Anderson team. Shmidt worked her way up from project management to Vice President of Business Development and, finally, President. As President, Shmidt knew gaining insight from industry leaders would ensure her company’s continued success, which prompted her to join the ABC Central Pennsylvania chapter. During her more than 21 years with ABC, she eventually became the fourth female National Board Chair in 2022.
From working at local, regional and national construction firms, Schmidt believes she brings a new, diverse perspective to the role. Having spent more than 35 years in this male-dominated industry, Schmidt says she is “interested in making opportunities more visible to females, as well as people of all backgrounds and ethnicities who have an interest in construction.”
While Mari Borrero never planned on entering the construction industry, her diverse career path proved to be an asset to the industry in which she would land. Borrero began her career serving four years in the Marine Corps, then graduated from Texas A&M at Commerce, worked as a hospice-care coordinator and, eventually, a teacher.
During Borrero’s time as a teacher, her husband began working in construction. When he wasn’t satisfied with his employee experience, Borrero worked to find a solution. After receiving their general contracting licenses in 2017, Borrero and her husband founded American Abatement & Demo inside their garage which has since grown into a multi-million dollar company.
Over the years, Borrero has leaned on the support and mentorship of female industry leaders, realizing that “they take it to another level and really, truly use their resources to help me understand what it takes to be a successful contractor.” Today she leads her woman-, veteran-, minority-owned small business with the goal of improving the community one person at a time and striving to create a diverse workplace.
Appointed in 2011, Kristine Young was the first female elected president of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Her appointment to serve AGC in its highest office had a significant impact on the construction industry and gave women someone to look to and encourage them to also seek leadership roles.
More than ten years after Young’s appointment to AGC, the number of C-level women in the construction industry has more than doubled.
Women of KWA Construction
These incredible women are the perfect example of when women are empowered, everyone benefits. At KWA Construction, we’re dedicated to the support and growth of all of our employees because we believe that everyone should be valued. KWA currently has two women holding VP positions in our organization, Holly Webster, VP of Organizational Development, and Margie Brodeur, VP of Accounting, in addition to multiple other female team members that play integral roles in our success.
“The male-dominated construction industry definitely has its challenges for women, but not without its rewards. Working hard and loving what I do enables me to be an inspiration to the other women around me. As a leader and role model at KWA, I have the opportunity to pave the way for females in our industry,” said Webster.
With more leaders inspiring women to pursue opportunities in construction, we can continue to grow the field and reach heights never seen before. If you’re interested in working for a company that is dedicated to supporting and growing their employees, maybe KWA is your next career home. Visit our careers page for more information.
- Associated Builders and Contractors
- Associated General Contractors of America
- Construction Executive Magazine