Job Title: Senior Project Designer
College: Iowa State University
Years With Story: 2.5
How and when did you decide you wanted to go into the construction field?
It was my seventh grade shop class teacher, Mr. Cleaver, who first put the "bug in my ear" to be an architect. He told me that I was pretty good at drawing and I had a good grasp of 3-D. So in high school I took a drafting class, and found that was really my forte. I was doing everyone's homework around me. So that's when I knew the path I wanted to take. I went to Iowa State for architecture and got the four year degree and then life happened that kept me from continuing; marriage and children. I prioritized raising my family. I held a few jobs both in and out of the industry that I thought of as "practical experience" that would serve my problem solving skills. I took additional classes at community colleges to stay up to day with the newer computer programs, and once I was ready to jump back in, I found a place that really embraced my past experience and gave me a lot of opportunity right off the bat. I was really appreciative of that and I think it gave me such a positive outlook on the industry as a whole.
What do you like most about your job at story construction??
First of all, I just like working for Story. We take very seriously the six core values that have been adopted - Hardworking, Caring, Honest, Integrity, Planful and Helpful - and it shows company-wide and in day to day interactions with the people here. I also really enjoy the design team that I work with. I think we work and collaborate with each other very well! Feeling valued is such a huge part of an employment experience, and when the company you work for really understands how to make that happen, it is a very positive and powerful thing.
In your mind, what are some benefits to having more women in the construction industry?
I think women have a good way of looking at problem solving. Personally, being a mom and the various jobs I have worked at shaped me to be the architect & designer that I am, how I solve everyday problems and have learned to juggle a lot of things at once. We all use our past experiences to influence decision making, so bringing varying experiences to the table in the design process is really important. That extends beyond design and into construction.
I think employers can gain a lot by being understanding and flexible, something that I have had the good fortune to experience. Women who might be hesitant to join the construction industry will be more likely to jump in if they understand and are provided reassurance that there is such a thing as "work/life balance" and that is attainable and supported by the employer, especially as a mom!
Any advice to young women looking into construction as a possible career field?
Don't overlook it! There are a lot of different areas of expertise in construction. There's room for new talent in this industry, and who better to fill those spots than women?