PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Forget the old stereotype that the world of construction is just for men. As up-and-coming construction leaders throughout Greater Philadelphia highlight, the industry is doing an about-face - and the future is female. Not only are construction firms focused on recruiting women at all levels, females are also assuming more leadership roles, and the number of women-owned construction firms has nearly doubled since 2007.
In addition to the entrepreneurs shattering the so-called concrete ceiling, several young women in the region are taking the reins as they help lead their family-owned construction companies - some of the top firms in the area - and drive forward the industry at large. While building runs in their blood, these members of the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) offer a fresh perspective on the changing face of construction.
Angelina Perryman, VP of Administration, Perryman Building & Construction
"The construction industry has grown significantly in the last few years, opening the door for opportunities of all types, from the trades to project management and business ownership. However, you cannot make an impact unless someone sees your value.
"I am proud to be a part of Perryman Construction, where leadership acknowledges my skillset as a woman, both young and diverse. Because of the firm's belief in my value, I have been able to introduce a pipeline of women to the construction industry through MyWIC (Mentoring Young Women in Construction Camp), serving as past president of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Philadelphia and serving as a founding member of the DEI Committee of NAWIC at a national level, all of which bring value to the City of Philadelphia.
"I look forward to continuing to impact the pipeline of talent into the construction industry, being the conduit to create opportunities for families to achieve financial wholeness and improving the Philadelphia community, one project at a time."
Melissa Boulden, VP of Project Development/Director of Engineering, Mid-Atlantic Steel
"There are a growing number of highly motivated, driven women out there working hard to make a mark in this industry and demonstrate their value.
"I think as more young women see other women thriving in construction, engineering and architecture, there will be a growing number of women who see these occupations as viable career paths. As the local construction industry continues to make a strong push for diversity/minority business inclusion and more opportunities present themselves for leadership and growth, we will see more women pursing construction-related fields in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
"Personally, I want to be able to point out 'signature' work to my children and let them know their mom was part of the team that built these buildings and helped shape the skyline. I want my kids to know anything is possible, regardless of what the environment may look like today."
Angelique Hunter, Marketing Director, Smith Flooring Inc.
"Women don't only bring more diversity; we also offer a different gender perspective to the way we work every day.
I've found that in Philadelphia, females in the construction industry not only make great strides in leadership but also teach and pull forth women who deserve recognition. This leadership and influence are moving some of the biggest projects in Philadelphia and changing our neighborhoods forever.
"Smith Flooring Inc. is a great place to work and learn. However, I am also focused on growing and building my own personal legacy, which I have started through my work with NAWIC Philadelphia (past president), serving as a standing member on the City of Philadelphia's Economic Opportunity Plan (EOP) oversight committee and being an active member of GBCA.
GBCA has impacted my personal development and has also opened many doors to new opportunities to learn and grow in the building industry."
Christina Pasquariello, Assistant Project Manager, P. Agnes
"Females like me are impacting the construction industry just by continuing to be a part of it. It is not always easy being a woman in this field. There are challenges we face on a daily basis, but the respect level has come a long way.
"Growing up my grandmother always told me she wanted to work for her father (Pellegrino Agnes, founder of P. Agnes) but she knew women would not be respected back then in the construction industry. She was proud that I am doing what she always dreamed of doing.
"Now, I strive to be an example for other young women and professionals across the Philadelphia region who want to make an impact in construction or in business in general.
Over time, I think we will see women taking the lead at many of the larger firms, not only in construction but in every industry."
Mary Kate Radomski, Operations Manager, Frank V. Radomski & Sons, Inc.
"Construction is tough, and you have to have a thick skin to survive in this industry. But showing your colleagues that every single person on a jobsite is of equal importance is incredibly crucial. We are all a team.
"I also think it's important for women to empower other women. From networking to educational events, GBCA has allowed me to make connections and meet some of my most important mentors in the industry. Emily Bittenbender is a huge name in Philadelphia construction, and I've always found her to be incredibly inspiring. Because of GBCA, I was able to get to know Emily, and now not only consider her to be a mentor, but a friend.
"Some of my best friends in the industry work for other general contractors, who would be considered our competition. It doesn't matter. Whether you are competitors or not, we are all in this together."
These leaders are a testament to the strength of the more than 1 million women in construction across the country. Here in Greater Philadelphia, they are seizing an industry full of opportunity, shaping the landscape literally and figuratively and paving the way for generations to come.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about a career in construction, visit https://gbca.com/services/workforce-development.
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