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FOCUS - Believe in yourself

image Becky Rodriguez, Senior Project Manager, Turner Construction Co., President, National Association of Women in Construction, San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - For Becky Rodriguez, being a mentor to future female construction leaders is her inspiration and driving force. She is an active member and current president of the San Antonio Chapter of National Association of Women (NAWIC). Getting involved in associations and networking helped her meet other women in the industry and provided her with personal and career growth. “If it doesn’t scare you a little, you’re not challenging yourself.”

 

 

What is your background in the construction industry? 
    I began my entire career with Clark Construction and worked with them for 18 years in Texas, California, and Louisiana. I relocated back to San Antonio and worked for Zachry Construction for five years in their building division. Currently I am a senior project manager at Turner Construction in San Antonio.

Why did you choose a career in construction?
    Construction chose me. I was attending school for accounting, while working full-time as a temp for a general contractor. 
    I appreciated that each day brought on new challenges. Three months later, I was hired full-time and quickly decided this is where I wanted to be. I changed my major to construction while working as a field office manager. I later moved into project management as I continued college on a part-time basis. I have never regretted changing my major and I look forward to what each day brings.

What specific challenges have you faced?
    Through my construction career, being in a non-traditional industry for women, there were challenges that as a female I faced that males in this industry do not have to face.

How did you overcome those challenges?
    Overcoming some of these challenges was not easy. I reached a point in my career where I realized I did not have to be like the guys to be successful and that being a female in this industry has its strengths. Instead of focusing on the challenges, I shifted my focus to my own strengths and on improving my leadership skills and knowledge on the technical side.

In your experience, are more opportunities opening up for women in the construction industry?

    There has been an increase in the number of women in construction from when I started in the industry. There has been an increase in middle management; unfortunately there is not many women in upper management positions. I would love to see those percentages increase.

What areas in construction do you see the most increase in jobs for women?

    Women work in all facets of the construction industry. However, this is only comprised of approximately 9.3 percent of women according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most increase has been on the project management side, but there needs to be a push to see more growth in field management and in the trades.

In your opinion, which is more important for a construction career - education or experience? 
    In my personal opinion, experience is more important, with education closely following. Having one without the other can potentially stunt your career growth. As a female working in a male dominated industry, experience is a must!

What are the rewards of the construction industry? 
    Completing projects on time, within budget, turning over a project the owner loves, and knowing that you were an integral part of building that project.

What advice can you offer women who want to pursue a construction career? 
    Believe in yourself and believe that you know what you are talking about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t stand in the background and always take your seat at the table. Always remember you worked hard to be in the position you are in and that your voice matters.

Turner Construction Company is a full-service general contractor.

National Association of Women in Construction is a professional networking association for women in the field of construction.  -cmw


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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net