Share this on FacebookMarch 12th, 2020 | Published by NEW Construction Alliance
Last week marked the 2020 Women in Construction (WIC) Week. The Build Out believes the contribution of women in the construction industry deserves more than just a week, so we are continuing to highlight some of the women that make a difference in our member companies.
Immel Construction, Co., drew our attention to a number of ladies making a major impact in that company’s success in a myriad of roles.
Rebecca Ratajczak, LEED GA, started at Immel as an intern while attending school for architectural technology. She thought it would provide her with needed insight into the building process of the building’s she would be designing.
That internship turned into a career serving as an assistant project manager. When asked about the perceptions that construction is either a “man’s industry” or not a solid career path for women, Rebecca responded,“It is a great industry for women to be a part of. If you are willing to learn about how the jobs in this industry are ran, learn from constructive criticism, and be willing to forget about stereotypes, you are more than able to be part of this...industry.”
She observed that the key to success working in the construction industry was not about gender, but hard work.“Everyone at work, as far as I know, respects me, but this is because I am willing to learn from my mistakes and ask questions. I work hard towards gaining everyone’s respect, and it shows,” said Rebecca. “I also can deal with people giving me constructive criticism and learn from my mistakes better than others.”
For nearly 14 years, Kayla Harper has called Immel her base of operations. She shared that she was introduced to the company by a family member working for Immel at the time.
Her first role was as a receptionist, but now serves as a senior project coordinator where she plays a vital role in the project management department. She credits her advancement to applying the knowledge gained from her many years on the job.
And she credits Immel’s positive work atmosphere for the increase in the company’s female workforce. “Everyone at Immel is welcoming to all no matter your gender.”
Kayla believes the construction industry is a great choice for young women discerning a career path. “I would encourage young women to join the Construction Industry. It is fun to come to work every day, and my days are never boring. It’s a fast-paced work environment, which makes the workday fly by!”
Immel’s Allison Thiry agrees,“My message to young women in high school and college would be to no believe the stereotypes that it is a man’s industry. There are more opportunities than just the stereotypical roles in the construction industry as well. There’s an array of opportunities and paths in construction, each unique, that could potentially suite you.”
Allison, Immel’s marketing specialist, also credits the company’s environment for their individual and corporate success and growth. “[Immel treats] all employees with respect and set an importance on each person’s voice, regardless of gender. The potential in each employee is seen by leadership, and each person is encouraged and assisted in growing professionally within the company.”
Like Ratajczak, Allison began her work in the industry as an intern. In Allison’s case, she began as a marketing and graphic design intern with JP Cullen in Janesville, WI. She brought that experience and several more years as a marketing assistant for a non-construction company to bear when she joined Immel.
As to construction being too male dominated, Allison offers, “just you wait. Women are 100% as capable as men in meeting and exceeding expectations in roles from project management and the trades to marketing and leadership roles. So ‘you just wait,’ women are realizing their importance and place in the industry.”