A growing group of women leaders are challenging the status quo and making their mark in residential construction.
NAHB’s Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council and Students Chapters program are supporting a new generation of women in the building and construction trades. Through mentoring and scholarship programs, along with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the field, emerging leaders are receiving the tools they need to build a solid career in the industry.
Case in point: the prestigious NAHB Student Competition held annually at the International Builders’ Show.
The shifting demographics of the competitors could be one indicator of the industry’s future. Celebrating its 28th anniversary at this year’s IBS, the competition’s award winners for the first time included teams with predominantly female competitors and team leaders.
The team from Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, Ariz., placed first in the secondary program competition. Two of the team’s competitors returned this year after being part of the first all-female team in the 2017 competition.
The predominantly all-female third place team from Rockville High School in Vernon, Conn., was featured in their local news station’s Stories of Hope series. The impact of competing at IBS gave many of these aspiring builders the confidence they need to continue in the field.
“We felt really empowered [being at the competition]…I felt like I could achieve anything,” said senior Katie Geisinger.
Amy Martino, principal of Building Site Synergy, PWB member and a Student Competition judge, agrees that providing young females with the opportunities to learn and grow is a key step to strengthening and diversifying the industry.
“Mentoring is instrumental to encouraging more females to consider a career in residential construction,” Martino said.
With her own architectural career of more than 20 years in the master planning and design of all types of residential and multifamily communities, Martino knows what it takes to be successful. Her advice for young women and men considering a construction career? Don’t be intimidated and don’t compromise to fit into the building industry.
“Be yourself. Make your own job opportunities. Acknowledge that your attributes and goals may not be found in a job description. Be confident in your own abilities and strengths.”
NAHB’s Student Chapters programs works with local HBAs to introduce high school students to the industry by providing first-hand exposure to career and networking opportunities.
Martino also encourages involvement in PWB as an important way for females to grow professionally in the industry. “Mentorships through PWB help you make personal connections and provide a supportive community of peers and role models.”