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Women in Construction Week 2023 | Preconstruction & Operations Team

Arianne Myers, Carly Blair, Hannah Harriman, Erin Ray, Tamra Holton, Aimee Clode, Kirsten Collins, Liza Padgett


Did you ever see yourself having a career in construction?

Arianne Myers: Yes.

Carly Blair: No, my Dad was in construction and I thought his job was so boring! But now I love it, I am challenged and everyday is something new.

Hannah Harriman: No.

Erin Ray: Never, I didn’t realize all the different options that were available in construction.

Kirsten Collins: Not when I was a little girl, “women in construction” in my area wasn’t something being talked about a lot or pushed for girls in the early 2000’s. I thought I was going to be a nurse when I was younger.

Tamra Holton: Not until I interned at a construction company in college. I was going to school for teaching but when I visited a jobsite at Children’s Hospital, and realized you can build places that change people’s lives, I decided to stay in construction.

Aimee Clode: No.

Liza Padgett: I grew up surrounded by construction and it was always a part of my life. I originally thought I wanted to be an Architect. I went to a college visit at Purdue and was given a tour of their construction department and knew that it was a better fit for me.


What was your first introduction/job in the AEC industry?

Arianne Myers: JHL Constructors.

Carly Blair: I worked for a small family owned Radon Company as an office manager, but my first “construction” job was for an electrical supply house.

Hannah Harriman: Working at JHL!

Erin Ray: Preconstruction Project Manager on the owner side.

Kirsten Collins: During my first year of college, I was majoring in Civil/Environmental Engineering, and a construction firm who built wastewater treatment plants was interviewing students in my department for paid internship positions, so I jumped for it and got my very first internship working for a construction firm doing takeoffs and estimating, basically calling subs and checking specifications. Definitely a feet first experience!

Tamra Holton: Project Administrator/Office Manager.

Aimee Clode: Receptionist for a Temperatures Controls Company.

Liza Padgett: My dad is a utility contractor, I would go with him to jobsites and help out where I could. I also participated heavily in Habitat for Humanity when I was in high school. My first official job/internship was for Reynolds Construction in their estimating department in my hometown.


What do you love most about your career?

Arianne Myers: The team driven nature – it’s all hands on deck at all times and doesn’t work unless everyone works together.

Carly Blair: I love that the learning never stops, no matter how long you are in the industry there is something that you can get more knowledge about.

Hannah Harriman: The people I work with!

Erin Ray: I love project management. There is a new challenge every day.

Kirsten Collins: I love being able to work both indoors at a desk behind a computer, and outdoors interacting with a huge variety of people every day. I think if I had to just interact with people all of the time I would get overwhelmed, but if I worked behind a computer only at my desk all day, I would get bored. Working as a project engineer for a construction company has fit my personality and interests so well, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Tamra Holton: I love that construction is something different everyday. It is a career where you can constantly learn new things and grow.

Aimee Clode: Never a dull moment. Constantly changing.

Liza Padgett: No two days are the same and there is always something to figure out or improve on.


What is the most surprising thing about being in the industry?

Arianne Myers: For such a large industry, it has a small community feel to it.

Carly Blair: Even though there are challenges, it doesn’t feel like “work”. I genuinely have fun coming into my job everyday.

Hannah Harriman: There is something new to learn/a new perspective to consider.

Erin Ray: I am still surprised how few woman work in the industry.

Kirsten Collins: Honestly, I am most surprised by how respectful all of the people I interact with are, mostly being men. I think because of warnings and tales from women who worked in construction in the 80’s and 90’s, I had approached the industry cautiously, nervous of not being respected in a male dominated field. My reality has been quite the opposite, with every man I work for/with treating me with the utmost respect and trusting my competence fully. It has given me a whole new perspective on equality and is extremely encouraging to see how far the industry has come.

Tamra Holton: The opportunities that exist in this industry are never ending.

Aimee Clode: I see more and more women in it.


What is your advice for women starting out in the industry?

Arianne Myers: Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself to pave your own unique path to achieve your goals.

Carly Blair: Have the patience to sit back and learn from others, and the confidence to bring your own knowledge to the table.

Hannah Harriman: Be curious, ask questions and have an open mind.

Erin Ray: You will have challenges, but that makes the rewards so much sweeter!

Kirsten Collins: Approach your career with equal parts confidence and humbleness. Stand your ground and be outspoken about your strengths/skills when you know what you are doing, but always feel comfortable to admit when you do not know something and pair that with questions that show an eager willingness to learn and grow.

Tamra Holton: Don’t be intimated. Be yourself and learn as much as you can, ask questions and don’t be afraid to get your boots dirty!

Aimee Clode: Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

Liza Padgett: Women belong in this industry just as much as men, don’t let anyone tell you differently.