Today kicks off Women in Construction Week, dedicated to highlighting women as a visible component of the construction industry. In honor of the week, we’ve conducted interviews with several women working in construction, all Procore clients, who’ve been gracious enough to share their experiences working in the industry and their advice for other young women aspiring to move in the same direction.
The National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) organizes Women in Construction Week, and it’s intended to encourage members and non-members alike, to raise awareness around the opportunities available to women in construction.
Wendy Lockner, AVB Construction.
Procore: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge of being a female professional in the construction industry?
Wendy: As I see it, the biggest challenge to all team members in the construction industry is the ability to continue to perform at the top of the game while everything changes, treating constant change as the norm, and pressing on. It takes a diverse team to work through constant change and confident collaboration across the board to not only get things done, but to improve the process along the way. In my role, I help streamline the day to day communications among our commercial construction teams, and while it is a challenge to embrace technological changes, the rewards from those efforts tend to lead to efficiencies and new flexibilities.
Procore: What advice do you have for a young woman entering this industry?
Wendy: My advice to a young woman or young man entering any industry is to carry yourself with confidence about what you know and be open and grateful to learning from everyone around you. I was raised to believe there was no difference to what a woman or man can do, and believe that a person can do anything they put their mind to. Everyone has something of value to bring to the table, and coming from a different background lends a new vantage point and perspective that much can be gained from. Always try to think outside the box, it improves the contents inside tenfold when teams include non-traditional thinking in problem solving. Learn the way things have always been done, but do not be afraid to try something different.
Procore: What led you to choose the construction industry as your career path?
Wendy: I think construction chose me, more than I chose construction. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences, found my way to a career at Pfizer as a virologist developing and testing vaccines for animals, went back to school to get my Master of Public Health and continued to work in the lab with cells and viruses. I left biological sciences to spend more time with my 3 little children and found myself looking for something to do, and through a friend started working part time helping manage records and learning about commercial construction. This progressed to a full time position before I had my 4th little one, and it has been a much better fit for me, taking advantage of my time management and organization skills. I always try to be open to change; I’m on a path I wouldn’t have dreamed I would go down and enjoying every moment!
Procore: Have you been a mentor or been mentored at any point in your career?
Wendy: AVB is a great company that embraces a fully integrated teamwork mentality. While, yes, I have been mentored by company presidents, project managers and superintendents in my role as a project engineer, I feel like the sharing of knowledge and ideas is a complete two way street and everyone’s input is always treated with the same level of importance. It is always about bringing your best and opening yourself to see someone else’s best. I’ve heard the team is only as strong as the weakest player, but I believe we have a somewhat unique situation here where we strive to make the team as strong as everyone’s best. This culture is what makes AVB where I want to go every day to do my best and learn, always improving as well.
Procore: Do you have any advice for the younger generations considering a career in construction?
Wendy: Go for it! Since I have started working in construction with a fantastic company like AVB, I have looked at the world around me through different eyes. I’m part of a team that is changing the scenery, businesses, neighborhoods, community around me. It’s an awesome place to be, seeing community growth from this perspective.
Visit Procore HQ throughout the week to hear more perspective from women in construction.