This Q&A with Stacey Harris of Consigli Construction wraps up our Women in Construction series for 2017. She expands on her favorite aspects of the job and shares what has been most memorable along the way.
Procore recently published a case study highlighting Consigli, a fourth-generation family-owned construction management business that has expanded to Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Oregon, Maine, Connecticut, and New York.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge of being a female professional in the construction industry?
The biggest challenge is proving to the workforce that you are capable of running the work. Just because I’m young, 5’ 5”, with blonde hair and a woman this has nothing to do with my knowledge or ability to lead. You have to know the plans and specs 10x better than the guy sitting next to you. You have to earn respect first because of how you look. Challenge accepted.
What advice do you have for a young woman entering this industry?
It’s okay to approach problems differently and look at them differently. That’s what makes you an important asset to this industry.
What led you to choose the construction industry for your career path?
My grandfather. We would often do science projects in his wood shop and play with legos. Now I can do these things every day as part of my job. Construction is legos in real life.
Who inspires you? Why?
Margaret Chase Smith, she is an important woman who changed how women in leadership are viewed.
What was the most challenging part of your job when you first started? What would you say that is currently?
Proving to the field staff that I wasn’t the secretary and that I was the superintendent of staff and managing the job.**
What is your favorite project you have ever worked on and why?
My favorite project was the Genzyme Allston Rena project. This entailed upgrading the pharmaceutical manufacturing facility while the company was in operation. It was comparable to working on a car while driving down the highway at 60 mph.
What is one of the most memorable moments in your construction career?
My most memorable moments would be bonding with the “old timers”. These guys have seen this industry evolve and learning from them is a blast.
Have you been a mentor or been mentored at any point in your career?
Yes I have been mentored. In my opinion, it’s the only way to have a career. If not for these people I wouldn’t understand the construction industry or how to navigate my career.
What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of winning Turner Construction’s innovation award. I hated doing the daily construction reports in my field notebook and running around the job all day so I built my own database program to automate the process. This technology is now being used throughout the company as a way of making jobs more efficient and I am very proud to have played a role in that.
Do you have any advice for the younger generations considering a career in construction?
If you don’t want to sit behind a computer screen all day, if you love looking at plans and seeing them built in front of you, if you love managing people, this is the job for you.
That brings the Women in Construction week to a close. Thank you to the National Association of Women in Construction for organizing this event.