Women in Construction Week Panel: Careers in ConstructionContributor: Swinerton Blogger | March 06, 2018
To commemorate Women in Construction week from March 4-10, Swinerton is proud to highlight the talented women at Swinerton who lead the way in the construction industry. As part of Women in Construction week's mission to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry, we're highlighting the thoughts from female leaders at Swinerton on the construction industry and much more.
What advice would you give to people starting their careers in construction right now?
Jenn Lauritzen, Project Executive, Healthcare: Get as much exposure as you can, try out different roles and tasks, get out in the field and learn how our craft workers really put the work in place. Ask questions and don’t be in a big hurry to move up the ladder right away. Take the opportunities when you're young to really gain an understanding of the industry and figure out your strengths and what roles you most enjoy.
Lauren Nunnally, Director, Craft Services: Be proactive in both offering help and growing yourself. Don’t wait for others to come to you or for your company to offer training and development experiences (although they definitely should!). Go out there and find your own ways to take charge of your career. And offering help always starts the foundation of building great relationships with your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your career. Make your goals and needs known and work with your supervisors to develop your career plans together.
Listen. There’s a lot to learn from almost anyone you come in contact with when you’re starting out. Keep your ears open.
Have some fun and don’t take things too seriously all the time! People work way too much these days to not enjoy what you do and enjoy the people you’re doing it with. It won’t always be fun, but it should definitely be fun sometimes. And at the very least, the work may always be tough, but if you don’t enjoy your teammates or the people you work alongside with day after day, make a change!
Lia Tatevosian, Operations Manager, Orange County & Los Angeles: Make sure you have passion for the industry and you love what you do because it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful financially in this industry AND to make a difference and leave some level of legacy behind. If you don’t truly love it, it will show through 100% and you won’t be able to keep up.
Lisa Larance, Senior Estimator, Denver: This industry is so dynamic that you must remain flexible and willing to learn at every step in your career. You also must learn how to work with any type of personality – good people skills will enhance your career beyond measure. While technology will assist you throughout your career, it will not replace the physical, tactical nature of construction. Understand that tasks you are responsible for early in your career really do affect the successful outcome of your projects. Take on each one with passion and excellence. You are laying the groundwork for each phase of your career path.
What do you think are the most important changes happening in the construction industry?
Jenn Lauritzen: The advancements in technology keep us on our toes in the construction industry. Everything from the software and tools we use to manage construction to the changes in materials and techniques for installing field work, to the changes in the end user systems that we provide infrastructure for. We are always learning and adapting.
Lauren Nunnally: From a technology standpoint, I think eventually prefabrication will change a lot about our industry, but I think it’s still too early to tell how and at what scale. Most of the other technical advances in construction right now seem to be more incremental-type improvements rather than completely disruptive forces. I think more importantly than the “what” is the “how much” and how to navigate all of it. There are so many new things out there right now, I think it will be key for business to know what to invest in, at what level, and when. This will require some tough decisions over the next year I think.
From a people standpoint, I love the focus our industry is beginning to put on talent – both office and field talent! People are really starting to recognize and respect that success starts with your people. And companies are putting more emphasis on talent acquisition, development, engagement, and retention. When you look at investments construction companies are starting to make in these areas and you think about it from the common “technology adoption curve”, it will be interesting to see which companies fall into the innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards categories of talent management and how they fare over the next 3-5 years as a result.
Lia Tatevosian: Diversity in general (not just women but also minorities). It’s amazing to watch. Also, technology and the role it will play in work/life balance AND the fact that people don’t have to clock in and out of an office for their daily jobs anymore. This will be hard to take in by the older generations but if we don’t adapt to flexible schedules, we will be on the losing end of greatness for the future
Lisa Larance: I believe that there are several trends which are affecting the way we do business. Owners want projects with a greater speed to market, but also desire a more custom ‘residential’ feel to their buildings. These two items don’t always go hand in hand, yet this challenge faces us every day. And while some owners go the more custom route, others are exploring how to provide more versatile tenant spaces that can accommodate more than one type of industry. Building owners are trying to stay in front of the changing real estate landscape (shorter lease terms, more enhanced building systems, changing demographics of the workforce, etc.); as builders, we must be aware of how these trends affect our project delivery systems. We also must stay focused on how best to develop our contracting community in challenging market conditions. It will remain critical for us to align ourselves with firms who can be creative and flexible while maintaining quality throughout the entire process.