NAWIC Women in Construction Week: Promoting Women in Construction

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This week, The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) celebrates Women in Construction Week (WIC). This week is not only dedicated to highlighting women in construction, but also raising awareness of the opportunities available to women in the industry and emphasizing their growing role in it.

Three women in the construction industry, Beth Jones, Shannon Weisiger and April Colaluca, talk about their careers, thoughts on the construction industry and advice they have for young female professionals.

Beth Jones, Business Development Director – Strategic Accounts at Atlas Copco Power Technique

Jones

Career

Beth Jones joined Atlas Copco nine years ago, working on a number of things from administrative duties, to signing on new OEM dealerships, dealer management, hands-on training to customers, and more.

Currently, Jones manages three of the top five rental accounts in the company and has increased sales by 200 percent throughout the years.

Women in Construction

The business development director’s interest in the construction industry was always organic. The longer she is in the industry, the more interested she becomes and the more it drives her.

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Being a NAWIC member, she is a strong proponent to continue to raise awareness to get more women involved in construction.

“I am proud to be an ambassador for future women in the industry. There are plenty of opportunities in construction,” says Jones.

Advice to Young Professionals

“Always keep pushing past the challenges as they come and never make excuses. There may be setbacks and sometimes you need to take another route to get where you want to be. Sometimes, that means changing positions, sitting in the hot sun for eight hours and watching how a machine functions in order to better learn how to support your customer.

You can make excuses for setbacks or you can push past it and be successful – you will never be able to do both. Know the only person who owes you success is you.”

Shannon Weisiger, Strategic Account Specialist at Atlas Copco Power Technique

Weisiger

Career

After graduating with an Industrial Design degree from Virginia Tech, Shannon Weisiger found a job as a scale clerk at an aggregate quarry. On the job, she gained knowledge of quarry operations, equipment and the process industry.

Following her position with the aggregate company, Weisiger took a position in the retail industry at a large jewelry retail chain. It was there where she found a passion for sales. She was the store manager before going back to the construction industry as a sales manager.

Ultimately, she had the opportunity to move to South Carolina and found Atlas Copco. Starting off in inside sales, she mastered Atlas Copco’s business tools before taking the position as digitalization product specialist. Weisiger is now the strategic account specialist and uses all of these skills working on key accounts.

Women in Construction

The strategic account specialist is encouraging other women to explore construction as a field for a challenging and fulfilling career.

“It is so important to be confident, curious and not to be intimidated by the lack of women in the field,” she says. “The construction industry continues to grow, and it only makes sense that women should be fulfilling these positions too. It is a great industry to be involved in.”

With hard work and passion for her job, Weisiger is happy to be at Atlas Copco.

“I am thankful to be a part of Atlas Copco that has set up goals to increase the share of women in the workplace,” says Weisiger. “We believe passionate people create exceptional things.”

Advice to Young Professionals

“Never stop learning. Learn everything you can from the people and resources around you.

When I go into meetings, I may be the only female in a room full of men. To achieve success, I believe in myself and always keep a positive attitude. I do not let it distract me from the task at hand. Hard work pays off, especially when you make your voice heard.”

April Colaluca, Marketing Communications and Trade Show Coordinator, Customer Service Manager at APT and Chicago Pneumatic Power Technique

Colaluca

Career

April Colaluca’s first job out of college was in Seattle, Washington, as a marketing administrator. She held the position for nearly four years before ultimately deciding to move back home to California. She applied for a job a marketing communications position at APT.

“With construction, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I was intrigued,” says Colaluca. “Walking into the interview I didn’t feel completely out of my depth because I’ve worked with tools before.”

APT featured a full manufacturing process. She was amazed at the process of starting with the highest quality of steel and making it into a working tool all in one day.

“I was and remain to this day so intrigued by the manufacturing process,” she says. “These tools would go on to create the roads we drive on, the houses we live in and the offices we work at.”

Women in Construction

Colaluca loves to see the look of pure surprise on peoples’ faces when they ask her what she does.

“That really lets me know I am in the right place,” she says. “Construction is so diverse. It gives great opportunity for women to show their potential in what is mainly a male dominated field. We are showing gender is not a factor. Good, experienced people are what the field needs.”

Advice to Young Professionals

“Don’t get discouraged. You may have to work harder to show your knowledge and gain a customer’s trust, but it will happen. In the end, you have created a lasting relationship and a very loyal customer.”

Jolene Logue, President at PacWest Machinery

Logue

Career

Following college in the early-1990s, Logue graduated into a tough economy and needed to start out with some temporary and entry-level jobs. With both parents being teachers, Logue did not have a network of people in the construction industry. Instead, she relied on working hard and being open to trying new things.

Soon after college, Logue joined Ingersoll Rand (IR) where she stayed and worked her way up the ladder over a 15-year span of time. During the early years, Logue held various roles across several departments at the company and effectively diversified her skillset. This included positions such as a rental coordinator before eventually moving into equipment sales, marketing, and opening new retail locations.

Logue also spent time with Volvo Construction Equipment, another high-quality company, as a regional vice president over dealer and company owned stores. Her last stop was running 13 company-owned stores for IR before her move to being named president of PacWest Machinery.

“The highlight of my career is when I joined PacWest Machinery,” says Logue. “Our team has been able to develop a plan for growth, which consists of a high level of customer support, employee growth and development, equipment sales, updated facilities and bringing on new lines of equipment.”

Logue has now been president of the dealership for over five years.

Women in Construction

When Logue was involved in sales, she joined NAWIC. It was a small group at the time, which has now grown to thousands of associate members.

“There is plenty of room for women in the construction industry,” says Logue. “The women I have worked with that are successful have been practical, eager to learn and could confidently apply what they have learned.”

Logue believes it is a lot easier now for a woman than it was 20 to 30 years ago. Today, it is more about what someone brings to the table, regardless of gender.

“Our industry is pretty down-to-earth, and if you are genuine and want to work hard and learn, I believe there are a lot of people who will open doors for women or for any other capable person,” says Logue. “Our industry is also small and so many know each other. So, if you are good at what you do, you are going to be remembered.”

Advice to Young Professionals

The PacWest Machinery president believes something that helped her along the way was to seek out good mentors.

“For young people in our industry, make sure to seek out good mentors,” says Logue. “To be able to have experienced people advising you and looking out for you is really important for growth and learning on the job.”

Article by Sean Neugent, Performance Marketing

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