Throughout the month of August, I Build America – Ohio is celebrating the role of family in the construction industry. In the world of construction, “family” means a lot of things. In some cases, there are multiple family members working together: mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, uncles and nephews working side by side. In other crews, the impact of family comes from working for a family-owned company. And, in other cases, a new family is formed through the bonds of working with a great team. One of the biggest drivers of new individuals to the construction industry is influence from a respected family member or friend, and we’re here to help share the stories of what family looks like in construction.
Name: Kristina McDonnell
Company: The Beaver Excavating Co.
Title/Position: Project Manager – Geotechnical
Years Working in Construction: 8 Years
What is the role that family played in your decision to join the construction industry?
My family is my “why.” They are my motivation and my reason to succeed in life. They keep me going. I didn’t have any family members in the industry, but I did grow up with both parents that worked full time in their careers while being an active volunteer firefighter/EMTs for the community, all while raising four children. I have strong parents who taught me independence, professionalism, and a drive to push through the challenging times. I want my daughters to grow up with that same work ethic and know they can do hard things. Growth happens when you put yourself in tough situations and step out of your comfort zone.
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
Before making any decision with opportunities presented to me that involves a different state, a longer commute, more time commitments, etc. it very important that I incorporate my husband in the decision and make sure we can make it work for our family. It is a priority for me to keep a healthy work-life balance. Being a mom to two girls under two, we read lots of construction themed books and play with our (pink) dump trucks! In the future, I am excited to show them the projects I’ve been lucky to be a part of, have them sit in the seat of the equipment, and most importantly open their eyes to women working in a male-dominated industry.
In what ways do you see “family” show up in construction? This could be literal family relationships or a more broad sense of the ‘construction family’ within your organization.
Construction co-workers have easily become family. They know me better than some of my friends. We live, eat, and breathe our project! Even when we are not “working” I enjoy spending time with them at golf outings, company picnics, customer parties, safety retreats, volunteer work, networking events, community outreach, industry conferences, etc.! Our job is intense and demanding so it important to me to make sure everyone is doing okay on and off the job. Understanding them on a personal level not only helps manage productivity, but most importantly, the safety of the crew! Whether you’re in an office-based role or a trade in the field, there is nothing better than working as a team creating and delivering projects you can looks back on and feel accomplished completing.
Why do you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction?
Every day I am building 2 things at once – My projects (literally) and my family. My favorite part of my job is going out in the community to teach the future generation the career opportunities in the construction industry. The future of construction cannot survive without people. It is so important right now to help educate students on the great opportunities available.