I Build America – Ohio is dedicated to celebrating the women of construction. Women are a vital part of our industry, and there are female leaders at all levels of construction work. From foreman to company owners and executives, construction wouldn’t be the industry it is without its female employees. Join us and our partners in celebrating the success of women within your own company and across the nation during National Women in Construction Week 2023.
Company: Foundation Steel LLC
Title/Position: Director of Risk Management
Years Working in Construction: 16 years
What was your path to a career in construction?
I grew up in a family of General Contractors, but I also had a passion for horses. When debating between going to school for horses or something else, my dad told me “You should go to school to be an engineer so you can afford those horses.” I thought that was smart, so I decided to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering at University of Toledo. While in school, I had a couple of internships with an excavating company and a General Contractor and after graduation, continued with that General Contractor, who I worked with for almost 10 years. I grew through positions of Project Engineer, Cost Engineer, Assistant Superintendent, and eventually Project Manager during my time there. In late 2017, I was looking for something more and was drawn to a woman-owned, steel erecting subcontractor I had worked with a few times. I reached out to Charlotte Dymarkowski, the owner, and had an instant connection with her, her vision of the company, and how she spoke of what her employees meant to her. This was very different than most of the conversations I had with others in the industry and her company seemed like a perfect fit for what I felt I had been missing in my career. A couple months later, I started my journey at Foundation Steel and after 5 years, can say for certain that it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What do you like most about working in construction?
Construction is a uniquely dynamic field. Every challenge you come across is distinct and is much like solving a puzzle, only the stakes are a bit higher, and the impact is on people’s lives. But that also means the successes are incredibly rewarding and since almost all of those come from a team effort, you are never alone in celebrating.
Have you seen a change in the opportunities for women in construction over the course of your career?
To be honest, I feel like the opportunities have always been available to some degree for me and it was always my choice on how I pursued them. Life is full of challenges and some of them have felt unfair at times, but just because the answer to a problem isn’t clear in that moment doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That’s a challenge not only women experience.
What do you hope to see in the future for women in construction?
I hope that more women believe in themselves enough to have the confidence to pursue their dreams. That they will look at challenges as opportunities instead of roadblocks and know that they can affect the change they want to see more than anyone else.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in construction?
You would be surprised at how much of an impact you can make in a predominantly male industry. I’ve spent the better part of my career supporting the men I work with and have found that not only does the diversity in thought make for a much more creative team, but it’s also welcomed and appreciated by those men.