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: Gerken Paving
Title/Position: Driver / CDL / Floboy 6 axle
Years Working in Construction: 2 years
What was your path to a career in construction?
My husband has over 20 years in the Construction area as a Dump Truck driver. And over 35 years driving a commercial vehicle. I wanted to make a change in my Career. I have over 30 years myself in the Transportation industry driving a Semi Truck pulling anything from a 45ft to a 53ft trailer making multiple deliveries and pick-ups. With his guidance I was able to enter the Construction business working for Gerken Paving Inc. I have no regrets…
What do you like most about working in construction?
The day to day challenges we face as drivers keeps us on our toes for sure. Learning so many new aspects of what goes into Infrastructure and building new roads is amazing. I have been challenged with this new career and I have no regrets. I work with some amazing Men and Women, from flaggers, laborers, to paving operators and roller operators and drivers. We have a mix of men and women in all departments at Gerken Materials.
Have you seen changes for women in construction over the course of your career?
Changes for Women in this line of work has been nothing but promising. I see so many Women out there working hard in the construction industry. The opportunities are endless for us Woman. Especially since I have become an employee at Gerken Materials. We have women everywhere working. Endless opportunities.
What do you hope to see for the future of women in construction?
I hope to see for the future of Women in the construction business, is to become more and more of us out there. From laborers to Company owners. Financing for women just starting out needs to be out there better for us. Instead of jumping thru hoops to start up a dream, lets give us the opportunity to actually get it done. There are some avenues out there for women in business, but not as much and not as easy to get to as it should be. When they say start up financing, they still want you to have 1 to 2 years of revenue for your business. I know this because I have been researching it myself. That is not a start-up. A start-up is just that. A start-up. We should have the ability to purchase equipment like a Dump Truck for example. Or a few trucks and a small building. I see a lot of women driving dump trucks every day. But the majority of them are company drivers. Let’s get them out there as Company Owners, working side by side with others out there.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in construction?
As I tell my granddaughters. You can do anything you put your mind to do. Get into the Trades.
Nothing is more empowering than a woman or a young adult operating heavy equipment. From a small dozer to large Haul truck at the quarry or on the highway. From a small truck to a semi truck hauling hot asphalt, or other aggregates from the quarries to a job site. From being a flagger out on the jobsite to becoming the foreman of a large crew. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless in construction for you. Starting from a High School age in construction is the best thing to do. You can still go to college for Engineering, or other building trades and so on that you can use in the construction business. But if you are actually working in the industry, you will have a better idea of what you are being taught. Hands on is the best work and experience you can get. Utilize every avenue you can. Next thing you know, you could be running your own company.