Case Studies Women in Construction

Alexis Baker – Manheim Central School District

Although she’s not a teacher, Alexis Baker impacts students every day. As the director of facilities at Manheim Central School District, she says she considers their experience in every project. Whether with large undertakings, like renovating the high school, or smaller ones, such as creating a pollinator garden at the middle school, Baker tries to […]

Roberta Wright – Patrick & Henry Community College

As a slew of general contractors will attest, there’s a definite shortage of young people entering the trades, but those who do are well-positioned for career growth. At least in some locales, the message seems well taken, including at Patrick & Henry Community College where there’s been a waiting list of students seeking training in […]

Olivia Karavatakis – Carter Bank & Trust

It’s not unusual for anyone entering a bank to be thinking green—cash, that is. But Olivia Karavatakis wants them thinking green in another context. As vice president of facilities management, she’s considering how the bank can operate sustainably. From energy-efficient HVAC and lighting to more rain-absorbent landscaping that prevents flooding, Karavatakis sees many ways the […]

JoDee Johnson – Benihana

She didn’t know it then, but when JoDee Johnson was a little girl growing up in Michigan, borrowing Uncle Jim’s binoculars and using them to study houses across Portage Lake, she was on her way to becoming a design and construction manager for some of the biggest restaurant brands in the U.S. “It’s funny how […]

Michelle Swanitz – California Polytechnic State University

It would be a typical day on the job for Michelle Swanitz, one that had her responding to one situation after another before the sun set on the Central California coast. Director of facilities for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Swanitz was handling […]

Hilleary Steckler – VASA Fitness

For Hilleary Steckler, the best part of the job is walking through the doors of a finished VASA Fitness location—to see it through the eyes of a member. Knowing the amount of work dedicated to each location, Steckler says it fills her with a sense of accomplishment. As VASA’s director of facility design, Steckler has […]

Jessie Patrick – Owasso Public Schools

Feminine, but with a fierce side. This is how Jessie Patrick describes herself. A diminutive and lithe ballerina by avocation and a school district’s construction director by vocation, her high heels just might be heard clicking on a concrete foundation. Or even on a roof. “I’ve heard I’m a lot more involved in being on-site […]

Jennifer Van Horn – Toledo Zoo

Hard to believe, but 13,000 years ago, Ohio’s landscape was dotted with mastodons, giant sloths and prehistoric lions moseying around what is now the shores of Lake Erie. Toledo residents can now glimpse into that rare window of the world through Toledo Zoo’s ProMedica Museum of Natural History, says Jennifer Van Horn, the Toledo Zoo’s […]

Monique Davis – MidPen Housing Corp.

Growing up in Houston, Monique Davis could see her neighborhood needed some care and wanted to help fix the buildings in the city she called home. But how, she remembers thinking, could she even get started? The answer came in a chance meeting when architect Vergel Gay spoke at her school and he and his […]

Kelly Fleming – Realterm

It was not a fun job, but there was Kelly Fleming, a little girl cinched up in a toolbelt, picking nails out of the dirt and dust at construction sites. “I wanted to spend time with my brothers and my dad, and that’s what they made me do,” she recalls. Picking up nails was just […]

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