Celebrating Women in Construction

Celebrating Women in Construction

Building People - Lisa, Stephanie, and Diane

Meet some of the women that make up Rosendin's Corporate Training Team: Lisa Vere, Director of Quality and Training; Stephanie Roldan, Corporate Lean Manager; and Diane O'Carroll, Corporate Quality & Compliance Manager. Overseen by Lisa, Quality/Training and LEAN are part of one department where each area helps the other as deficiencies are uncovered with quality or when new ideas are generated as part of Rosendin's LEAN journey. The training team, together, is able to address items immediately and make a direct impact on the company's bottom line.

Lisa has been with Rosendin for 28 years, beginning as Tom Sorley's administrative assistant when he was a division manager. "Through the years I have been encouraged to see the number of women entering the construction field. I would like to see more women view the construction industry as a viable career choice. My most memorable moment in my career was about four years ago when the Training Department started Rosendin's Leadership Academy. We received extremely positive feedback from participants, which was deeply moving, and has helped us to grow the Leadership Academy into something that our employees want to be a part of."   

Stephanie began her career in construction 19 years ago as a journeyman electrician by trade and has been with Rosendin for 14 years . She wanted to be a lawyer,but she chose construction because of the ability to earn money while she was learning an electrical trade. "My favorite part of being the Corporate Lean Manager, is the ability to coach and mentor teams as they build themselves within the construction industry. The biggest challenge I have seen for women in this industry is the opportunity to be seen as leaders. When promotions and new positions are discussed, the pronouns used are typically male in nature. I would like to see this shift within the industry."

What advice would you give to other women just starting their career in the construction industry?
Keep learning and building new skills so you are available for your next opportunity. Do not question whether or not you can do it, but whether or not you want to do it. Don't be afraid to speak up and blow your own horn. There are lots of Type A personalities in construction and companies need to hear the unique perspectives that women can bring to situations.

What would you tell a 10 year old girl who said she wanted to do what you do when she grows up?
There are questions to consider: What part of the industry interests her? Does she like to build with her hands? Does she like to code? Does she like to build 3D models? The industry has so many different opportunities and there is something for everyone. You have options to go to college and get a project management degree, go through an apprentice program after high school and learn a trade, or join a company in an entry level position and work your way up.

Never Give Up - Alexis Bostic-Anthon

Sixteen years ago, Alexis was a single mother who wanted to go into merchandising or become a graphic artist, but could not afford to go to college. It was recommended to her that she look into an apprenticeship that would provide a career without debt. She did just that and began her career in the construction industry. Today, she is a Journeyman Electrician and about to celebrate her two year anniversary with Rosendin Electric.

"I am a tiny woman and always need a ladder and I'm not as strong as my male counterparts, this can be challenging; however, I never give up and always get the job done. The best part of the career path I have chosen is that the work I do impacts cities and many people's lives. Every project that my hands touch is an improvement or a change to a structure where people work or play."

Today, Alexis is married and was able to go back to school and complete her college degree. The construction industry has provided her with endless career opportunities whether she decides to stay in the field or not. "This industry is hard work, but it can be done no matter your size. For any girl or woman looking at a career in construction....go for it! But, if and when you are able, get your college degree because it only enhances the opportunities that are available to you."




Be The Best You - Robin Mitchell

Robin Mitchell received her degree in music performance playing the flute and worked as a make-up artist. She had dreams of becoming a musician or a performer, but soon discovered that life, as a starving musician with no insurance and hibernating in practice rooms was not what she wanted for her life.

In 2005, Robin had just started a career in real estate only to be welcomed to the beginning of a receding market and an economic recession. By 2007, she was paying to work. In the midst of bankruptcy and foreclosure, she knew she had to find a new career. In early 2008, she saw an ad in the paper for the West Virginia Women’s Work program. If accepted, the grant paid program allowed for her to attend three months of classes at 40 hours a week learning basic construction skills in a variety of trades followed by job placement assistance. She had heard terrible stories of being a women in construction and how she would not like it; but she applied, was accepted. Robin worked four part-time jobs while attending her classes just to stay afloat and sold most of her possessions just to stay afloat. Soon one of the best days of her life happened and she received her acceptance letter into the IBEW apprenticeship with Local 26.

"Being a woman in construction, I have found the Union to be a brotherhood of guys that treat me like a sister and really look out for me. I could not have asked for a better trade to be in. IBEW LOCAL 26 has made me feel at home. The biggest challenge I face in my career is my own natural tendency to think I have something to prove. All I can say to women starting out in this industry is to give your best. Forget that you are a woman on the job and do your job as a PERSON. Be a PERSON in your field and you will be treated as such. Know that no one’s opinion of you matters except your own. The only limitations you have on yourself are the ones you create. Don't let anyone replace your self-worth and be the best you!"

Today, Robin is a Fire Alarm Foreman/Technician and has been with Rosendin since 2013. She has 10 years of construction industry experience and is thankful for the career path she chose. She loves to cook, spend time with her two children, and travel - rappelling into the largest caves and rock faces in North America such as El Capitan at 2,500’ in Yosemite National Park and Golondrinas at 1050+’ in Mexico.

A Way of Life - Dora Clark

From a young age, Dora Clark knew that she wanted to work in the construction industry. Growing up on a reservation, with a household full of boys, construction was a way of life. "There wasn't much to do, so we built things." Today, Dora is a General Foreman and has been with Rosendin for almost three years.

"What has been most surprising being a woman working in this industry is having to prove my worth and showing that I am just as capable as the next person. This includes performing certain tasks such as bending 1” EMT and using a pony threader for rigid conduits and terminating 550 Kcmil conductors and high voltage terminations in switchgears. But, at the end of the day, my favorite part of the career I have chosen is the comradery between my co-workers and the everyday challenges we face. There is always something new to learn and to teach and these experiences make this job so rewarding."

What is your most memorable moment on the job?
Being shown appreciation and acknowledgement through the rewards we receive in the field.

What advice would you give to other women just starting their career in the construction industry?
This career is rewarding if you do not mind physical labor.




Establishing and Challenging Myself - Colleen Bristol

Rosendin celebrates our Women in Construction who are not in the field, but those behind the scenes. Meet Colleen Bristol, a BIM/SharePoint Administrator working on our BIM team in Tempe, Arizona. Five years ago, Colleen was a receptionist looking for a career field that would allow her to establish herself, provide continued growth opportunities, and challenge her along the way. She soon discovered that the construction field provided all of these.

What is your favorite part of the career you have chosen?
The favorite part of my job is being able to brainstorm and correspond with many different departments and personalities to find solutions to everyday problems. My ability to assist in the creation and implementation of tools and processes has been beyond rewarding. This is also because of the great rapport I have built with my colleagues. They have been as supportive to me as anyone in my career goals.

What is your most memorable moment on the job?
Joking around with upper management, it made me feel like a respected peer. 

"As a woman in this industry, my advice is to work hard and speak up. If you think something can be better then gather your facts, remain objective, and share your ideas. You may have the solution to the problem."




Making It Happen - Candace Barrier

"Growing up I envisioned myself becoming a writer or a child psychologist. Construction was not a choice or thought, but, through an evolution of circumstances, here I am. Construction has proven to be an exciting and dynamic industry that I am grateful to be a part of," said Candace Barrier, Operations Manager at Rosendin Electric. 

Twenty-eight years ago, while attending school in the evenings, Candace was recruited for an administrative position at an electrical contracting company. During her tenure with that company, she began taking on more responsibilities and worked hard to gain a deeper understanding of the electrical contracting industry. In time, she moved into Project Management and never looked back. Candace has been with Rosendin Electric for almost two years. 

What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in the construction industry? 
How often I am still the only woman in the room. 

What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction? 
Having to accept that being a woman comes into play at all. In a perfect world, a woman doing the job she was hired to do, would be seen no differently than a man of similar work experience and knowledge.

What is your favorite part of the career you have chosen? 
The fact that it is always changing and allowing me opportunity for growth. I have had the good fortune of being able to work with amazing individuals and have the utmost respect for each of their contributions to every project constructed. Having the opportunity to have a hand in the career growth of individuals has been the most rewarding byproduct to date. 

What is your most memorable moment on the job?
The owner of a company I had worked for asked me, “Do you ever stand back and realize how far you’ve come? You started at the front desk and now 95% of the people in our company work for you. You should be really proud of yourself.”

"To women just beginning their career in this industry, be confident in your own voice. Speak up, but remember to take twice as much time to listen, step back, and reflect on the contributions of others in the room.  Always, always, always take advantage of any opportunity to learn more. Make it happen!"

A Constructing Power Duo - Melissa Walling & Jeannie Clements

Project Managers, Melissa Walling and Jeannie Clements, are the constructing power duo on the El Camino Hospital Integrated Medical Office Building (MOB) in Silicon Valley, CA. The seven-story MOB will include space for hospital support, outpatient servies, and medical offices for doctors. 

Growing up, Jeannie wanted to be an Oceanographer or have a career involving the ocean and ocean life. She started her career as an Construction Electrician with the Navy Seabeees (NMCB 133 '93-'98) where she developed the "Can Do' mentality that she lives by. Now with 15 years of construction industry experience, she has been a part of the Rosendin family for over 11 years.

"The biggest challenge of working in this industry is gaining acceptance from internal and external customers because I am a woman. I have to prove to them that I have the experience, knowledge, and know-how to accomplish project goals and build relationships. Although it's a challenge, the most surprising part is how accepting my team members are of me. Every day in this industry is different than the one before and that's my favorite part! I thrive off of challenges and watching things come to fruition. There are two moments that stick out in my career, the first was being selected to the Leadership Academy and the second was proudly mentoring Melissa Walling and watching her grow into a great project manager with Rosendin."

What advice would you give to other women just starting their career in the construction industry?
Be open minded! Don’t say no to new challenges; be willing to take them on. These challenges will help you learn and grow in the industry. You will fail sometimes; but learn from these failures and move forward. Stick with it! Reach for the stars and you’ll get there, just be patient...learning and growing takes time.


Melissa thought she wanted to be a nutritionist, until a friend of hers knew of an open position in the construction industry, which seemed fitting since the majority of her family worked in the industry. She applied and was hired. It has been 13 years since her first day and 11 years as part of Rosendin Electric.

"Working in construction is challenging in itself no matter who you are. I would say as a woman, I have experienced stereotyping; however, this quickly goes away once I get on a job and my team(s) get to know me. One of the greatest things about this industry is that you never stop learning and you are always challenged. I have been fortunate in my career to have worked and currently work with some great people on my teams."

What advice would you give to other women just starting their career in the construction industry?
Nothing is out of reach. Stay determined in working towards your goals and always communicate. Communication is the key to working with and on a team.

What would you tell a 10 year old girl who said she wanted to do what you do when she grows up?
Don’t lose sight of the goals you are trying to achieve. Always remain confident and in charge!

"My Mom Built That" - Angie Hart

Angie Hart, VPTwenty-eight years ago, Angie came to Rosendin Electric on a temporary call to be the receptionist. It didn't take long for her to discover that she really liked the people and the construction industry.

Angie rose through Rosendin's operations, first as a management assistant, then a promotion to Division Manager in 2007, rising to Director of Operations in 2016, and now a Vice President working out of the Corporate Office in San Jose, CA. Angie's hands on approach and attention to detail has helped the company solidify its market position in Silicon Valley and has helped Rosendin develop a foundation of repeat customers. She is invaluable both in her dedication and commitment to customer service.  

"As a woman working in construction, the first impression from others is that you do not know anything; that is until you speak. I have faced many challenges in my career with perhaps the biggest one being an assertive person and showing strength without coming across as an 'overly aggressive woman.' I truly enjoy developing and mentoring others. I would encourage women who are just starting out in this industry to know your stuff and to be persistent and confident. The opportunities you will have are endless. I also love hearing my children tell their friends, MY MOM BUILT THAT!”




Be Unforgettable - Ashlie Paris

Ashlie ParisNew to the construction industry, Ashlie began her career as a general industry safety intern and was hired by Rosendin as a Safety Coordinator in 2017.

"In my role as a safety coordinator, my job is never the same day in and day out. There is always something new that I face, questions I don’t have answers too, and really have to think outside the box. An advantage to this career is that I can switch fields if I choose to do so. I can go to general industry, insurance, government, or private sector. I don't have to leave the construction industry to do something different."

What advice would you give to other women just starting their career in the construction industry?
Everything you do as a woman will be perceived on a much greater scale than most men in the industry. You walk around the project site, everyone will notice you. Voice your opinion in a meeting, they will remember. Tell them no, they won’t forget. Let your emotions show, everyone will find out about it.

What would you tell a 10 year old girl who said she wanted to do what you do when she grows up?
Learn how to adapt, beat the fear of asking questions for whatever reason you may have. Learn how to stand your ground, otherwise, when you give the construction industry an inch, it will try its hardest to take a mile from you.

Construction Chose Me - Michelle Otley

Michelle OtleyMichelle always wanted to be a teacher and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. When her significant other, at the time, was trying to get a position with a company he had interned with in Arizona, Michelle didn't want to committ to a classroom with the possibility that she would be leaving in the middle of the year. She began doing secretarial temp work and temped for a surveyor and general contractor. Michelle enjoyed the work she was doing in construction and the general contractor ended up directly hiring her. Construction became her career path and after 12 years in the industry, Michelle started with Rosendin Electric in 2014 and today is a project manager. Michelle spends her free time with her 18 month old son and family and participating in paint or cake nights with friends.

What has been the most surprising part of being a woman in the construction industry?
While I am encountering more women in the field, I still think we are, surprisingly, still underrepresented in the industry.

What is your favorite part of the career you have chosen?
Every day is a new adventure. No matter how well-planned you think something is, chances are that an unexpected variable will arise that you need to conquer quickly to move forward.

"In male-dominated fields, you have to prove yourself to new people before you are recognized for your talents. Be confident in your abilities and don't be afraid to speak up."