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‘Make a Conscious Effort’ to Engage Young Women in Construction Careers

Kahua is highlighting some of our customers, partners and employees for Women in Construction Week 2022. Today, we talk to Monica Rizzo, who is a Project Administration Manager with BPGS in Wilmington, Delaware. 

Please share your education and work history.
My career in construction started back in 2000 when I was hired by Gilbane Building Company as an administrative assistant. Back then, the current company I worked for, The Buccini/Pollin Group, didn’t have a construction division so it hired Gilbane as the construction management company for its building renovations. I worked at Gilbane for five years learning as much as I could before I did a short stint at a local construction management company where I really started to get involved with construction software. In 2006, I made it official with The Buccini/Pollin Group and joined its construction division, BPGS Construction LLC.  Joining BPGS was one of the best decisions I have ever made! 

What was the thing that sparked your interest in construction?
When I first started in the construction industry, I don’t think I really understood what it would be like. I just thought it would be a job. But once I got here, I was completely amazed by the process. The life of a project is such an interesting thing to be a part of, from design, buy out, construction, closeout and turnover. There are so many different moving parts that need to be wrangled in and coordinated to have a project come together. Now, I can’t imagine being in any other industry than construction. 

Are you seeing more women entering this field? How has that changed since you started in it?
Something I have noticed in the past 20 years is that there are more women, in many different positions, within this field. Almost one-third of the employees at my company are women, with some departments solely run by women. There are also more women-owned businesses in the trades, which is promising and exciting to see.   

With the lack of tradespeople, how can we encourage women to consider positions in the construction industry?
I think this needs to start at a high school level. In the past, young women were never the target demographic for vocational schools that focused heavily on the trades. I think there needs to be a conscious effort to make young women aware of the different career paths that are out there within the trades.  

How did it feel when you moved into a leadership position for the first time?
My role as Project Administration Manager was a position that was created for me, so needless to say I was excited. I was given an outline of what was expected of the position, but I got to run with it and make it my own.   

How are you mentoring or helping other women advance in their construction careers?
I am extremely lucky with the project coordinator team that I work with because we all work so well together. Each one of us has had a unique experience on a project, and we end up collaborating, mentoring and learning from each other. We collectively take on tasks that help advance our roles as a whole within the company.