Women in Construction Week 2017

Women in Construction (WIC) Week is upon us once again!  This week-long celebration is a yearly acknowledgement of the many contributions of women to the AEC industry, as well as a time to raise awareness of the various opportunities available to women within the industry.

Arden Building Companies is proud to have a diverse group of women working in wide variety of roles, from pipefitting, to sales, to estimating, and accounting.

As part of our WIC Week celebration, we asked members of our team to share their experiences as a woman in construction and offer advice for other women/young girls who are thinking about a career within the industry.  We’ll be sharing these stories throughout the week.

To kick things off, Amanda Romano, a second-year pipefitter apprentice with Arden Engineering Constructors and UA Local 51 of Rhode Island, shares her story.

How and why did you get into the industry?

I was looking for a job in Rhode Island that involved welding. I had a small background in jewelry making but I thought welding would be a useful medium to learn/know.

 What’s your current role?  What does a day in your life look like?

I am a 2nd year pipefitting apprentice. As an apprentice, I’ll typically arrive at the job site and set up the proper tools and equipment needed for the daily task or project. Every day is different though, you can have crane days where you are bringing material in, to vigorous work days where you hauling pipe into the air. However, class two nights a week is always a definite. 

 How long have you been working within the industry/for Arden Building Companies?

 This is my first full year working for Arden.

 What challenges do you see associated with being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?

 There are a few challenges, I will admit. For example, feeling like you’re not always as strong as the males can put a damper on your confidence. However,  I think women in the workplace bring strength to other aspects, like the communication, organization, and safety of a job. 

 What is the most rewarding part of your job?

 I think the most rewarding part of my job is learning new things everyday. Coming into the trade I wasn’t ‘handy’ or experienced with the types of tools I currently use daily. I’ve learned a lot and everyone has been patient and happy to teach me. 

 Why do you think so few women are attracted to the field?  Ideas for how to change that?

 It isn’t the most glamorous job and working with all men is slightly daunting. But everyone I’ve worked with (all men) have been kind and willing to teach. I think young girls are never exposed to the idea of being a construction worker.  There is some sexism prevalent but I believe new generations will change that, if they are exposed to the opportunity. 

 What advice do you have for women/young girls thinking about a career in construction?

Ever since I was an oyster farmer, I’ve known I loved labor intensive jobs. If you are a hands-on worker, like getting dirty over dressed up, and want a stable income, this is good career. It’s strenuous but you’ll become stronger!