Women in Construction Week is an annual event that celebrates and promotes the role of women in the construction industry. As part of the celebration, we are spotlighting a few P. Agnes women. By sharing their stories, we hope to educate and inspire women about the possibilities available to them within the construction industry.
Danielle Milner, Assistant Project Manager
What is your role at P. Agnes? What is the best part of your job? I’m an Assistant Project Manager at P. Agnes. The best part of being in my role is learning from other Project Managers and being a part of so many different types of projects from hospitals to universities.
Why did you choose a career in construction? My career in construction actually began on a whim. Being an accounting major, you’re drilled with the “be a CPA or Auditor or Tax Accountant.” I tried my hand at the traditional careers and honestly, it was a wakeup call on what I didn’t want my life to be. The hardest part was trying to find a new direction. Construction has been a huge part of my life as my dad has been a Sheetmetal worker since he was 18. He gave me the idea of trying out estimating to see if I could find a fit in the industry. Fast forward four years, and here I am at P. Agnes!
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry? I think what makes me the proudest of being in this industry is being able to look back at when I first started to where I am now and see a vast difference in the best way possible. I have gained far more knowledge and experience than I imagined I would and continue to grow each day.
How can the construction industry attract more women into its workforce? The construction industry could attract more women simply through recruitment. Personally, I did not know of all the different positions a person could hold in the industry that is not on the physical labor side. I wished I had seen more construction companies at career fairs to spread the word and encourage the industry more.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about a career in construction? How would you prepare them for the industry? Do not fear questions or the feeling of not knowing. Ask anyone and everyone questions when you have them: coworkers, superintendents, subcontractors, etc. The biggest assets you can have in this industry are the abilities to ask questions, listen, and learn.
Kelly Briese, Marketing Manager
What is your role at P. Agnes? What is the best part of your job? I serve as the Marketing Manager at P. Agnes where I’m responsible for the internal and external marketing and communications efforts of our organization. My job also allows me to be involved in so many various activities from preparing presentations to designing advertisements to attending groundbreaking ceremonies.
The best part about my job is that I’m able to see a project evolve from the RFP stage all the way to construction completion. When putting together our proposal submissions, I get to be creative in crafting our responses while also collaborating with various team members within P. Agnes.
Why did you choose a career in construction? Before I joined P. Agnes, I was at an engineering firm where I learned a lot about the ins and outs within engineering, architecture, and construction. With that experience under my belt, I wanted to try something new, while staying within the AEC realm, and for me that was construction. What really drew me to construction was being able to see a project come to life. I love when I’m walking or driving around the city, and I can point out the buildings we’ve constructed.
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry? I’m proud to work in the construction industry because I’m able to see firsthand how the work we do impacts the community around us. Much of our work is within the healthcare and academic markets, and it’s amazing how our construction projects enable better facilities for individuals to receive health care, or state-of-the-art learning spaces for students to receive their education.
How can the construction industry attract more women into its workforce? If someone had said to me back in college that I would be working for a construction management firm in the future, I would’ve thought they were lying. When it comes to construction, I think people automatically assume you need to have the skills to build a building, when in reality there is a lot more that goes into it, and a wide range of opportunities available.
In order to attract more women into the workforce, I think the construction industry as a whole needs to continue amplifying and promoting the various roles and opportunities that are available. Of course, Women in Construction Week is a great initiative to help do so!
What advice would you give to other women thinking about a career in construction? How would you prepare them for the industry? My advice would be to try out various roles within the industry if you’re unsure of where you fit in. There is room for everyone in this industry, whether you’re a numbers person, a writer, etc. That’s especially where I think networking and mentoring come in and play a big role. The industry is full of people who want to see you succeed, so be curious and ask questions.
Sue Harkins, Executive Assistant
What is your role at P. Agnes? What is the best part of your job? I serve as an Executive Assistant to our CEO, Pat Pasquariello. I’m also involved with a variety of other responsibilities including working with Project Executives/ Project Managers/Assistant Project Managers, providing support on administrative and project-based duties such as scheduling meetings, managing office supply inventory, obtaining building permits, job site set ups, and more.
My job takes a lot of coordination and problem-solving, but the best part is every day is truly something different.
Why did you choose a career in construction? I’ve been in the construction industry for 30 years, however it was never a career path I sought out, it found me. I started my career working for a subcontractor before coming to P. Agnes. It’s safe to say I’m in this industry for the long-haul!
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry? Seeing projects from the beginning inception to the completion of the finish product.
How can the construction industry attract more women into its workforce? Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships. There are many career opportunities for women to pursue in construction, and through these types of programs, women can get a better understanding of where their skills can fit and what interests them.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about a career in construction? How would you prepare them for the industry? Don’t be intimidated or take anything personally. Be confident in your abilities! Listen and learn, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Maddie Carver, Associate Vice President of Business Development
What is your role at P. Agnes? What is the best part of your job? I am the Associate Vice President of Business Development. The best part of my job is constantly meeting new people, making relationships, understanding what projects may be on the horizon, and finding a way to get P. Agnes a seat at the table. It’s fun to try to “connect the dots” and join our company together with an end user who is really in need of our expertise and know-how. I love the challenge of this type of work!
Why did you choose a career in construction? In a way, it chose me! I never thought of myself as someone who would work in construction but it’s an industry that is constantly evolving and changing. Innovation has never been in higher demand. I’m excited about the life-science boom here in Philadelphia and our industry is at the helm of creating spaces where these incredible contributions to humanity are researched, created, and produced.
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry? We create the structures where some of the most important or impactful moments of people’s lives take place. We build hospitals where babies are brought into the world and also where people take their last breaths. We create the buildings where people earn degrees, complete ground-breaking research, or write a best seller! The structures we build are incredibly important to the humans who inhabit them. That makes me very proud.
How can the construction industry attract more women into its workforce? I think more women need to hear the message that construction is a great option for them. Sure, it is traditionally a male dominated industry. However, women are talented multi-taskers, women possess inherent attention to detail, and women are team players. These attributes that come to mind about most of the women I know are invaluable on any job-site or in any office. Women run the world!
What advice would you give to other women thinking about a career in construction? How would you prepare them for the industry? Be yourself! Don’t try to fit into any “mold” of what you think you need to be to be successful in the construction industry. It’s OK to be vulnerable, it’s OK to not know everything, and it’s OK to assert yourself and communicate your ideas. If you believe in yourself and trust your gut, you will be extremely successful in this space.