The construction industry has designated Women in Construction Week as a time to recognize, inspire, and congratulate hardworking, talented women in a typically male-dominated field. We at Caliente Construction are active supporters of this mission. We want to take a moment to appreciate, inspire, and congratulate the women making a difference in the A/E/C industry. In honor of Women in Construction Week, we wanted to hear personal experiences from women at our company.
Meet LeAnn Close, Assistant Project Manager
LeAnn has worked in the industry for 24 years and with Caliente for 12 years. She joined Caliente as a project engineer and has been an assistant project manager with Caliente for five years.
What she has to say:
What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
I have worked on hundreds of projects in the 24 years I have been in the construction business. There have been two projects that I have been especially proud to be a part of: Sojourner Center New Education Center & Donation Center in Phoenix, AZ, and Friends for Life Animal Center in Gilbert, AZ. At Sojourner, I was a part of building two new buildings where the women who live there could learn new skills and build confidence in themselves to keep their lives moving forward on a better path for themselves and their children. Friends For Life is a no-kill shelter in Gilbert that was running out of a bank of old houses near downtown Gilbert. They had long outgrown these houses, and they needed repairs and updates. After many years of fundraising and grant writing, their new building finally came to fruition, and it was such an honor to be a part of making their dream a reality.
What are the advantages of being a woman in construction?
Women are traditionally better multi-taskers, are detail-oriented and analytical, and communicate more effectively. All of these combined attributes make women very successful in construction. For me, I love taking on problems and finding solutions.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?
College does not prepare you for the real boots-on-the-ground work, so find a mentor from the office and field perspectives and be eager to learn from both of them. Never be afraid to make mistakes and to ask questions. With hard work and determination, the growth opportunities are limitless.
What is the best part of your job?
I have a few things that I enjoy, but problem-solving and being a part of the solution, the many opportunities to learn something new or different every day, and taking a set of plans and a client’s dream and making it a reality are my top three.
How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?
Making women more aware of the opportunities that construction can offer, and honestly, it needs to start in the younger years. Parents, especially mothers in the construction business, should bring their daughters to work and show them that this is an industry for all genders. Give girls building blocks, Legos, modeling clay, sketch pads, etc., to play with so they can use their imagination and hands to be creative and build things. Tell them that it’s okay to get your hands dirty. Put no limits on them and tell them they can do anything they want if they have passion, motivation, and determination to succeed.
What makes you proud of working at Caliente Construction?
I have been with Caliente Construction for more than 12 years. I sought out Caliente because the company is owned by a woman, and delving into Lorraine’s story was inspiring. She was thrust into an industry that was not as women-friendly as it is now after one of the most tragic circumstances. She persevered through adversity and built a successful and sustaining business, even during the economic ups and downs we have experienced over the last 10-plus years.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
The construction industry has become a workforce sector that has become more equal in pay between men and women. Additionally, construction companies are now putting women in management and leadership roles more than ever.
Caliente Construction would like to congratulate all the women in construction. We’ve been in business for over 31 years and are thrilled to be part of a world acknowledging women’s incredible capabilities in this and virtually every other industry and occupation. We celebrate Women in Construction week with great pride, particularly the women at Caliente Construction. Congratulations on your outstanding contributions and accomplishments throughout your professional careers!
And to all women in our industry, partners, and employees—Thank You! As you continue to advance, we are committed to supporting you at every level this week and for years to come.