Women in Construction Week 2022
To celebrate 2022’s Women in Construction Week, we sat down with three women at Cranshaw to get to know what brought them to construction, what makes them stay, and how they would encourage other women interested in the profession.
Within this past year, Riane Ragno shifted from an Assistant Estimating Coordinator to being the firm’s first in-house Diversity and Workforce Coordinator. Her passion for advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) dates back to her college days at Tufts University where she participated in the First Generation, QuestBridge and other mentoring programs aimed at elevating the school’s diversity and inclusion efforts. “The world is changing and so is the construction industry. People are starting to realize just how important DEI is in all facets of life, and I’m so excited and proud to be a part of this important step in the construction industry.” Riane did not envision herself in the construction industry, but can no longer imagine herself not participating in such a “growing, changing, and challenging career.” Riane credits her mom for pushing her to learn whatever she could and open up her own paths and opportunities. “She’s always been my source of empowerment, encouragement and inspiration.” Riane goes on to attribute a supportive culture at Cranshaw for keeping her in the construction industry. “Every single person I’ve met within my firm has done nothing but challenge me, congratulate me, and give me opportunities I didn’t even know were out there.” Riane encourages other women to enter the construction field. She admits that it is not always easy operating in a male-dominated profession but that you can and must find “good mentors who create a positive, encouraging environment” that allow you to grow and learn in the industry. She adds that women in construction should remember that they are not alone and should set the standards for their own success.
Sandra Martinez is an Assistant Superintendent on the 7INK project in Boston which opens this spring. She says some of the best advice she got when entering the profession was to take time to “find and give the right responses.” Her role on the jobsite requires answering inquiries all day, many of them requiring urgent responses, which can quickly spiral into “running around like a headless chicken.” As she’s learned, by telling people that you need to look into their question and get back to them, you draw better conclusions. She encourages women not to be intimidated by the construction industry. “You can and will learn.” She advocates asking a lot of questions about drawings, buyouts, installations, and inspections, and drawing from those around you. She credits the superintendents she has worked with for giving her the motivation to learn and develop her career. “I am grateful and empowered by the Cranshaw team and how they’ve helped me grow in this industry.”
Like many of National Development professionals, Laura Campbell, Vice President of Risk Management, Insurance is a key to keeping Cranshaw and its business operations working smoothly. Laura started her career in a construction trailer (with no plumbing!) on a multi-story residential construction site. As a jobsite clerk, she learned the paperwork side of construction management, including processing delivery slips against invoices and processing payments. She also learned not to park too close to the site work, especially when it was a ledge blasting day! Laura loves a challenge and change in her career. What drew her to construction was “the idea of a project that had a beginning and an end and grew along the way – always changing and never stagnant.” What keeps Laura in the profession are the people and the collaborative nature of the industry. “Unlike other individualistic professions and due to the collaborative nature of the industry, I have found those who work in construction tend to be creative and work as a team.” She credits her time in the profession as being an asset to her now-grown daughters and their own career ambitions believing, “I don’t dismiss the fact that given they saw me work in the construction industry my entire professional life has impacted their work ethics.”
These three professionals are in different roles and at different career stages, but all had a consistent message: that construction can be and is a rewarding profession for women. They advocated coming to the industry with inquisitiveness and a willingness to ask questions. A key to remaining in the profession is not getting isolated and surrounding yourself with supportive people from whom you can learn. Combining that with a strong work ethic allows women to pave their way to a rewarding career in the ever-evolving construction industry.