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Women In Construction

This issue of Concrete Facts focuses on a growing trend in the building industry – the increasing role of women in the operation and management of construction businesses. While the trend may be on the increase in other construction businesses, no where is it as prevalent as it is in the residential foundation contractor business.

Women are not just involved in the stereotypical roles of secretary and receptionist, they have key positions in nearly all levels of management and operations. There are many areas in which women are excelling in the construction world, areas such as accounting, human relations, scheduling, marketing, design, and purchasing, to mention a few.

While “outsiders” may be on the payroll, in many instances, the key women are another cog in the family run business, taking on roles that they may be better suited for than their spouses. More women attend college than did 30 years ago, bringing valuable skills to the company and family. Even without college education, many skills possessed by women, either learned or inherent, can be adapted to the construction world.

The male may decide which new pump or conveyor he wants to buy, but it could be the female (or spouse) who has the yea or nay decision. To make this type of decision, the person in the chief financial officer role must have sound economic reasoning and understand the affect their decisions have on the business.

Because many of the females involved in CFA businesses are family members (or extended family members including in-laws), family dynamics can also come into play. While business problems may be discussed at home, family problems must be kept out of the business environment. Sounds simple, but try it sometime. The relationships in home life are often quite different than those in business. Traditional roles in the home might be reversed in the business world. It can be much harder saying no to your spouse, son, or sometimes father, than an unrelated employee.

Working as a female in a male world presents special challenges. Females are more likely to be “put to the test” than males in a similar role by those outside the company. Because of this they must be, and typically are, well-prepared to answer detailed questions and solve complex problems relating to the business. An unfortunate reality is that females must typically be more qualified than a male to fill a position in a traditionally male environment.

In spite of the potential pitfalls and problems, the number and importance of females in the Association is on the increase. This issue of Concrete Facts profiles eight women in the CFA. All of these females occupy key roles in the company. The next time you need a motivated and qualified employee, consider the females in your family and company for the position.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us