Women in Construction Week: Day 6 | Kristen Pressimone
It’s day 6 of #WICWweek2021 and today’s feature is Kristen Pressimone, Project Manager at Chesapeake Contracting Group. Kristen is the epitome of hard work paying off – starting as CCG’s receptionist back in 2013 and working her way up the ladder, being promoted six times until landing at Project Manager in 2019. When asked what lead to her career path, Kristen explains, “I truly loved the business. While there is a system to the way we work, the subcontractors, the clients, the projects and the locations are always different so there’s stability but enough variation to keep things interesting. And besides that, who doesn’t want to build the world?” We couldn’t agree more!
1. What led you to choose construction as your career path?
Honestly, I was just looking to start in any company where I had room to grow. But after starting at CCG as a receptionist and learning what General Contracting was all about, I truly loved the business. While there is a system to the way we work, the subcontractors, the clients, the projects, the locations are always different so there’s stability but enough variation to keep things interesting. And besides that, who doesn’t want to build the world?
2. Who inspires you and why?
I am most inspired by the act of construction. A photo of a jobsite on Day 1 could be just a piece of land and at the end you have a functioning car dealership that now created jobs for 100 people. Or doing a renovation where you’ve gutted a building and gave them an entirely updated and more functional space. The journey and progress is fascinating and the end result is always a reward.
3. What do you like most about being a Project Manager?
I particularly like the freedom of running a project the way I like. Of course there are parameters and deadlines that need to be adhered to but there are a substantial amount of decisions and responsibilities in this position and I need to know everything. That is how I prefer it and with that information, I can make the best decisions for the project.
4. What advice would you give a young woman who's considering entering into construction?
You can do it! There aren’t many women on the project management side of general contracting but I think it’s because they don’t know how the demands of this job are extremely suited for women. They will have to work hard, be a team player and communicate well. Ask questions and be humble. Know you can do it and that everyone around you is supporting you.
5. What is your most memorable moment working in construction?
There have been a million memorable moments. Working onsite when I was a PE/APM at one of our multifamily jobs created such a close bond between our team as that job was about a year and a half long. Those people are my family now. I think my most memorable moment though was when I was promoted to Project Manager. After I started at CCG and made up my mind that I wanted that position, I knew I was years and several positions away from getting it and I never waivered. That was my 5th promotion/6th position at CCG and was a huge milestone for me.
6. What is your favorite or most challenging project you have worked on or been a part of?
The multifamily job where I worked onsite for about a year and half was a new ground-up residential development in Bel Air, MD. It was both my favorite and most challenging. We had some turnover issues within our team and were all working overtime most of the time. The job also had a lot of parameters to work within and we had some difficult inspectors. On the flip side, we turned over 356 apartments and 9 buildings with complete sitework and amenities and it was beautiful and won some awards. In that timeframe, I was able to manage quite a bit of the work on my own and was promoted from PE to APM from my work on that job.
7. What traits does a person need to be successful in the construction industry?
You have to be a hard worker. It is not a punch-in, punch-out type of job. You have to do what it takes to get the job done. Being a good communicator and a team player are very important also as you will never accomplish anything solely on your own. There are so many players involved in this type of work. Time management is also huge as there are daily deadlines. And ask questions. There is so much to learn and know and construction is ever-changing.