Next up for Women in Construction Week is Alyssa Kane, Senior Estimator at Chesapeake Contracting Group. Alyssa was inspired early on in her career by a group of colleagues who took the time to help her learn the ins and outs of the construction world. “Their knowledge, patience, and willingness to help me grow has given me to the passion I now have for sharing that same knowledge with others,” Alyssa explains. As a senior level Estimator, Alyssa is able to return the favor to the CCG pre-construction department, providing guidance and sharing her years of experience with entry level team members. Attention to detail, critical thinking, and the ability to be a team player are the three main attributes that Alyssa believes are necessary to survive and thrive in this industry. “The percentage of women employees in the construction industry is hovering right around 10%, let’s keep increasing that number.” CCG is on a mission to close that gap!
- What led you to choose construction as your career path?
I have always been interested in how things are put together for as long as I can remember, I used to get in trouble as a child for almost immediately dismantling any toy I was given. I majored in Architecture in college, and in my Junior year we were given an assignment to visit and document progress on a construction site. It was this class that fully cemented I was more interested in the construction side than the design side.
- Who inspires you and why?
Early in my career I had the privilege of working with a group of people who took the time to help teach me the right, and wrong, way to do my job. Their knowledge, patience, and willingness to help me grow has given me to the passion I now have for sharing that same knowledge with others. I am forever grateful for their support and influence on my career.
- What do you like most about being a Senior Estimator?
The teaching aspect that comes with a senior-level position. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge at all levels, from teaching what Estimating is and what Estimators do, to helping those within the department who are less experienced in certain areas.
- What advice would you give a young woman who's considering entering into construction?
Do it. Women are slowly but steadily joining the construction industry in all avenues and even though this is still a predominantly male-driven field, there is nothing that our gender prevents us from doing. If you have any interest at all, I urge you to look into construction as a viable career path, there are many opportunities, from accounting to design to development to field operations. The percentage of women employees in the construction industry is hovering right around 10%, let’s keep increasing that number.
- What is your most memorable moment working in construction?
I had worked for several years on a project that was over-budget. There were two expensive façade features that the building that the Owner would not entertain removing, so months were spent trying to come up with ways to keep the look of the feature but build it at a much more reasonable cost. Eventually a solution was found, a contract agreement was reached, and the project was started and completed. This is my most memorable moment because it was the first time I was able to look at a completed building, point to something on it, and say “I helped make that happen.”
- What is your favorite or most challenging project you have worked on or been a part of?
It has to be a relatively recent one that I worked on for a large chunk of 2020. It was a project for a repeat client that unfortunately came in significantly over budget, and all parties wanted nothing more than getting back to budget. That process involved finding, pricing, and tracking 150-200 Value Engineering items, some of them with various options, and the many resulting Owner/Architect/Contractor meetings to discuss those items. It’s one of my favorite projects because it’s a great example of all parties working together to reach the same goal, and if that hadn’t been the case the project wouldn’t have moved forward.
- What traits does a person need to be successful in the construction industry?
There are three main attributes I feel are necessary to survive and thrive in Construction. Attention to detail, critical thinking, and the ability to be a team player/be flexible. Ultimately, everyone on a project is working towards the same goal: delivering it on time, at/under budget, and while making a profit. These three professional qualities help to come up with solutions to unforeseen problems in a way that minimize risk and hopefully maximize reward for all involved.