I Build America – Kentucky is dedicated to celebrating the women of construction. Women are a vital part of our industry, and there are female leaders at all levels of construction work. From foreman to company owners and executives, construction wouldn’t be the industry it is without its female employees. Join us and our partners in celebrating the success of women within your own company and across the nation during National Women in Construction Week 2023.
Name: Abby S.
Title/Position: Maintenance Manager
Years working in construction: 6
What was your path to a career in construction?
Going into my senior year of high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue in college, but knew I enjoyed science and math. That summer, I was invited to workshops for Women in Engineering through the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering. Through these workshops, I was exposed to five different kinds of engineering. For the Mining Engineering workshop, we went to UK’s Explosives Research Facilities in an underground mine in Georgetown, KY. We worked with their Explosives Research Team (UKERT) to detonate ten different explosions with ten different kinds of explosives. It was then that I thought yeah, I could blow stuff up for the rest of my life.
I went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering at the University of Kentucky. While there, I did four summer internships with Hinkle Contracting and worked part-time through my last semester of school before joining the Hinkle Team full-time in January 2021. While full-time, I have spent time in roles such as the Underground Foreman at Bourbon Limestone, and Operational Services Maintenance Manager (current).
What do you like most about working in construction?
I like that things are different every day, and I’m always learning something new. I get a good balance of field work and office work, which keeps things fun and interesting.
What changes have you seen for women in construction over the course of your career?
I’m still just starting out in my own career, but the longer I’m around, the more women I meet. I’ve seen the versatility in positions within the industry and how so many women are crucial in day-to day operations. I’m excited to see the role of women keep expanding into more parts of the industry.
If you were to give young women (high schoolers) advice about beginning a career in construction, what would you say?
This industry is for everyone. It is so versatile and needs all kinds of careers to function. Anyone can be part of it – engineers, accountants, equipment operators, salespeople – you name it.
Get hands on as much as you can. The best way to find out if you are interested in a career in construction is to try it. Make connections and get on-site, try an internship, go into a trade. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because that is where you will grow and learn!