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: Joetta E.
Company: The Allen Company, Inc.
Title/Position: Construction Field Crew Foreman
Years in Construction: 45 years
What was your path to a career in construction?
I started working for N.H. Stone, Inc. in 1978 doing seeding, right-of-way fencing, highway signs, and guardrail. My husband and I started working together at that time. I was a laborer when the owner of the company asked me if I was interested in running a crew doing whatever they needed done since I had been working there for a while and had experience. Years passed and overall I spent a total of 33 years with N.H. Stone, Inc. My next journey I asked Jeff Monohan for a job at the Allen Company, and he hired me as a crew foreman. When hired, I brought my whole crew with me from N.H. Stone, all experienced in the kind of work that Allen Company would normally usually hire a subcontractor. My joining Allen Company has allowed them to become KYTC prequalified in new areas work, seeding, fencing, and be more competitive.
What do you like most about working in construction?
I like the part of being able to see how a road is built from the beginning to the end. The rewarding part of my job is seeing the different work I learned over the years coming together for the project, like clearing right-of-way, road grading, laying pipe, erosion control, concrete work, and putting rock down and getting ready to put the blacktop down to finish the road. Another rewarding part of my job is working through problem-solving issues that come up along the way, and taking pride in what we do.
Have you seen changes for women in construction over the course of your career?
Yes, I have seen a change in the opportunities for women in construction. When I started in construction it was not easy for women to get a job because most didn’t feel women were strong enough or capable of doing the kind of hard construction work. I was a woman in a man’s world. Now they give women opportunities to perform tasks that before they only thought a man could do such as heavy equipment operating, being a foreman and leading projects.
If you were to give young women (high schoolers) advice about beginning a career in construction, what would you say?
The advice that I would give young women in high school would be to follow your dreams. Construction like many other careers has its pros and cons. It is tough to be in a male dominated field but don’t let that stop you. There are more women in construction than ever before. Being a woman in construction, you’ll be open to many great opportunities that make all the hard work completely worth it.