It’s Women in Construction Week! I Build America – Kentucky is taking the opportunity to share the stories of the women across the state who make up our great industry. The stories of these women show the diverse backgrounds, interests, skills, and talents that are part of the work we do–and we encourage more women of all ages and interests to consider careers in construction.
You can follow along as the nation celebrates its female construction workforce. Check out the hashtag #WICWeek2022 and #IBuildAmericaKY!
The Women of Kentucky’s Workforce: Meet Jessica
Name: Jessica Ernst
Position: Parts Operations Manager
Company: Boyd Company
Years Working In Construction:
I have been with Boyd Company for seven years, working with Parts Inventory and now Parts Operations. Previous to working at Boyd, I had been exposed to farm machinery, automotive repair and home building construction but had no career experience in the Heavy Equipment industry. This personal experience encouraged me to consider a position with Boyd that allowed me to apply my skills to the construction and heavy equipment industry. In my time at Boyd I found that I enjoy my work and still feel like a kid in awe of the machines when I arrive at our warehouses.
In your experience, what do women bring to the construction industry?
Women are as much a part of the construction experience as anyone. Encouraging women in the construction industry brings balance and ensures that the industry reflects those who benefit from construction, which is all of us.
In what ways does your company support more women joining the industry?
Support for women comes from the highest levels of the company. Women are encouraged to participate in trainings and seminars to help foster growth and development. Our leadership supports women in the industry by challenging the mindset that construction knowledge and expertise are gender exclusive. This culture leads to women within the company promoting Boyd and the industry to women who may not otherwise be involved. This goes beyond the bounds of the company and becomes part of everyday life outside of work.
What do you like most about working in construction?
I enjoy solving problems that often have larger implications and real-world results. One machine can impact so many others on a job site that can bring an entire operation to a halt, whether it be road construction, mining operations, or the engine on a barge. My work reinforces the idea that we are all connected through construction and heavy equipment. I know my role can have a direct impact on the timeliness of work being completed and effects the public, even beyond Boyd customers.
If you were to give young women (high schoolers) advice about beginning a career in construction, what would you say?
Follow your interests and don’t be afraid to try something new, it may grow into a career! I have always been intrigued by how machinery works and what these machines are capable of but never thought I would be working in the industry. The construction industry is more than meets the eye, there are so many ways to be involved that can become a career you can be proud of!