Safety Director Kathi Dobson has worked for Alberici since 1999 and is a proud member of the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC). To mark NAWIC’s annual Women in Construction week, celebrated during the first week in March, we asked Kathi to reflect on her career and the role of women in the construction industry.
1. What led you to the construction industry/how did you get involved in the construction industry?
I began my career as a nurse in a hospital-based setting. Later, I moved into a manufacturing setting as an Occupational Health Nurse where I was responsible for managing injuries, claims and training. In that role, I delivered confined space, aerial lift and fork truck training, and I became familiar with behavior-based safety, OSHA regulations and construction standards. This experience prepared me to make the leap to the construction industry, and I joined Alberici as a Project Safety Coordinator.
2. What do you like most about working in construction?
Honestly, there is very little I dislike about our industry. I love being able to collaborate with our team to solve the challenges our projects present. Being able to interact with both our tradespeople and project management teams provides a great deal of satisfaction.
3. Could you describe what you do in your current role?
As a Safety Director, I spend time on multiple projects, mostly in Alberici’s Automotive and Industrial Processes divisions. I often spend only a couple of days on-site, so I have to prioritize and manage my time well. While on-site, I work with project teams to provide assistance and guidance in order to ensure a safe work environment. I’m always available to coach, counsel and educate project personnel.
4. Tell us about your work with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
I’ve served in multiple leadership roles for over a decade with NAWIC. I’m currently serving as the National Safety and Health Awareness Committee Chair and also chair the OSHA/NAWIC Alliance, which works to raise awareness of OSHA’s standards and initiatives.
5. Do you have any advice for women entering the construction industry?
Don’t give up. Believe in yourselves. Persevere with conviction. Dare to pursue new horizons. Seek out others who can support and guide you. Find a mentor – male or female, we all need someone who can give sound guidance as we begin our careers. Most of all, be hopeful for the day that women are so common in the industry that we are identified not as female project managers, engineers and craft-workers, but simply as project managers, engineers and craft-workers.