Women in Construction Week–Victoria Fleddermann

Victoria 1Victoria Fleddermann, Director of Business Development for Alberici’s Industrial Process group, started as an intern and has worked for Alberici for her entire career.  To conclude NAWIC’s annual Women in Construction week, we asked Victoria to reflect on her career and the role of women in the construction industry.
1.    Can you tell us about your path to the construction industry?

I wanted a challenging career and elected to get an engineering degree. My uncle, an Alberici Vice President at the time, learned of my aspirations and gave me the chance to visit a project site, and I was hooked.

2.    What do you like most about working in construction?

For 17 years, I worked in the field as a project engineer and project manager. I enjoyed involvement with Alberici’s diverse projects, including automotive plants, power plants, industrial facilities and buildings, and I enjoyed working with some great project teams. Working in the construction industry gives you the chance to be part of something much larger than yourself. Visiting projects I’ve worked on in the past, including Monsanto Chesterfield, the Scottrade Center and the St. Louis Galleria Mall, always stirs a memory.

In my current role in the Industrial Process group, I am exposed to new manufacturing processes from our large variety of clients, which I find fascinating. I also enjoy the challenge of finding opportunities that are the best fit for Alberici’s expertise and resources.

3.    Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced in your career and how you approached it.

When starting a new project, you often have to establish credibility with a new team. I’ve found that seeking insight and opinions from more experienced field people before making decisions provides a basis to grow mutual respect.

4.    Do you have any advice for women entering the construction industry?

We are all here to do our jobs to the best of our abilities; having a mindset that gender is a non-issue helps set the stage. Take on challenges, and get involved in professional associations such as the Associated General Contractors (AGC) or the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). Having a mentor or two to turn to for advice is also invaluable.

Women in Construction Week – Kathi Dobson

WIC - ksd 3Safety 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.