Women In The Industry – Stacy Young
The construction industry has been male-dominated for years and continues to be one, even today. The business is poised for a change as more women begin to enter this and other fields of work that were previously closed off. Several women have paved the way, and others are continuing to follow suit, including Stacy Young. Stacy is the project manager for Z Modular where she is managing the Cheatham Street Flats project, a student housing development in San Marcos, TX.
We had the opportunity to meet and talk with Stacy – she has some amazing insight and advice for women who are interested in a career in the construction industry.
How did you get started in the construction industry?
I moved back to the Detroit area from Atlanta, GA in 1996 and was hired by Jenkins Construction, Inc. as an administrative assistant. Jenkins was awarded the Greater Grace Temple Church Project. This project had a two-year schedule estimated at $35 million dollars. I was asked if I wanted to go “onsite” to be the office manager. I have been in the field ever since.
What is it like to be a woman in a male dominated industry?
Very rewarding but also very tasking. You have to be a strong individual and know who you are as a person. You must be confident and not let others define you by how they see or need you.
What does your daily routine look like?
People like myself, who love a challenge, thrive on learning and growing a, so there is no daily routine. That is the beauty of construction. Although construction/manufacturing is a routine, a scheduled and task-oriented process, there is not a routine in management. There is never a dull moment and no two days are alike. This industry is an ever-evolving atmosphere. I would compare my responsibilities to a Firefighter (constantly prioritizing and resolving unforeseen issues), a mother (making sure everyone works together), a wife (assigning tasks, follow up and accountability), a coach (positive reinforcement and awarding good work), an accountant (managing all project cost), and even a counselor (listening to the those who need to be heard).
Do you think being a woman in this industry makes the career path more difficult? Less difficult?
I think being a woman in this industry is more difficult. The entire construction industry has always been a male-focused industry. Through time men who worked in manufacturing and/or construction were deemed to be macho, i.e. the epidemy of a man. The mindset was that men use their muscles to build and provide for their families and the women would stay home and raise the children and keep the house. As far back as 1921, the National Woman’s Party announced plans to campaign for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to guarantee women equal rights with men. This was amended, however it read; Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Then, The Women’s Liberation Movement in the sixties tried to campaign again to bring attention to a multitude of women’s issues to include equal pay and opportunities. We are still fighting the same fight today. One of the reasons I joined Z-Modular, is the synergy of manufacturing and construction is so great for women. This new industry will open many opportunities for women to excel in, such as administrative support, IT, factory worker, managerial positions, and of course corporate level positions. There are no porta-potties, no inclement weather, nor the rough terrain you must walk on as well as a list of other physical benefits of working in a manufacturing plant.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced being a woman in the construction industry?
Others doubting my knowledge or capabilities to perform by job.
What has been the best thing about being a woman in this industry?
Being a positive role model for all girls and women. To encourage them to have faith and the tenacity to do whatever they want to in life.
What is something you are most proud of that others in your position haven’t achieved?
I was the Owner’s representative for The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery Alabama, informally known as the National Lynching Memorial It is a national memorial to commemorate the victims of lynching in the United States in order to acknowledge the past of racial terrorism in the search for social justice. I relocated to Alabama where racism and sexism is still very prominent. I am a successful project manager working for Z-Modular that will soon be the pioneer of the new innovative construction industry.
What advice do you have for younger generations and young women who aspire to have a career in construction?
Decide what you want for yourself and in life. Commit to the process because giving up is not an option. Protect your character and always do the right thing.
Would you like to participate in our Women In The Industry series? Email us today and we will contact you to set up an interview!