Women In Construction

Negin Radcliff
Project Manager | Tacoma Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Every day has its own challenges whether you are a female or a male. My advice to any female (or male) in the industry would be to be patient, work HARD, strive to learn something new every day, and be a sponge to absorb all the knowledge around you to make yourself better as a person and as a professional in the construction field.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
What I love most about my job at Alston is working on diverse projects that are slightly more complex than the standard tilt–ups. Lately I have been working on amazon projects and I really enjoy working with all the different groups and teams I have had the opportunity to interact with at Amazon on various facility types and learning more about their processes, procedures, and operations.
What brought you into the construction industry?
Growing up I always wanted to become an architect but I became more interested with the construction phase of the project which drew me into construction management. The satisfaction you get from seeing a building come together from your hard work is an amazing feeling!
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
In my experience, some women need to work harder than their male colleagues to prove their adequacy but at the end of the day, it is a job and it does not matter if you are a female or a male as long as you are fit for it.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
The biggest milestone since joining the industry would be the success we had from completing an Amazon IXD facility with all the different components that went into the building and its intricacy.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Family.

Negin Amini
Susan Spiegel 1

Susan Spiegel
CA/PA | Houston Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone is happy and willing to share their wisdom.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Not every day is the same. No time to be bored
What brought you into the construction industry?
I enjoy problem solving and visualizing the project.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
To me it means no boundaries; that we can participate in the building industry and be part of the team. That we are able to apply our love for construction, engineering, math, problem solving, communications and knowledge in the field and with others.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
When being thrusted in the Field as a Project Manager on a 2 Million dollar project with the Port of Houston Authority. The Owners Construction Manager for this project was well aware that I was GREEN and he took the time to show me how it was done and he did not try to cheat me on owner change orders and other areas where he would of made the dime and my company would of lost.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Equality

Carra Scurto
Assistant Project Manager | Chicago Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
I would encourage those coming in to the industry to not be afraid to ask questions, build relationships with others in the industry, and spend as much time in the field as you can.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
My favorite part of my job at Alston is that every day of the week is different for me and that I am constantly learning something new.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I was inspired to come into the construction industry because I always had an interest in doing something with a background of business and I have family members in the industry. When I went to college, I decided to pursue a degree in Construction Management to see if I liked the courses and I ended up loving what I was learning about.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
I feel very fortunate to be part of an industry with endless opportunities.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Completing 3 summer internships with Alston and joining Alston full-time as an Assistant Project Manager post college graduation.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Incredible.

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Debbie Watson, Sacramento

Debbie Watson
Project Manager | Sacramento Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Same advice I would give to a man. Do your work, do it well, no short cuts, and stay honest. Use your resources as a resource, not a clutch.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Autonomy when I want it, and ability to reach out to others for their ideas when there is an issue or need some advice.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I was a Civil Engineering major and did not want to do design work. I’ve always liked how things were made and built. Besides being on Saturday Night Live as a cast regular, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Being that I’ve never been a man in construction, I do not know what to compare being a woman in construction to…It’s my career, I’m a woman, I am fortunate to get paid for doing some cool work. But seriously, by being a woman, one day, walking on the job site will be common place rather than a rarity. That will always be there unless we make progress and insist on equality.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Wisdom.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Opportunity.

Katherine Spencer, CRIS, MLIS
CA/PA | Dallas Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Be confident and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s amazing how passionate folks are in construction and love to share their knowledge.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
The feeling that I’m contributing and being a helpful part of a team.
What brought you into the construction industry?
The ability to pick from a multitude of “job descriptions”.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It’s a great feeling to be considered and treated as an equal part of the team!
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
This industry has allowed me to continually learn and develop my skills without a formal 4-year college degree. Each certificate received is a new milestone!
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Collaborative

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Danielle Stevens - 1

Danielle Stevens
Preconstruction Coordinator | Memphis Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Never be afraid to be the only woman in the room (because it is going to happen) and don’t forget your role is just as important as any one else’s.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
The people I get to work with are the best part of my job at Alston, they are the smartest, most talented, hardworking and funniest people in the world!
What brought you into the construction industry?
Happenstance really, I was placed in a local GCs office when I was 18 working to get through college and quickly fell in love with this industries impact on the built environment!
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
I see women in construction as role models for younger generations, demonstrating that it is possible to succeed in a male-dominated field.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Honestly, my move to Alston has possibly been my most significant milestone because it has opened so many other doors and given me an opportunity to shine.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Family

Jillian Favia
Project Manager | New Jersey Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Don’t be discouraged that we are the minority, woman are natural born multitaskers so the construction industry is a perfect fit.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Seeing the final project come together.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I started my career in structural engineering but gained more interest in the construction side versus design.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
I’m honored to be a woman in construction, I feel we bring a different set of eyes to the industry.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Completing my first building as the sole Project Manager.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Teamwork.

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Brittany Schneider
Director of Business Development | Dallas Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
You have a seat and voice equally important to your male counterparts at the table. Don’t give up and continue to believe in your skills, capabilities and the diversity you offer in the workplace. Your ideas, experiences and viewpoints are needed!
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Building long lasting relationships that earn mutual trust and potentially turn into lifelong friendships.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I haphazardly fell into it. I started 15 years ago when I was working at a design firm finishing up my college degree. The industry captivated me and I’ve never left since!
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It means I am strong and resilient. In the 15 years I’ve been in construction I’ve battled genderism, ageism, and sexual harassment. I believe we’re making positive strides as an industry to overcome these archaic mindsets and challenges. I also believe the future is bright with the next generation coming into the workforce who celebrate diversity and understand its value.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
When I understood my worth and value and didn’t feel the need to be anyone, but myself. So many women try to be someone they’re not. You don’t have to think or be like a man to succeed in this industry. You can be both feminine and fierce. Strong and kind. Bold and humble. It’s not a this or that industry any more. Being a woman in construction should be celebrated – not tolerated or a goal/quota to hit for diversity, but truly valued and seen for the unique perspective we bring to the table.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Healthy

Amber Ard Hopkins
Senior Contracts Manager | Atlanta Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Never let your gender hold you back.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Building relationships with colleagues and clients.
What brought you into the construction industry?
It was serendipitous
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It’s empowering to know that a woman can excel in an industry that was once a male-dominated work environment.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Simply gaining an in-depth knowledge of construction.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
First-Class.

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Rebecca Williams
CA/PA Lead | Sacramento Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Women are in all positions, not just support staff! Nothing is off limits, go for it.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Alston is not stuck in the past. We’re constantly looking for ways to adapt and grow in the marketplace and as an employer.
What brought you into the construction industry?
A forward thinking, construction enthusiast friend.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Being part of a large diverse team, working towards one goal: successful projects.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Celebrating 15 years this November.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Friendly

Dione Tomasetti
CA/PA | Southern CA Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Be confident and empower each other
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Working with my diverse team
What brought you into the construction industry?
I was offered a temp position with opportunity to grow almost 27yrs ago
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Look past the stereotypical image and take advantage of every opportunity out there
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Being stationed onsite witnessing the growth from ground-up to completion
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
The other four-letter word for work….HOME

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Ashley Garbacz Headshot

Ashley Garbacz
Project Engineer | Las Vegas Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
It is no secret that construction is still a man dominated field, so feeling a little out of place can be normal. The best way to overcome that feeling is to define your why? Something must of brought you to this field of work and drove you to get here (cause being a women in construction is not something you just fall into). Always remember your goals and dreams, and continue to strive for them, even when the odds might be against you.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
The connections and close bonds that come from working together to make these projects come alive. Alston Construction company does a great job making you feel like family!
What brought you into the construction industry?
My family (men only) have gone the engineering route in life (geotech, civil, structural), I wanted to be the first women in my family to go to college for engineering. After receiving my civil engineering degree, I quickly learned I cannot just sit at a desk all day, and found my interest shifting to working more directly with the construction industry.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Being part of the change, where more women are joining the construction industry is rewarding, motivating, challenging, and mostly fun! I am blessed to be in a time that has this change and look forward to the future with more women in construction.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Completing my first Amazon job, it was rewarding to see all the hard work, last minute changes, and long days pay off. It was even more rewarding having a high profile client impressed with our work.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Empowering

Katelyn Mann
Marketing Manager | Houston Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Play to your strengths; whether it’s listening, emotional aptitude, empathy, or socializing, they’re good qualities to demonstrate as a rising future leader. Women are naturally empathetic beings and great communicators who know how to rally a team. Use those strengths for good, improve yourself and be the best version of you.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
The people and the culture; A company’s work environment can affect how productive you are, and Alston truly has a “Passion for People”; therefore, your ideas and thoughts are heard, and there is top-down transparency.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I honestly fell into it, since marketing is a support service, you can be a part of any industry; construction is where I started almost right out of school, and I feel like once you’re in, you don’t leave because it is such an exciting and complex career where you’re always learning whether you’re boots on the ground, reading contracts, or writing proposals.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It means we have a purpose of being where we are. Someone educates themselves in a certain field because they are not only interested in it, but may also have a passion for it, and whether this is a man or a woman, the outcome is always the same.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
The contributions I make on each team I am a part of.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Authentic

Katelyn Mann
Sarah Resnick

Sarah Resnick
Project Manager | Sacramento Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
You belong here just as much as anybody else does. We work in a man’s world and it not our job to change that fact but to embrace it.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
The freedom to run and handle situations the way I see fit.
What brought you into the construction industry?
A boyfriend but my love of the atmosphere has kept me here.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It means I have to work twice as hard to prove myself because everybody knows I don’t have the field experience.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Becoming a project manager before turning 30 and completing my A.S in Construction Management before turning 31.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Home.

Lisa Still
Assistant Project Manager | Houston Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Construction is consistently a moving target. Learn to roll with the punches.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Working with teams who genuinely care about the product that gets put at the table.
What brought you into the construction industry?
My mom – “Woohoo” for women in construction! Though she was not directly working in the industry, she was always the “handy man” around the house, and it was awesome to see her at work.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Being in construction gives me the opportunity to help bridge the gap for future generations; break a stereotype. We can do it! (too)
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Learning to speak up.
This is, and probably always will be, a work in progress, but I started as the mouse in the corner and learned you only hold yourself back if you don’t ask questions.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Inclusive

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Karen Dean
Project Accountant | Sacramento Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Forget about gender differences, always do your job and to the best of your ability. Treat everyone with the same respect you would expect and demand. If you are where you belong gender differences disappear if you don’t focus on them and you do a job well.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
I have always enjoyed the company culture of family first as well as the team work. I love the interaction with all of my team and the vendors I work with.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I fell into it, it wasn’t intentional.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
It actually doesn’t mean anything to me, to me it’s about the job before me. I take pride in the work I do and always strive to do my best work seeking ways to always improve.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
I will hit my 21st year with the company 3/1 and have been an integral part of the accounting team throughout those years.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Culture

Deb Hubinsky
Estimator | New Jersey Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Always do your best and be a team player. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you can never learn too much.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
Is learning new technology I have never used before.
What brought you into the construction industry?
In school I had a knack for AutoCad and got my first job working with a Surveyor in a small company who taught me so much and I just stuck with it.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
To be honest I don’t really think about it. I do my job to the best of my ability and love to teach or learn from anyone as much as I can.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
I guess I would say when I started working in Construction instead of Design or Surveying. It opened up so many opportunities I could not even imagine and I learned so much more than I could have possibly imagined.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Team

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Lisa Giannini
Preconstruction Coordinator | Downers Grove Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
Follow your passion. If it is Project Management, Engineering or Architecture the only obstacle is thinking you can’t do it.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
My co-workers
What brought you into the construction industry?
My father was a General Contractor. I always was fascinated by the work that he did.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Women have made huge strides in the construction industry. This is no longer a male dominated field. I am overwhelmed by the women in the construction industry and I am proud to be one of them.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
For me it was when people didn’t assume that I was a secretary any longer.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Awesome

Julie Tran
Office Administrator | Atlanta Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
A piece of advice I would give to any woman in the industry is to Be Confident! Be confident in whatever it is you’re pursuing. Whether it is reaching for a higher position or starting a new project. Be confident.

Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
My favorite part about my job at Alston is that I get to help everyone in the office. The more people I get to work with, the more I am able to learn from them and expand my own knowledge.

What brought you into the construction industry?
My work doesn’t require me to be in the field, but over the past year at Alston, I am able to learn more about our projects and how we are able to connect with our clients. I was intrigued at how the construction industry works and that’s really what lead me to working in an industry that I never thought I’d work in.

What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Prior to working at Alston, I’ve always believed that the construction industry was solely a male-dominated industry. However, after seeing more women within the company, I am proud that we are making a breakthrough in tradition.

Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Since I’ve only been with the company for a year and a half, I still have lots more to learn. The biggest milestone thus far in my work is that I was able to help a lot of people with many different tasks, whether it be sending out a thank you letter or helping the Safety Department during the peak of COVID-19, I was a part of something bigger than just my work itself.

What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
One word I would describe Alston is family. We all want to see each other succeed, and we help others do so. We celebrate each other, whether it’s a work anniversary or a birthday. That’s what makes Alston a family.

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Michelle Deaton Valdez
Contracts Manager | Atlanta Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
I would say “Don’t be shy and step right up to the plate!”
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
I enjoy helping the project teams become successful. It’s the best when I see pictures of the renderings posted in marketing materials and then of the completed projects and know that I helped in some way.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I really wasn’t looking for it, but it came to me through homebuilding first. I have come to love it which at first I would have never guessed would be the case. No two projects/properties are the same so it adds diversity to my job.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
I really do not think of myself differently because I am a woman and have been lucky enough to work with companies and coworkers who I believe see me as equal.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Inclusive

Lori Goodson, CRIS
Assistant Risk Manager | Atlanta Office

What piece of advice (would you give) to any woman in the industry?
I am a true believer that attitude is everything. Taking the initiative to meet people and make sure they understand you are committed to working hard, learning as much as possible and doing what it takes to grow and develop within Construction. Be confident in your strengths, but also be in tune with you weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, gather additional information or ask for a second opinion. Find a mentor, whether it be someone in your company, someone from school, or a professional affiliation, because it’s great to have someone to talk to with shared interests. Lastly, empower one another. As women in a male dominated industry, we must continue to support, mentor and advocate for each other. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the success of someone you once helped.
Favorite Part of your job at Alston?
I truly love the entire construction process and often get to assist in many different aspects of our projects. From the RFP process, to assisting in negotiated terms in the contract, to identifying specific risks that might need additional insurance coverage, to supporting PreCon, the PM’s, the CA/PA’s, Accounting, Safety and Supers and managing any potential exposures that may arise, to seeing the final product…it’s all crucial and very gratifying.
What brought you into the construction industry?
I started out as a receptionist for a REIT who developed property and had internal departments for construction, leasing and property management / maintenance. As part of the job, I was tasked with learning about the functions of all the departments. I was instantly drawn to construction and when a position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity. I was fortunate to work with a team who taught me things above and beyond what I was tasked to do. After several years, I moved from an administrative role into a more professional capacity, and started gaining an interest into the risks associated with our projects which provided an opportunity in risk management. Once I started in Risk Mgmt., it really solidified my respect for the project and safety teams and everything they do to make sure that everyone goes home at the end of each day, so they can come back to successfully complete the project.
What does it mean to (you) be a woman in construction?
Being a woman in the construction industry has challenged me and made me stronger, as an individual and as a team player. Every person goes through scenarios in life where they are tested, but considering that women only account for 10-11% of the construction workforce means that undoubtedly being a female, you will at some point be challenged to prove yourself, your knowledge or that you belong. For me, those challenges are motivation to push myself beyond my own expectations and skillsets. I’ve learned that I can take a difficult situation, listen to details, research and ask specific questions in order to assess the issues from a different perspective and work together to create opportunities for solutions as a team.
Biggest milestone since joining the industry?
Having the opportunity to grow and develop a receptionist position into a full scale career in construction risk management. Add to that, also being recognized for those experiences and knowledge base by being asked to share insights and mitigation strategies with industry peers, as a panel member at a conference specifically centered around construction insurance law.
What would be one word you would use to describe Alston?
Collaborative. Alston takes the approach of giving everyone a chance to chime in and ask questions, offer suggestions, raise concerns, share networking contacts and share past experiences with difficult situations and thus drives the opportunity to develop ideas into a progressive approach to create solutions which are mutually beneficial to our Client Owners, our Subcontractors and to Alston. This is evident by our repeat clients and sub relationships.

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