In the predominantly male-driven world of construction, women make up a small (often underrepresented) minority in the field. In 1980, a group of eight women with a vision to support other women in construction-related fields and to provide opportunities for career advancement formed an organization called Professional Women in Construction (PWC).
With their founding chapter in New York City, PWC has several developing chapters and flourishing memberships in New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. PWC’s website states that the founding chapter was established by women who knew that if they assembled together, they could support one another in evolving their careers and advancing their businesses. As a growing number of women join the organization, PWC continues to celebrate ‘Women Helping Other Women’ today.
Although the organization caters to women, it’s not exclusive to women as about one-third of members are men. “Men are welcome and key to what we do because we know, together we are better,” the PWC site states.
Dixon Projects, a design-build firm founded in Jersey City with offices in FiDi and Exchange Place and over 800 completed projects, is one of the many companies attracted to PWC’s vision. Women make up more than 40% of the firm’s staff and PWC acts as an ideal support system for these women and the many others that seek to develop their construction knowledge and nurture one another’s careers.
Megan Traub, Director of Project Management shares, “Since joining Professional Women in Construction, I’ve seen a huge difference in my work and personal life. PWC has connected me with a community that has similar life and work aspirations. This group has given me the support and confidence to reach the goals I’ve set for myself, and new ones since learning about other’s journeys and career success.”
Dana Opeikun, Associate Director of Project Management says, “Being able to interact and learn from women who have successfully gained executive status at large construction companies and developers, as well as many who have started their own companies, is truly inspiring and motivational. The best advice I can give is to observe the leaders you admire and learn from them. These leaders can help shape your professional goals and strategize a plan for you to achieve them.”
Megan adds, “One of PWC’s mission statements is to help women gain business. They hold many events as a chance for professional networking. I’ve met several new contacts whom Dixon Projects has hired, from architects to vendors and more.” In fact, Alpha & Omega Stone, a New Jersey-based company founded and led by Roxanne Brown, connected with Dixon Projects at one of these events. Roxanne shares, “I met a few of the Dixon Projects women at a PWC event about a year ago. There was an instant chemistry, as it’s unusual to find so many young women in the construction field. Alpha & Omega Stone began to do work for them and has since completed over 20 projects with Dixon.” This is just one example of the opportunities PWC’s events create for women and their companies to build long and successful business relationships.
Among the 10 women from Dixon Projects involved with PWC, Executive Director Patrick Sullivan is one of the organization’s male participants. “PWC is a fantastic resource for our team members, allowing them to see and be involved with the broader construction community while gaining valuable exposure to the diverse people and projects in the industry. This group bonds women in the same field, enriches their professional development, and directly impacts the quality of their work.”
Professional Women in Construction holds monthly meetings and numerous events which showcase prominent women in the field speaking about their experiences and challenges. PWC encourages collaboration amongst all members and offers endless opportunities for relationship building and thus, business expansion. If you or a friend may be interested in joining PWC’s New Jersey chapter, contact Chapter President Anne Marie Almasi at 732.634.0741 or email [email protected].