Three years ago, Haselden Construction started a Lean-In Circle to support, retain, and recruit women at our company. While women have worked at construction companies for years, it’s traditionally been in positions such as marketing, business development, financial services, etc.—and those are key positions in the company that are vital to the business’s survival and success. But women often overlook field / craft positions (project management, laborers, carpenters) as career opportunities, even though they offer stability, advancement opportunity, and great benefits.
There are a couple of different paths to take, depending on your interests. Do you like to work with your hands? Becoming a craft worker might be the right option for you and Haselden even offers a 4-year Carpentry Apprenticeship program for motivated team members. Do you enjoy working with budgets and problem solving? Project management might be your forte. Another option is going the route of superintendent – being out on a project every day and working directly with the subcontractors to get the project built.
Rebecca Wilcox is currently an Assistant Project Manager (APM) with Haselden at our UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital Project. What brought her to this career? She likes being outside, working with people, and problem solving. It was also a career where she could be successful with a four-year degree and open lots of profitable job possibilities right off the bat. Her instincts were dead on. She graduated with a Construction Science degree from Texas A&M, interning with a construction firm her junior year and she had a job offer before she even graduated. She started with us as an APM after working at several other construction companies. When this job completes, she’ll move to up to Aspen to work as an Assistant Superintendent on Haselden’s W Aspen project, after deciding to make the move from the project manager track to the superintendent track because she likes the hands-on, building aspect of the position. When asked about being a woman in the field, she responded, “Once you get someone’s respect it doesn’t really matter if you’re a man or woman. When they know you’re here to help them, they appreciate it. Plus, Colorado is a pretty progressive market.”
So how do we encourage more women to give this industry a chance? Our first step was establishing the Lean-In group. It’s been an evolving process as we solidify our group’s specific long- and short-term goals. Haselden’s CEO & President, Byron Haselden, had a vision to develop, support, and attract women to Haselden and overall to the construction industry. That mantra has stuck, and the company’s leadership team has been integrally involved from the inception, which has allowed us to attract many new females to the company, but more importantly, allowing those who already work here the opportunity to grow in their careers.
So where does the rubber meet the road? Where it counts most . . . Notable game-changers like paid parental leave (maternity and paternity) and a unified support system, as well as smaller items like reserved parking for expecting women at the main office. Supporting the community has also been a mainstay of the group and we have organized events such as gathering holiday donations for There With Care (an organization helping families with critically ill children), including shopping for gifts, organizing gift wrapping, and preparing deliveries to the families. In 2015, Haselden raised nearly $17,000 for the organization.
Each year Haselden’s Lean-In Circle has a two-day retreat to bring the group together to solidify goals and decide where we want to focus our efforts for the coming year. This year’s retreat just took place this week (you can see some of the pictures below). As with any new group, it grows and changes, and we all look forward to the difference we can make. You can learn more about the opportunities that exist in Haselden’s village on our Careers page.