Tampa Woman Laying Foundation to Help Other Women Build a Construction Career – An ABC Action News Article

The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Jada Williams, and was published to ABC Action News on March 8th, 2024.  To view the full article, please click here. 

TAMPA, Fla. — Close your eyes and imagine a construction worker. Odds are, you thought of a man. That’s because men make up the overwhelming majority of the industry. In such a male-dominated career, Brittany McConnell is laying a different foundation. “As a young woman out here, it is definitely like you’re walking into something that people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, she’s not…She has a lot to learn’,” she said.

McConnell herself couldn’t imagine women in construction, much less herself.

“I never in a million years when I was a kid thought that I’d be in this industry, I can tell you that. 100% never one day, not one day went by that I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna build houses, I’m gonna get out there, and I’m gonna start building houses,'” she joked.

But she was very wrong. For the last four years, that’s exactly what she’s done when she clocks into work. She is proof that women can excel in construction.

“I had a friend who was just like, ‘Hey, you know, we’re looking for people who are willing to get into this industry, and at the time, it was a shell contractor. So now I start to finish the homes,” she said.

At the time, she was working at Target. She embarked on the journey, starting off with shell contracting. They’re the ones who start the foundation, building up until there’s a roof on the house.

“I was learning really quickly. I started off as an assistant, I was really an apprentice just trying to take in everything. And the builder; by the time I got promoted to actually being a superintendent for that company, a builder came in and was just like, ‘You know, you’re really killing it out here. We love your work ethic, we love how fast you’re moving our product and how well you’re moving our product. We want to offer you another apprentice to see how we close these units and hand it over to at the time it was with homeowners,'” she recalled.

Now, McConnell is the Superintendent for the Yardley Artisan Lakes housing site in Palmetto. Her job is rare across the United States.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women account for only 11% of the industry.

She works for the national home-building company Taylor Morrison, which is committed to bringing more women into the industry. 44% of the company’s workforce is female. In the last five years, they’ve seen a 185% rise in women joining their construction teams nationwide.

March 3-9 marks Women in Construction Week. The National Association of Women in Construction held the first WIC Week in 1998.

“In this industry, we are way more detail-oriented,” McConnell said. “It seems like to the average person that’s being nitpicky, but at the end of the day, I know that I am doing everything the right way and adding that woman’s touch to it.”

To Derrick Johnson, the maintenance supervisor at Yardley Artisan Lakes, McConnell’s opinion hits the nail on the head.

“She did a wonderful job here. Everything has been on point with all of the turnovers, you know, inspections, they’ve gone to well,and I really appreciate that,” he said.

Johnson says he’s never worked for a property with a woman at the reigns, but from everything McConnell has shown, he hopes to see a lot more female-led sites.

Despite the praise from the people living in the homes and the person responsible for the upkeep, there are still naysayers.

For every question thrown her away about her job choice, McConnell’s answer never changes.

“We are constantly put into a box or a situation or somebody telling us ‘That’s a man’s field. That’s what men do. You shouldn’t be out there. You can’t be out there. You’re not capable of that.’ And women in general, like we are far more capable of, of everything that people tell us that we aren’t,” she said.

As she continues on her journey, she wants to see plenty more women join her in changing the perception of the construction industry.

John Caravella, Esq

John Caravella Esq., is a construction attorney and formerly practicing project architect at The Law Office of John Caravella, P.C., representing architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners in all phases of contract preparation, litigation, and arbitration across New York and Florida. He also serves as an arbitrator to the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Panel. Mr. Caravella can be reached by email: [email protected] or (631) 608-1346.

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Jada Williams joined ABC Action News as a multimedia journalist June of 2022.

Prior to moving to Tampa Bay, Jada spent five years at sister station WTXL in Tallahassee. There Jada was a weekend anchor and a reporter. She’s covered a range of stories including Hurricane Michael, the Hot Yoga Tallahassee shooting, corruption in Tallahassee’s city hall, and the murder of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel.

Jada is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and proud South Carolinian.

When she’s not reporting, you can find Jada exploring new restaurants, playing tennis, or at a concert.

The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Jada Williams, and was published to ABC Action News on March 8th, 2024.  To view the full article, please click here. 

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