Three Women helping to Build the Tallest Residential Building in St. Petersburg – A Fox 13 News Article

The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by , and was published to Fox 13 News on Marc 18th, 2024. To view the full article, please click here. 

A tall building under construction in Downtown St. Petersburg is a point of pride for one woman under a hardhat. “Because it’s going to be the tallest [residential] building on the West Coast of Florida and I want my name on that,” said Daniela Farias, a recent USF Civil Engineering graduate.

Farias, Sofia Menacho, and Sydney Rocha are among the relatively few women in a field long dominated by men. According to one industry group, only 10 percent of construction industry workers are female.

“I think they may be a little bit discouraged to join this field because of the low numbers.,” explained Rocha, a recent architecture graduate.

All three women are working to help build The Residences at 400 Central. Eventually, the building will rise 46 stories.

Suffolk Construction is in charge of the project, overseeing many subcontractors working in different trades.

“I work with the concrete subcontractors putting in all the steel and the rebar and also the mechanical and electrical and plumbing trees,” said Farias.

All three women are in Suffolk’s Career Start program. The goal is to diversify the workforce.

“People from different backgrounds, different cultures, different educations, they all bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences that diversify who we are and make us better as a company,” said Chris Lewis, Suffolk’s Project Executive.

Getting more women in hardhats depends on more girls taking more math, science, and technology courses in school.

“If a young girl has a role model to look up to, if they see that it’s more common, then I think more women would be encouraged to be in the field,” shared Farias.

Some say women could be especially valuable because they are better with details, organizing, and design. Whether that’s true or not, the thrill of the build seems to cut across the genders.

“I started here in July, and we were on the second floor,” said Menacho. “Now we’re on the 24th floor. It’s amazing.”

With a labor shortage in the industry, Suffolk and other companies are looking to fill jobs that were once virtually “men only” with qualified women. As new buildings rise, old barriers could be coming down.

“I think I never had that in my head that I can’t do something,” said Farias.

Efforts to recruit women may signal a changing mindset in the new buildings that are changing our skyline.

 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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Lloyd Sowers is a co-anchor for the FOX 13 News weekend editions, and he covers many stories for other FOX 13 newscasts. Lloyd joined FOX 13 in February 1987. He has covered many major stories, including hurricanes Andrew, Hugo, Opal, Elena, and Charley. Lloyd has won many honors, including two Emmy Awards and the Florida Bar Association Award for reporting legal issues. He has also received AP, UPI and SPJ awards.

Lloyd earned his degree in Journalism from West Virginia University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He minored in Speech Communication and English. Before joining the FOX 13 news team, Lloyd worked at WINK-TV in Ft. Myers, Florida; WDTV in Clarksburg, West Virginia; WCLG in Morgantown, West Virginia and WMSG in Oakland, Maryland. In his spare time, Lloyd enjoys scuba diving, travel, history and old radios. He, his wife Kim and sons Jack and Gray, live in Tampa.

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