Blattner Celebrates Women In Construction Week 2022.
You won’t get anywhere unless you make the effort to move.
Blattner Company, a Quanta Services company, is the parent company of Blattner Energy, is celebrating Women In Construction Week by highlighting the work of our employees in the field. March is also Women’s History Month, and Blattner has just announced its Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), so it’s just another reason to help raise awareness about the importance of women in the renewable energy industry while emphasizing the growing role that they play.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise 10.9 percent of all people working in construction and account for only one out of every 100 employees in the field. That’s why this year’s Women In Construction Week is such an important time to attract more women to the industry.
Let’s get to know some of the women at Blattner who are changing the mindset that construction and renewable energy construction are a male-dominated industry.
Before coming to Blattner, Mary Simmons had fast food management and factory lead experience. She had completed two years at a community college for early childhood education but realized that field wasn’t a good fit.
She found her fit at Blattner. Since joining the company six years ago, she has worked her way up to commissioning foreman on her current jobsite.
“Once you get exposed to the renewable energy world, it’s like a lightbulb goes off for you,” Simmons said. “When a new person starts at Blattner, you can see their hunger and thirst for more knowledge. They excitedly ask more questions, and it does my heart good to be able to help them find the answers.”
Simmons admits she has run into obstacles during her construction career, but she always continued to push forward. By taking the time to ask questions and research, she found her field of interest in commissioning.
Simmons wants to go back to school to obtain more certifications and possibly a formal degree in the electrical field so she can further advance within Blattner but hasn’t narrowed down an area of study just yet.
“If you find a particular area of study, or field of interest that you would like to get to know better, research your prerequisites and rise to the requirements. Start a conversation with people you don’t know. Exchange ideas with your co-workers,” Simmons said. “Get other peoples’ perspectives, but don’t forget to fact check.
“When it comes to your career, you want to make decisions based on facts.”
Lauren Mansfield’s days are never routine as a project construction coordinator in wind field operations.
There are some that are filled with meetings and coordination of construction activities. Then, there are days where she has more time in the field.
“Month’s end is always busy working on billing and invoicing,” Mansfield said. “But I try and go in the field and talk to at least one crew operator each day to be present and available.”
Mansfield has come a long way in her almost three years at Blattner. After earning an engineering degree from Kansas State University in biological systems, she came into renewable energy construction only knowing the basics. She ended up earning a summer internship after her junior year at Kansas State and eventually applied for a full-time job as a field construction coordinator at Blattner upon graduating.
“The amount of knowledge and skills I have learned since my first day is immeasurable,” Mansfield said. “I hope to continue this growth through new and exciting challenges that push me to be prepared for my next position.”
Working in construction hasn’t slowed down her career momentum, and she credits Blattner for some of that.
“There is no reason women should stray from interest in the construction industry,” she said. “For some time, I was nervous to speak up or present my material, but with the experience and knowledge I’ve gained at Blattner, I have so much more confidence in myself than I used to.
“The co-workers I have met at Blattner have made me feel part of the team since the beginning. And, I have a lot thicker skin than I did a few years ago.”
Having been in the construction industry for more than 17 years, Tina Miller has seen it all. She has worked on projects for ethanol plants, compressor stations, asphalt plant retrofits and power plants. Since starting at Blattner five years ago, the project manager has added wind energy farm projects to her resume.
Miller enjoys working in renewable energy construction because she feels like she’s making a difference in people’s lives.
“We get to build America, one wind turbine at a time,” she said. “I enjoy working with my site teams. Watching them learn and grow is the best thing about my job. We have a lot of incredibly intelligent personnel in the field that are willing to teach – and grow. Seeing a project come together is very rewarding.”
Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in construction management from Minnesota State-Moorhead. She even taught construction management classes as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater for a time. She also has earned a PMP certification.
Her main job focus is concentrating on safety and quality with site teams. She makes sure the teams have what they need while being there to help problem solve, interact with a client, handle any personnel or scheduling concerns and share knowledge whenever she can.
“As a woman in construction, you have to set goals for yourself and get after them,” Miller said. “If you put your mind to it, you will achieve them.”
Wanting to leverage her knowledge and background in human resources, while helping employees understand their value in a culture that promotes employee engagement and growth, is why Katie Fuchs was drawn to Blattner in 2017.
In her human resources role as Director of Total Rewards, no day is the same for Fuchs. She’s responsible for developing, communicating and executing competitive reward strategies that include compensation, benefits and other work experience programs.
Nothing is more rewarding for Fuchs, however, than seeing the trend toward more women in construction.
“I have the privilege to work in a company culture that promotes learning and development. I’m surrounded by a strong group of leaders that continue to challenge the status quo,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs wants to be part of something that is building a better future for women in construction.
“The renewable energy and construction industries are growing and there’s still so much for us to learn,” Fuchs said. “Blattner will continue to create ways to make a difference for women in renewable energy. I know we’re going to achieve great results.”