When you think of the construction industry, your mind tends to automatically think of men in construction hats out in the field swinging hammers, doesn’t it? But in the field and behind the scenes, there are many women in this industry that are helping to make these projects come to fruition. In honor of National Women in Construction Week, we sat down with some of the women in our office and asked them a few questions.
Kim Hughes – Human Resource Manager
The reason I chose to come onboard with Brindley was that they are a great company to work for and, in a small community, people strive to land their dream job with companies that you hear are great to work for. As a Human Resource Manager, I help our employees with benefit questions, compensation questions, as well as, company procedures and policies. The thing I enjoy most about my job is the people. I enjoy working with great professionals and it means a lot when you can look forward to coming to work because you enjoy working with the people in your company.
I had a great mentor when I joined the company. Michelle Orr, who is our Controller at Brindley, has taught me a lot in taking over her role in HR. She helps me in any way she can, and she goes the extra mile to help anyone. Since working in the construction industry, one of the craziest obstacles I have faced is the pandemic (COVID-19). The ever-changing environment is sometimes overwhelming. So, the obstacle that has been challenging for sure is what will be next with this pandemic—the changes in policies and procedures.
The great thing is when you work for a company like Brindley, we are all a team, so everyone goes through things together and we bear each other’s burdens, per se. I have only been with Brindley for a little over a year and I have seen pictures of jobs we have completed in the past, but the most recent one that caught my eye would be Legends in Columbia. This company did an outstanding job and the transformation is incredible! Lastly, if I could give advice to a young woman who is considering a career in construction, I would tell them to believe in yourself—that is what I tell my girls. If you have a dream, then never stop until you fulfill your dream. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
Jenny Hobbs – Project/Marketing Assistant & Safety Coordinator
The reason I chose a position in the construction industry was because I was in a place in my career where I was ready to make a change. I had managed doctor’s offices for 20+ years and was honestly getting burned out in the healthcare field. Brindley had a reputation as a good company to work for and when this opportunity at Brindley was made available to me, I jumped at the chance to take on a new career and new challenges.
My job is to assist the Project Manager in the details and administration of every project he leads. This can change from day-to-day, but includes writing contracts, subcontracts, purchase orders, submittals, communication with subcontractors, printing drawings, and more details, and multi-tasking on a minute-by-minute basis. I assist the Director of Marketing in all the facets of marketing—from creating marketing material to ordering of promotional items.
My safety position ensures that all field personnel have the proper personal protective equipment for each job, maintaining OSHA logs and completing Site Specific Safety Plans for each project. What I enjoy most about my job is that I am never bored! My job changes not only day by day but minute by minute. It is flexible and allows me to design my priorities and organize my workload as each Project Manager requires my attention. I appreciate having had a mentor like Kathy Pigg to help me along the way!
The only obstacle that I have encountered is learning how to deal with each subcontractor on an individual basis. Some subs are equipped to handle the paperwork that is required for payment while others require more individual help to get the forms completed for their pay request.
I have been with Brindley Construction for 10 years and my favorite project we have completed would be the South Central Tennessee Development District office building in Mt. Pleasant, TN. I was the Project Assistant on this job and worked closely with the PM, Superintendent, Owner and Architect. I also wrote and entered this project into the Excellence in Construction competition and that entry won a national Excellence Eagle Award.
Lastly, if I could give advice to a young woman who is considering a career in construction, I would tell them to not let your preconceived ideas that construction is a man’s field hold you back. The construction field could not run as smoothly as it does without women. And those women can be anywhere from the office to the field working alongside any man.
Michelle Orr – Controller
The reason I chose a career in construction was to broaden my knowledge in accounting. I started working in accounting at a local bank while in college. When I was given the opportunity to pursue a career at Brindley, I decided to make the change to further my experience and expand my understanding of accounting in another industry, while hoping to pursue a leadership role at some point.
As the Controller for Brindley Construction, I am responsible for our company’s financial planning and budgeting, general accounting duties, human resources management, and IT-related services. What I enjoy about my job is my work, in general, and the people that I work with, our Brindley family. My day-to-day duties and workload differ greatly, but I also enjoy that it is not the same routine daily. While being in the construction industry I’ve had several mentors. Not one person has shown me the best course of action and lead by example, but many have. It would be short-sighted of me to only list one person, because that is the family and team-oriented environment we have here that has been influential in my career path. And, I greatly appreciate each one of them for helping to mold me into my position.
One obstacle I faced in the construction industry was starting out in accounting. I started out as an entry-level accountant, mostly data entry type duties. It has taken me quite some time to move into the role as Controller. Being able to show my progress into my current role by being diligent, detail-oriented, organized, along with inhabiting leadership skills and nearly 15 years in the construction industry has been imperative to my growth in our company. Over those 15 years, I would have to say that my favorite project we have completed would be the restoration of Jack’s office at the Jack Daniels Distillery. It was a very complex project on a historic building to restore the building’s foundation that required a careful and precise plan to raise the building, install the new foundation, then reinstall all the original wood flooring in the same spot each piece was nailed down previously.
Finally, if I could give advice to a young woman who is considering a career in construction, I would tell her to work to her fullest potential and set goals high. Know that you are not alone and find a mentor that can help you along the way.
Debbie Gordon - Assistant Controller
The reason I chose a career in construction was not exactly planned. I was looking for a job in Tennessee to be closer to home and saw that Brindley Construction had an opening in accounting. My role as Assistant Controller is to assist our CFO with all Accounts Payable and Receivables items, as well as, managing all job costs reports for active projects.
What I enjoy about my job is my co-workers and my job in general—I love accounting! While working in the construction industry, my mentor was Ricky White. I came to Brindley Construction in 1984 and I have worked with Ricky all of these years. I can honestly say I have not faced any obstacles being a female in the construction industry. I have worked with many females in the office. We are treated no differently than the men here.
Since working for Brindley Construction, I cannot name just one favorite project we have completed. Working in the office, I do not always see each project in person, but I see the pictures and all are unique to me. Lastly, if I could give advice to a young woman who is considering a career in construction, I would tell her to work in the office! We help coordinate each job and are very hands on throughout the project. We may not be out in the field but we work behind the scenes to help walk these projects through till the end.
We here at Brindley Construction, raise our hard hats to the amazing women in our company and all of the strong, hardworking women across the entire construction industry today and every day.