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Work at Wanzek

Learning from the Women of Wanzek.

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Construction has been known as a male-dominated profession, but more women are building their careers in the industry. Wanzek Construction is fortunate enough to have several women working in a variety of different roles.

As a part of Women in Construction Week, we talked to a few Women of Wanzek to get their advice on working in the construction industry.

Crystal Davis, Construction Manager

What do you enjoy about your role?

As a construction manager, I love the challenge. I love to construct things and being around people. If someone says I can't do something, I try that much harder to get it done, the safest way I can and the best they've seen. I put it in my head that I want to do it better than anyone else. It's like playing a sport, you always want to win.

What advice would you give younger women who may be interested in pursuing a similar career or starting a career in one?

You can do anything you put your mind to. I'm living proof of it. If you're interested in construction, lead by example, keep your head held high and do what's right.

What do you enjoy the most about your job? What’s the most challenging?

Being a supervisor and running crews, the challenge is earning people's respect. It's always a challenge with new folks, but in the end, I can say in my whole career, I've always earned the crew's respect.


Judy Ward, Site Safety Specialist

How did you initially get into construction?

I’ve always been around construction my whole life. My family owns a small concrete business so you can say I have a true passion for helping create new things and helping others build as well.

Why is the work that you do important to a community?

I can honestly say that the things we build today will be here for a long time. We all want to leave a legacy and I just hope that the things I help contribute will leave a positive effect for futures to come.

What do you find most exciting about being onsite? How about the most challenging?

The most exciting would be the fact I get to travel and meet new people and can build relationships that could last a lifetime. The most challenging for me is not feeling like I did enough. I am a perfectionist and I want to make things better for everyone. I try and get close but sometimes I feel like it’s not enough or I fall short.

Why would you encourage other women to consider construction as a profession?

Construction is hard for anyone; however, I believe if you are woman in construction it is a bit harder because there are some old paradigms about women that still have to be corrected. I think that we will continue to break through some of the outdated idealized standards and show women how to be strong in this industry.

What advice would you give younger women who may be interested in pursuing a similar career or starting a career in on?

Set goals and strive to accomplish those goals. Build and foster relationships and stay focused on making things better not only for yourselves but for others.

What challenges or obstacles do you believe prevent wfrom choosing construction and why should they not let those deter them?

We as women must show tenacity and set goals and work harder to show everyone that this industry can and will change for the better. I do believe in my core that women can do just as well as anyone in this industry.

What's the best career decision you've made?

I was a Respiratory Therapist before coming to this industry and had it well, I just didn’t have the variety that I have now. I get to go new places, see new things, be with my husband who also works with Wanzek. I just hope to one day become a very valuable asset for others including my Wanzek team.


Desiree Fuxa, Fleet Manager

How did you initially get into construction?

I applied for a position in our accounting department just after college graduation at the recommendation of a family member that worked here at the time. I have worked in a few departments within the company that has allowed my knowledge of construction to grow and be in the position I hold today.

What do you find most exciting about being onsite?

I love to visit projects and see the project in all stages of construction and visit with our amazing field employees that are there building it. These employees have an unbelievable amount of knowledge that I learn so much from each time I visit a site. There is a lot of pride that goes into these projects and to hear it firsthand from the site employees is truly a rewarding experience.

What advice would you give younger women who may be interested in pursuing a similar career or starting a career in one?

Take the leap! Don’t allow stereotypes of the construction industry to make the decision for you. This industry has its challenges, however, the benefits of the knowledge, experience and relationships you get along the way far outweigh those challenges. Always be willing to learn something new because this industry is always changing.

How can this industry better help get more women to apply?

Promote the construction industry in middle and high school levels to both male and female students. In high school when I was deciding the career, I wanted to pursue there was no mention of anything less than a 4-year degree. There needs to be better awareness and focus on promoting trades to the youth. As a mother of 2 teenage daughters, I love sharing stories about construction projects that Wanzek has going on or past ones that we happen to travel by with them and their friends. Most can’t believe I work for a construction company.

Melissa Walls, Site Admin

How did you initially get into construction?

Prior to wanzek, I was an optician/optical manager for 20 years but was looking to move to Maine and I happened to see this position for a project going on there.

Why is the work that you do important to a community?

It's very important. I'm kind of the glue that holds the office together.

What do you find most exciting about working for Wanzek? How about the most challenging?

The most exciting thing is the people and having that team feeling. The most challenging is keeping up with our rapid growth as a company.

Why would you encourage other women to consider construction as a profession?

It's an exciting, ever-changing industry. Every day is something new. We are just as capable as doing this work as men.

What challenges or obstacles do you believe prevent women from choosing construction and why should they not let those deter them?

The old hype is that it’s a job for men - both physically and mentally. But we’re seeing that change more and more.

What has been your favorite project and why?

I enjoy the solar project in Maine. I started in Fargo and hadn’t heard of Wanzek. Everyone was so welcoming and got to watch this project grow from an empty lot to a finished solar project, watching every single step.

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