According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women in the construction industry is not only at a record high but has steadily increased since 2016. In fact, the Washington Post recently published a deep dive into why there are suddenly way more women working in construction, noting that women currently make up 14% of the construction workforce as of August 2022.
One reason for this increase is the labor shortage in construction, with many skilled laborers currently in the workforce looking to retire and younger generations choosing different lines of work. Recruiters have been getting creative to find talent in people and places that competitors may have previously overlooked, recognizing women as untapped resources who bring a different perspective and lived experience to an industry historically dominated by men.
To that end, following our annual list of Autodesk’s 40 Under 40: Champions of Construction, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate and recognize a handful of the women making an impact in construction and the unique viewpoint they bring to their roles.
Ariana Alvear, Project Manager, Boldt
Ariana stays on top of multiple project components—from design to buyout, planning, and execution. Based on Lean Construction principles, she uses visual management techniques to plan the work and implements tracking tools to make progress visible and aligned with the cost incurred.
As Project Manager, Ariana is a crucial team member on the Stanford Medicine and Sutter Health’s Cancer Center (SMSHCC) project in Oakland. She is responsible for building and executing a production strategy that ensures a predictable and streamlined workflow throughout the life of the project.
Ariana also led the rollout of several construction software solutions, paving the way for digital transformation at Boldt. She provided metrics and reporting to owners, team leaders, trade partners, and design consultants. She also spearheads the implementation of lean practices while overseeing production scheduling, logistics, pull planning, takt planning, and more.
Ankita Ramakrishnan, Assistant Project Manager, Lendlease Construction
As a woman of color working to level the playing field in construction and development, Ankita is focused on the sustainable environment, social responsibility, and resource conservation.
She grew up in the Bay Area and her experience with gentrification and expensive housing shaped her interest in building affordable homes rooted in ethical community development. She moved to New York with the intent to construct mixed-use housing and below-market units.
She was part of the team that executed a mixed-use hotel and residential project at 950 Market in San Francisco and played crucial roles from excavation to closeout. In New York, she stepped up to manage minority business outreach, community relations, and sustainability and LEED credential efforts.
Danielle O’Connell , Sr. Director, Emerging Technology, Skanska USA Building Inc.
Danielle is often sought out as a thought leader—both within and outside of Skanska—on the applied use of digital twins, laser scanning, drones, 360-degree photography, and model management. She is also a leader and guide for women in the industry, many of whom can remember a time when they did not have another female on their team, let alone a female manager or mentor. As she carves out a career path for herself, she is concurrently doing the same for women coming behind her.
Danielle guides many of Skanska’s key strategy decisions, helping the firm’s national leadership evaluate available technology and make smart investments. She has been successful in her assignments across the country due to her ability to listen, develop relationships, and ensure everyone feels they have a seat at the table.
Beyond her role at Skanska, Danielle co-chairs the northeast chapter of Skanska’s Women’s Network and is involved with the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, currently serving on their Innovation Committee.
Whether your expertise is in digital transformation, sustainability and social responsibility, or emerging technology, we hope this list inspires those considering a career in construction. We’d love to welcome more future construction leaders to the industry.
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