Women in Construction: Abby Hess

 

Can you tell us about your journey into the construction industry? What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

AKH: My journey into the construction industry isn’t something I planned. I just sort of “fell” into it when I was looking to change industries. I was young and working full time in retail while also working on my bachelor's degree. I great position opened up for a construction company doing administrative work and I felt that the change fit my lifestyle in that moment. The more I spent time in the industry, the more I realized how much women need a space here. You know that phase... “How hard can it be? Boys do it.” That pretty much encompasses everything that I am as a human being so it’s cool to be able to be a part of the changes within the industry as it becomes more equitable for women.

What roles have you held within the construction industry, and what are your current responsibilities?

AKH: I started my career in the construction industry as a project management assistant, facilitating the review of submittals, collecting, organizing, and distributing O&Ms and doing other administrative activities. When I started working at High Construction, I was performing similar work as a Project Coordinator, but was eventually promoted to work in the Business Development department. My current role has a little bit of everything from marketing and branding to contract development and execution.              

Have you encountered any challenges or barriers as a woman working in construction, and if so, how have you overcome them?

AKH: Whether we choose to see it or not, sexism still very much exists in this industry. Even though women are pushing every day to break those barriers, it can be discouraging when you are dealing with it head on. It gives me strength to know that I am just as capable and intelligent as anyone else in the room (hello, master’s degree!). Even though I think it is important to speak up when others are trying to silence you, I still find that some of the most satisfying moments are the ones where you get to make humbly silent leaps and come out on top in the end knowing you were right all along.

Are there any particular projects or achievements in your career that you're especially proud of?

AKH: Among my proudest moments are being involved in the efforts made by High to improve our local community. I've spent the last several years on the United Way Committee, contributing to the annual campaign hosted by High Companies. Additionally, as HCC’s co-chair of the Community Outreach Task Force, I help to organize our charity golf outing annually, raising funds for sick and injured children within our community. Giving back remains the highlight of my role.

What advise would you give to other women who are considering a career in construction?

AKH: The motto I live by is, “Is it intimidating, or, are you intimidated?” It’s amazing the things we can accomplish when we just change our perspective so just go for it and do so without fear! What’s the worst that could happen?

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