Women in Construction Week: Q&A with Courtney Francis
Women in Construction Week takes place annually in early March. The focus of the event is to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry. This year ICI is spotlighting five women within the company who play a critical role in the success of our construction projects, and our organization at large. Each day from March 8 – 12, ICI will feature a Q&A with one of the five women; highlighting their accomplishments and contributions to the industry.
How did you get into the construction industry?
At 18, I started as an office manager of an industrial cooling tower company in Denver, Colorado. Over the 6 years that I was there, I moved into the position of project purchasing agent. After going back to school and earning my degree in English and Secondary Education, I realized it wasn’t a fit for me and took a job with a general contractor in Denver as a project assistant. The rest is history, and here I am as a Project Superintendent at ICI!
What does your role entail?
As a superintendent, I manage the construction schedule throughout the project. I coordinate with the trades to ensure crews are onsite in order to hit project milestones and complete the project in its entirety on time. I also assist the Project Manager with getting material onsite, RFIs, and coordination with the customers and vendors.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love how no two days are the same and I learn something new literally every day. I also like the autonomy I have being in the field and running a project. It’s fulfilling to see a finished product; to see the results of all the hours put in.
What was your favorite construction project and why?
I worked on a ground-up 20 floor hotel in the heart of downtown Denver. Seeing something being constructed from a blank slate is such a satisfying process.
Have you experienced obstacles throughout your career? How did you overcome them?
In regard to being a woman in construction, yes, I have faced many obstacles. When I first started, I worked for a typical, old-school “good ole’ boys” company. Though I moved my way up through the company I was often not taken as seriously and not heard like my male coworkers. I was paid significantly less in the same positions, and it was often a place of blatant and severe sexual misconduct. I was young and naïve, I figured it just came with the territory.
As my career progressed, so has the gender equality in the industry.
What is your advice to women wanting to get into construction?
DO IT! There are so many amazing opportunities in construction: from being in an office setting, to running a project in the field, to being a steel worker on a high rise. Do not let the male-dominated industry deter you from pursing your goals. And as cliché as it sounds, just keep being the amazing and strong woman you are and never hold back.