I have always had a love for learning. For many years of my life I took classes that interested me, anything from piano to philosophy. When I began raising my five children, I realized in order to impress upon them the value of education I needed to compile all of those random classes I was taking into an actual degree program. Not surprisingly, my family was fully supportive of my decision to earn my degree. My passion for learning opened doors for me that I could not have imagined.

I started with Elford, Inc. as a field administrative assistant, but I always had a persistent yearning to know what my coworkers and colleagues did in their daily jobs. Fortunately I had two wonderful mentors who took me under their wings; they showed me all aspects of the construction industry and challenged me to learn more. One mentor taught me how to estimate construction projects and that women can be strong forces in the construction industry while my other mentor, a field superintendent, taught me the field aspect of construction. Under their tutelage I quickly learned so much more than I could have in my administrative role; every day I was a sponge soaking in information. The hands-on education and experience I received, coupled with my college courses, made the sky the limit as to what I could and wanted to accomplish. There were challenges along the way; construction was and is a male-dominated industry and I was a young woman knocking at the gates. My mentor taught me to just keep learning and striving to be the best I can be. Twenty-four years later with a bachelor’s degree and title of vice president of Estimating and Preconstruction, I can honestly say I did just that.

My education, life experiences, confidence, and tenacity are what opened doors to my successful career. My current role is fast-paced and high-tension but my education and past experiences enable me to cope with different stressors in productive ways. Understanding the power and value of education has led me to be a mentor to both my children and employees. I encourage them to value education and strive for advanced degrees. My advice to people today, especially young women, is to keep learning, because knowledge keeps you innovative and youthful, helps invoke empathy, and most importantly, keeps you grounded.