Women In Construction - Octavia Richardson
January 04, 2022
Octavia brings to the table her experience on projects ranging from $200 million at Stanford University to $10 million at Social Security Administration in Maryland, she is currently working on our Masonic Homes project in Union City. When she is not working on large scale construction projects, she enjoys spending time with her children as they grow smarter and taking them to the playground to run around. Not only is she a talented Assistant Project Manager and mother, but she has also played on a professional Lacrosse Team called the Long Island Sound and won a championship in 2017, before the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) disbanded. With Octavia’s 7 years of experience in the construction industry and a degree in Civil Engineering from John Hopkins University, she gives her unique perspective on women in construction:
The number of women in construction has been on the rise. What do you think are some advantages of being a woman in the construction industry?
- I think as a woman we bring alternative prospective to situations and projects as a whole. I think it also aides in the diversity that clients can appreciate.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?
- It can be tough at first, gaining respect in the industry, but it gets better. Understand the project documents as your work bible and assert yourself with confidence so that you can be heard.
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry?
- I think of the construction industry as the skeleton of our environment. As the bones get older, they will need to be replaced. With time moving in one direction, there will always be a need to rebuild. I think that, combined with the efforts of a large team coming together to get the job done is something to be proud of.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
- I think an important and pretty cool change happening in the construction industry is the augmented and virtual reality. Being able to view a project as a model using BIM has been very helpful and super innovative but being able to step into your building before it is built adds that added layer of depth that can work wonders.
Why did you choose construction? What led you to construction?
- It was always something that interested me as a child how homes and large buildings were built. I was studying civil engineering taking the design path. I had a conversation with two gentlemen that affirmed my decision to start my career in the construction industry.
What has been the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction?
- It’s a challenge being talked over in meetings or over the phone, but it has gotten better over the years. It’s as I said in my advice, knowing facts and speaking with confidence will get you heard.
What is your most memorable moment working in construction?
- Outside of celebrating the milestones as a team, I really enjoy being able to go back to or even ride past a building I have worked on that has taken so much effort into building that came together so beautifully.
What is your favorite part of your career in construction?
- I enjoy the coordination aspect of moving the project forward and working as a team to do so.
How do you think the construction industry can attract more female candidates?
- I think if we publish more images of women working together in the field/ office this would help with attracting more women to the industry. As we have seen in many ads, when we can relate to the people we see, it resonates more with us.
How do you evaluate success on a construction site?
- I evaluate success on a site by the standard of safety and cleanliness first, then by the schedule and team comradery. If the site is safe and neatly kept, there are less complaints from other contractors and less risk of injury which can all cause a delay or worse. If the project is running on schedule the owner remains happy, and when the team works together well, that makes for good communication which is essential for success.
What types of construction projects Inspire you?
- The projects that really make a difference, as well as those with a focus on being environmentally friendly.
Why did you decide to join the Quiring Team?
- I joined Quiring because they take on projects that make a difference, working primarily in the assisted living, healthcare, and hospitality space. I also felt they were a team that I can get behind based on their core values.