As part of our Women’s History Month celebration, EPCS and ECI are celebrating Women in Construction Week, highlighting some of the women of EPC Services that make it a thriving construction management company. We sat down with Liz Decima, Nichole Lake, and Eryn Fitzgerald at EPCS and talked about what led them to the construction industry, the things they love about their job, and their advice for other women looking for careers in construction.
Tell us about what you do at EPCS.
Eryn Fitzgerald: I am an Assistant Project Manager. I help project managers in many areas of their projects, from procurement to bidding, field support and general project management support. Currently, I am assisting on 5 projects across the country.
Liz Decima: My current position at EPCS is Project Manager. I am responsible for managing projects from bid through completion of the project. As a project manager, I facilitate communication and collaboration amongst our subcontractors as well as with the client throughout all stages of the project. I also manage the financial component of the project to ensure company goals are achieved.
Nichole Lake: I am the EPCS Systems Implementation Manager. My main objective in this role is to develop, maintain, and train our employees on technical solutions that streamline and support our business processes.
What led you to work in the construction field?
Liz: I started my career as an engineer designing transmission lines. As I grew in my engineering role, I realized that I was much more interested in the overall project – the design, procurement, and construction – rather than being solely responsible for design. I really enjoy managing the entirety of a project from start-to-finish and collaborating with so many people from different disciplines. I also appreciate the challenge that comes with the coordination required to successfully execute a project.
Nichole: The construction office/industry culture is what led me to pursue a career in construction, specifically EPCS. My position is not directly related to construction, but I am drawn this industry because of the people. I appreciate the creative problem solving, the practical intelligence, and the fast pace that the people in the construction industry hold.
Eryn: I always knew I wanted a career that would challenge me, as well as one that I would be excited about daily. When I was in college, I happened upon Colorado State University’s Construction Management program, took my first class, and fell in love. I credit that program and their women focused initiatives for giving me all the resources as a woman to succeed and feel valued in this industry.
What’s something you love about your job? What’s something that challenges you about your job?
Eryn: Something I love about my job is getting to learn something new every day, which goes hand in hand with a challenge I find in my job, being that I have little knowledge and experience with the specific type of construction we do as a company. But like I said, I’m learning new things every day and feeling more confident in my growing knowledge of substations and the electrical side of construction.
Liz: What I love most about my job is that it’s different every day. Since it is my responsibility to coordinate all aspects of the project and ensure the team is collaborating and working toward a common goal, there is always something new and different. I really enjoy working with others to ensure all projects are completed successfully, not just for my own company but also for our clients and subcontractors.
One of the biggest challenges that PMs face is coordinating the entire project team to reach a common goal. Since many organizations are often needed to execute a successful project, it can be difficult to get everyone working together since they often have different ideas and/or expectations for how a project should be executed. This is a situation where ensuring communication and collaboration amongst all parties is critical in determining the best path forward.
Nichole: It is very satisfying to streamline a process or develop a report that helps my co-workers do their job more efficiently. Helping people speaks to me. The challenging aspect of this is to scope a solution that works for everyone and every situation. This requires a solid understanding of both our business process and technical skills with the ability to train highly skilled project managers. There is no room for oversight if I want to be a trusted resource.
What’s your advice to other women looking for careers in construction?
Liz: Construction is a very male dominated industry. It can be intimidating as the only female voice in the room or on a conference call, so it is important to trust your training and your experience to prove yourself and earn the respect of your peers.
Nichole: Go for it. Construction has so many growth opportunities whether you are interested in working in the field or office.
Eryn: Show up, never be afraid to ask questions, and learn. This is something that has helped me gain confidence in my short time in the industry. So many of the people you work with have years of industry experience and knowledge they’d love to share with you to help you learn and grow in your position.