With Women in Construction Week 2023 now upon us, we want to take the time to recognize the significant contributions that women have made to the industry, and more specifically, how the continued efforts and successes of the women at Hurricane Fence Company have helped us grow into what we have become today.
Historically, construction has been a male-dominated field, but times are changing, and more women are entering the industry every year. At Hurricane Fence Company, we understand the importance of diversity in the workplace and the value that women bring to our team. Women bring unique perspectives, problem-solving skills, and a dedication to quality work that is essential in the construction industry.
Women in Construction Week provides an opportunity to highlight the achievements of women in the industry and to encourage more women to consider a career in construction. It's a chance to celebrate the progress that has been made and to recognize the work that still needs to be done to promote gender equality in the workplace.
Read on to learn more about some of the women who work here, their perspectives, stories, and successes.
Myra Bashinski: Senior Project Manager Assistant
Myra is truly one of a kind. As our commercial division's Senior Project Manager Assistant, she is constantly on the move putting out fires, strengthening her team of PMAs, and going above and beyond for her, and every other, commercial project manager.
Her wealth of knowledge and experience is an invaluable asset to the Hurricane Fence Team. Being first introduced to construction through her mother at only 7 years old, she has since worked many diverse jobs in the industry. She states that one of the most rewarding aspects of working in construction is the ability to help turn nothing into something beautifully crafted. Her passion for helping her customers and fellow team members shows through in everything she does.
Over her years of experience, she says she is happy to see so many more women in positions like project manager and superintendent compared to her earlier years.
If she could give one piece of advice to women considering a career in construction, it would be to “keep your head up, have tough skin, & never stop working towards your goals.”
Brittney Shifflett: Purchasing Assistant
Starting at Hurricane Fence in 2019, Brittney has spent her recent years making a name for herself here. Since being hired, she has worked her way from administrative assistant to project manager assistant, to her current position in purchasing. She states that the constant potential to learn new things is something she loves about the construction industry, and continues to say, “I am always expanding my knowledge and pushing myself to be the best that I can be,” and it absolutely shows in her work.
Even with her successes here at Hurricane, she admits that she was extremely intimidated at first, continuing to say “all the women around me were so much tougher and straightforward than I was. It was very difficult for me. I was quiet & shy. Since working here, I have learned, grown, and found a voice of my own.”
She states that one of the most important things she has learned is that results speak for themselves, and the only way to prove yourself, is to prove yourself!
Consistently adorning a warm, welcoming smile as she makes her way through each day is just one of the many benefits that come with working with Brittany. Her always positive attitude is a welcome palette cleanser in such a high-stakes, fast-paced environment where tensions are almost always high.
“Overall, the growth from this company and the industry has made me a much stronger individual, and I am so grateful for that.” We’re grateful for you Brittney!!
To the future women of the construction industry, she says that if anyone makes you feel like you don’t have what it takes, to “prove them wrong, and be the best you can be.”
Alyssa Henshaw: Purchasing Assistant
Alyssa joined the Hurricane team in August 2022 during a difficult transitional period for our purchasing department. Since then, she has exceeded all expectations, and with her help, purchasing is running like a well-oiled machine!
She can often be found bouncing from one person to the next throughout the office confirming purchasing details, and delivery dates, and coordinating with teammates working at every point of a project's lifespan, as well as vendors, delivery personnel, and our yard staff.
She states that she enjoys the fast-paced work environment and learning everything she can about fencing materials & parts, even if it can get a little crazy at times.
To women entering the industry, she says “be prepared for craziness and a fast-paced environment,” and that it is also a “very rewarding feeling when you get to see the jobs get done.”
“There is never a boring day at Hurricane!” You've got that right, Alyssa!
Victoria Smith: Project Manager Assistant
One of the newer members of our team, Victoria has quickly made an impression on her coworkers. She is the quintessential no-nonsense go-getter. She loves to learn, work in a collaborative environment, and crack jokes with her coworkers.
She says that, in her limited time in construction, she has found that succeeding as a woman in the industry comes down to “demonstrating that you are just as capable as anyone else.”
Responsible for assisting two of our project managers, Victoria has a lot on her plate, yet not once have we seen the volume of work get to her, always pushes forward as a strong presence in the office. Keep on keeping on, Victoria!
Heather Gillette, PMP: Project Manager
Starting in construction in 2000, and hired at Hurricane Fence in 2012, Heather has no lack of knowledge and expertise. As Hurricane Fence’s first female project manager, her rise through the ranks is representative of the importance of Women in Construction Week and recognizing the accomplishments of women in construction as a whole.
“There are always challenges to overcome and new things to learn,” she says, further highlighting one of the many reasons we love having Heather on our team. She is not one to shy away from something new. Her ability to continually conquer the challenges in front of her and never stop pushing to be better makes her an essential part of our team and one that is constantly pushing the envelope of her own potential.
“Over the years, more women have gotten into the industry. Walls and Barriers are slowly breaking down as women continue to become bigger players in construction.” She goes on to talk about how being respected in this industry has been a challenge for her from time to time, yet she continues to work tirelessly towards being the absolute best she can be.
“You are capable of anything you set your mind to. There will always be challenges no matter what the industry, but hold your own and remain confident in your skills, assets, and what you bring to the table. Know your worth and your value, and hold onto that.” Well said, Heather, thanks for constantly pushing full force ahead!
Amy Hale: Project Manager Assistant
Growing up watching her father work in construction, Amy entered the industry while looking for part-time work while in college. After graduating, the company she worked for offered her a full-time position, where she worked for 26 years before moving to Hurricane.
In her time here, she has helped complete some absolutely massive projects. Her kind and quiet demeanor make her an absolute pleasure to work with. She relishes the fact that there is always something new coming across her desk, keeping her from ever feeling bored or unchallenged.
She speaks on her many years of experience, saying one of the most major changes she has seen in the industry in her 28 years working in construction is the adaptation of technology, stating “everything is pretty much done electronically now.”
But that doesn’t slow her down! She assists two project managers here at Hurricane, both known for the complexity and longevity of their projects, and Amy has taken it all in stride, making sure any project she touches is given the time and effort needed for it to run smoothly.
Amy Shelton: Project Manager Assistant
Amy is one of the most passionate people we have had the pleasure of calling a teammate. Since starting in construction at hurricane fence two years ago, she has proven time and again just how much value she brings to her position.
Her organizational skills and refusal to accept anything other than her absolute best have cemented her position as an incredibly talented construction professional. Never one to shy from a challenge, Amy is consistently finding time to help her coworkers.
For Amy, continually learning as much as possible is a must. If she ever comes across a problem she doesn’t know how to solve, or needs to work in a program she has little experience in, you can bet she will take the initiative of either bringing in teammates to collaborate with or discovering continued education opportunities to broaden her ever-growing horizons.
She takes pride in fostering strong business relationships with her eye for detail, empathetic nature, and a deep seeded desire to make sure her jobs are done right the first time.
Strong communication is at the core of what makes Amy such an impressive individual, and she truly enjoys getting to talk to and work with such a large variety and volume of people. One thing she is inspired by is that “there are a lot more women and women-owned businesses that I work with these days. There seems to be a rise in women in construction, which is awesome!” She goes on to speak on how the experience and knowledge she has gained since working with Hurricane has given her the opportunity to prove herself to her clients, further stating that over her time as a PMA, people have really started to respect her position in the process.
Speaking like a certifiable “lifer,” she states “I am so happy to finally feel like I know what I want to do with my life. It happened by accident and I couldn't be more grateful. I cannot wait to see where I am later in life, and what I will end up learning in this industry.”
We’re happy to have found you, Amy, and we can’t wait to see what else you will accomplish!
Shawna Taylor: Project Manager Assistant
Shawna has no trouble holding down the fort as PMA for our Norfolk & North Carolina offices, having accumulated four separate project managers. With 20 years of construction experience, she speaks on how much she has enjoyed the challenge and the ever-present opportunity to grow her knowledge and skills.
“The stereotype is that construction is a ‘man’s world.’” She continues, “we need to break free from that stereotype.”
In her years of experience, she is happy to see more women earning opportunities to create a successful careers in this industry. She goes on to say, “women in construction are incredibly valuable in the world we exist in now. Women bring a fresh set of eyes to getting a project executed.”
For Shawna, paving her own path in this industry came down to a matter of self-assuredness. In true Shawna fashion, “bring your confidence and go for it!” is the simple, yet powerful piece of advice she would offer to women considering a career in construction. Evident in all the work she has done for Hurricane, she truly lives by these words, and we are stronger for it! Thank you, Shawna!
Brenna Boynton: Residential Customer Service
Always prepared for a challenge, Brenna is just about as strong and kind as they come. Starting with Hurrican in last 2021, Brenna has been a consistent, invaluable part of our residential team. Her rapport with her customers and her love of working with a diverse group of people make her a phenomenal player to have on your team.
She enjoys the opportunity to work with folks at every level of the project, whether it be a customer, other office employees, sub-contractors, and yard personnel, as she states that it gives her another level of appreciation for the work we do as a company. She states that, because she has the opportunity to work with all these different positions, you grow to understand just how much “hard work you have to put in, whether you're at a desk or in the yard/field.”
“Be confident in yourself and what you bring to the table,” she says to women considering entering the industry, “do not be intimidated.”
She continues, “it’s rewarding to be a woman in construction.” speaking on her appreciation for her coworkers here at Hurricane, she says “it’s humbling to be working alongside people who are so gifted in their specific craft– whether that be accounting, managing, building/welding, selling, etc.!”
Thank you for all your hard work, Brenna!
Katie Wysocki: Project Manager Assistant
Katie has been with Hurricane Fence for just about as long as anyone. Her continued dedication to her work, lifting up her teammates, and her values are just a few of the reasons we love having Katie on our team!
Starting in a temp-to-hire position, Katie has come to enjoy constant learning opportunities, building strong relationships both internally & externally, and the product-led growth she has seen over her years of experience at Hurricane.
She speaks on the nature of the industry, stating that it is "constantly evolving," continuing to say the same about herself, stating that she has picked up a wealth of knowledge and confidence from working in this field.
"Grow the courage to show up no matter what, even when you can't always control the outcome." Wisely said Katie, thanks for always showing up for us!
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
From all of us here at Hurricane Fence, thank you so much for everything you do. We could not have done it without each and every one of you.
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