There are many dedicated workers in the construction industry that are responsible for building quality long-lasting structures for many sectors, including residential, commercial, hospitality and healthcare. In particular, Stone World would like to begin highlighting some of those devoted employees in the stone industry. Cortney Boswell, project manager for Chicago-based GI Stone, recently spoke about her role in the construction industry, and more specifically, shared her experiences of being a woman in a male-dominated profession.
SW: How did you get into the construction industry?
CB: I got into the construction industry in 2013 when I started working for my family’s construction company, and I eventually found my niche in the stone industry with GI Stone.
SW: Describe a typical day on the job.
CB: My typical day on the job jumps around a lot. My job starts on the jobsites in the mornings, briefing and coordinating with my stone installers. In our world, things can change overnight, so my early morning meetings are very important to keep on track. I then attend foreman meetings, do walk-throughs and take photographs of everything to keep records. I usually end my days in the office taking care of all the paperwork. While the days are intense, the energy is great!
SW: What have been some of the biggest obstacles (if any)?
CB: One of the biggest obstacles I face is that I am a woman in a man’s world. The reality is I must be on point 120% of the time. The fortunate result is that I am only better.
SW: What was your favorite construction project and why?
CB: My favorite construction project is The Tribune Tower renovation because of the building’s rich history. It is in the middle of construction right now and being turned into 165 luxury condominiums.
SW: What do you like most about your job?
CB: When I am driving down Lake Shore Drive or taking a boat down the Chicago River, I’m able to look at Chicago’s amazing skyline. I can sit back and say I was a part of this. I was a part of building some the greatest skyscrapers with some of the best contractors.
SW: How has the participation of women in construction changed over the years and where do you see it heading?
CB: The participation of women is growing, I see more and more women project managers on-site then I did when I started in 2013. I have even seen a growing number of women stone installers. I see it growing in the next few years to more woman project managers, and eventually, a growth in construction on-site women superintendents.
SW: What is your advice to women wanting to get into construction?
CB: Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made,” and all decisions determine the future. Construction is, was and always will be the future.