In 2023, there were 7.8 million people employed by the construction industry. Of that number, only 10.9% of them are women.

Sam Lassiter is a young professional pioneering her way through the industry with her degree in Construction Management. Sam works as an Assistant Project Manager. Here at Buffalo Builders, we are proud to promote and celebrate diversity in the field. 

We sat down with Sam to discuss what her experience is like being an educated female working in a male-dominated industry – here is what she shared with us.

Q: What made you choose Buffalo Builders? 

Sam: “I chose Buffalo Builders because I felt like the people here would pour into me, truly take the time to teach me, and help me grow in this industry. Their approach to the industry also felt a lot different, and I liked the smaller atmosphere. It felt more personable, like I would be respected and treated like family.”

Q: What inspired you to pursue a degree in construction management?

Sam: “I wanted to pursue a degree in this industry because I have always been interested in buildings and watching them come together. I remember being a kid growing up in NWA and thought it was so cool to drive around town week to week and see the progress of new construction. I wanted to learn more about how that happens and be a part of it.” 

Q: How do you think your academic background has prepared you for a career in this field? 

Sam:I went to a Co-Op college where I was required to complete two internships in my field of study. I did my first internship on the general contractor side, and my next on the owner’s representative side. This experience made me understand which side of the industry I wanted to work on. In addition to that, it got me on-site and in the real world to experience what I was studying, which was an invaluable experience. It’s one thing to study Construction, but you learn way more by walking the site and talking to the men and women doing the work.” 

Q: In your opinion, what unique perspectives or skills do women bring to the construction industry that can benefit the sector as a whole?

Sam: “There’s a couple of things that we bring to the table:

A. I think women are typically more organized, meticulous, and detail-orientated in their approach to things, which is extremely beneficial in a job with constant coordination between so many different parties.

B. I think women have the opportunity to bring a calmer, more levelheaded approach to the construction industry. I understand when things go wrong, people can get upset. I believe practicing patience is beneficial, and women can help fill the gap to bring more patience to this industry. 

Q: What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced as a woman working in the construction industry, and how have you navigated or overcome them?

Sam: “I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced is making sure my voice is heard. When you are the only woman in the room, it can be easy for my thoughts and ideas to get lost or overlooked, or for people to assume I don’t have a background in construction. I have had to push myself out of my comfort zone, especially when I’m on job sites, and I’ve learned to speak up until I am heard.” 

Q: What advice would you give to other women considering a career in the construction industry? Any tips for navigating and thriving in this field?

Sam: “In general – be confident, speak up, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. More specifically, take the time to get to know the subcontractors on your job site and ask them about what they do. I find 9.9 times out of 10 these guys are happy and proud to explain their work to me.”

Source: Zippia. “25 Essential US Construction Industry Statistics [2023]: Data, Trends And More” Zippia.com. Jun. 27, 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/us-construction-industry-statistics/