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Women in Construction: Interview with Rosalia Marques

Rosalia Marques, LEED Green Associate, is a project manager with KBE. Her educational background includes a civil engineering degree from Institution Universidade Catolica, an AS in Construction Management from Montgomery College and a Construction Management certificate from Georgetown university. She has more than 18 years of experience and joined KBE in 2012 as a project engineer.

 

What’s the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced in getting to where you are? Honestly, the hardest thing for me, being from Brazil, is the US measurement system!  It’s really hard to not think in metric.  But seriously, I have not encountered any challenges being a woman in construction.  Sometimes, I am the only woman in the room, but I never feel any different.  The guys are a little more polite when a woman is around, but otherwise, it’s not any different.

What advice would you have for other women pursuing a degree in this industry?
You need to work for a good company that will give you the opportunity to grow and learn.  I always feel supported at KBE and I know that if I need advice, I can just reach out and ask.  My first office manager at KBE gave me an overview of the company during my early days here and I thought “Oh I need to be part of this”.  She really inspired me.  I have worked at other companies that were not as supportive.

What resources helped you out the most – a mentor, education, hands-on experience, etc.?
You need to have a little bit of each – a mentor, an education, and hands-on experience.  You must be pro-active.  Don’t sit around waiting for people to answer your question…go out there and search for your answers.

Why did you choose a career in construction? I got into construction by the process of elimination.  I like math and science, and I was an intern in civil engineering in Brazil before moving to the US with my husband.  My first job was as a project engineer – but my goal was to become a project manager.

What impact do you hope to leave on the industry? I believe that if you are doing something well, others will see that and can follow you.

What is your favorite part of your career?  My favorite part is how different every day is.  Construction is never the same, something is always changing or different, even if you are building the same kind of building.

What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction?  I don’t feel any difference, really.  In Brazil, my classmates in the engineering program included 15 other women.  I’ve always found there to be a lot of women around in construction.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field since you started?  The construction field is more welcoming now, but, really, I have always felt comfortable and welcomed in this profession.

 

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