Ever Consider a Career in Construction? Meet Robin S. Jones
Robin S. Jones is lead project manager for Plaza Construction at the Biscayne Beach Condo development in Miami. She has a master’s degree in construction management from New York University and has worked for Plaza Construction for two years after working in heavy construction. We asked her what it’s like for a woman to work in a male-dominated field.
1) Why were you drawn to construction? Since I can remember, I was always drawn to architecture and construction. My father owns his own plumbing business and would bring my brother and me to job sites as a kid, so I was exposed to ‘how things work’ from an early age and was always fascinated by it.
2) Did that set you apart from your friends? I would not say my area of interest set me apart. My friends and family think it’s really cool what I do and have always been supportive and encouraged me in my field of study and work.
3) By studying engineering, you set yourself on a path that would inevitably result in you working in a male-dominated industry such as construction. How did that make you feel? I was always focused on pursuing my passion and was never bothered by the industry being male-dominated. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry can be beneficial in a lot of ways because companies are often looking to diversify their senior staff and management teams. I also enjoy having hundred older brothers.
4) What challenges did you face early in your career? Although I enjoy school, it was a challenge to get my masters degree while working full time. However, I have found that having a high degree of education has significantly improved my chances of progressing in my career path.
5) What have you learned about men as a project manager? Let’s just say the stereotype that women are more dramatic than men is not true! All kidding aside, I have learned that men do appreciate having strong women on their team to contribute to their business. A successful team is comprised of men and women (or at least one woman!) who can bring different ideas and perspectives to the table in order to accomplish their goals.
6) What kind of woman makes a good project manager? A good project manager, no matter the gender, should have thick skin and a good sense of humor. She should be confident without being arrogant, possess good communication and organizational skills and be a good listener.
7) What things do you think that you, as a woman, bring to the job that a man might not? Men and women often come to the table with different perspectives, which I think a positive thing. Women are usually more organized which is a critical part of being a project manager. Being organized keeps the team and project on track to success.
8) If you could start your career all over again, what would you do differently? I wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I do. This path chose me, and I’m plowing through it.
9) Are you a mom? I don’t have any children yet, but if I do have a daughter, I look forward to being an example that boys and girls can grow up to be anything they are passionate about.
10) Why do you think more woman are not working in construction? Because they think they can’t. If a woman has a desire to work in construction or become an engineer, I encourage them to pursue the desire. What makes construction so interesting and different from other industries is every day is different from the next, and every project brings with it an entirely new challenge. Every few years, you are reassigned to another project, given a new project team, budget, schedule, and you get to do it all over again. It’s like running your own business within a business. How many people can say that?