Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The first full week of March is an important one for our industry. It is the week that we celebrate Women in Construction. At MRN Contracting, we are not only proud to embrace diversity, but understand that we wouldn't be where we are today without the women in this industry. Today, we bring you two of our leading ladies to be a voice and shed a light on Women in Construction Week 2020.
Jenny Rodriguez is a Field Assistant who performs any and all field operations—from repair team inspections to adjustment meetings for project managers. Today, she shares her views on successfully joining the industry and conducting labor-intensive work at the age of 18.
Jennifer Partain, a Claims Specialist, manages every insurance claim, cash deal, and repair project during its initial stages here at MRN. Today, she voices how stepping out of her comfort zone and into the construction industry changed her life.
What led you to the construction industry? Did you have any reservations working in the construction industry?
Jenny Rodriguez: "My dad works in the construction industry and would always bring me along when I was little. He eliminated all reservations by teaching me from a young age that women can do anything men can do—if not more. His influence is what motivated me to join the construction industry. My dad has always been my motivation."
Jennifer Partain: "I came from an education background—never knowing the construction industry would be something that interested me (much less become my career). A friend of mine working for MRN reached out about an assistant position. I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and take the opportunity. Little did I know that this position would only be a short stop on my journey to where I am now. I quickly caught on to the trade and was able to move up in the business. I now don't know what I would do without MRN!"
How have you seen the changing demographic in your workforce positively impact your organization and industry?
Jenny Rodriguez: "As the years have gone by, more and more women have not only joined the construction force, but demanded respect by their hard work and dedication to the job. Women now make up 9.9% of the construction industry in the United States! This alone has given me courage and comfort in joining the industry myself."
Jennifer Partain: "In our company, there’s a saying: run it by the girls. MRN wouldn’t be able to operate without our claims department—which just so happens to be made up of five women. Without the introduction of women to the industry, I feel very strongly that MRN wouldn’t be where we are today."
How has being a woman molded your experience in the construction industry?
Jenny Rodriguez: "Successfully joining this industry as a woman has honestly given me more confidence in myself than if I was a man. With the stereotype of this industry being labor-intensive and therefore, more recommended for men, I pride myself on the fact that I have worked hard and proven the stereotypes wrong."
Jennifer Partain: "The construction industry is viewed as a rough and tough world. Although it does have qualities that fit that stereotype, there are also aspects that require the knowledgeable and administrative side. The internal structure of a business, at least for our company, is led by the strong intuition and dedication of women. I'm not out slinging hammers in the field, but I am keeping the gears turning in the office—which is just as important."
What do you love about MRN? And what do you love about this industry?
Jenny Rodriguez: "What I love about MRN is how many opportunities our CEO provides, and that we’re constantly growing in both numbers and success. Everyone is respectful, loyal and dedicated to the continued growth of the company. I’m proud to be included in the MRN family."
Jennifer Partain: "MRN has been a true blessing in my life. I never knew when I took that leap of faith a few years back that I would find my longtime career and friends. We are a family here, and I love that about this organization. I've never worked in a place where I truly felt that my employer had my best interest at heart. I've also never worked anywhere that valued my input as much as I feel it is here. I feel blessed every day to learn about this industry and how I fit into it."
What would you tell a young woman just starting out in the construction industry?
Jenny Rodriguez: "I would say as long as your disciplined, committed and have a goal then do it! No matter what your specialty is, whether it’s being an engineer or installing roofs, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. You may struggle and make mistakes, but always remember that hard work pays off and will be worth it."
Jennifer Partain: "Don't be afraid. Just because you're a woman doesn't mean that you don't know anything about the construction world and it certainly doesn't mean you can't learn it. Be confident. You belong here just as much as anyone else. Embrace that."