Posted on Mar 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Shawn Woody | Assistant Project Manager

 

[When asked, “Are there women who inspired you along the way? Who?”]
“Most of the men she was managing were double her size, but she did not let that stop her. She didn’t even hesitate to take charge. Often people associate powerful women in the construction industry as “rough around the edges” or “one of the guys,” but she was a lady. A true lady with professionalism and grit. She was well-respected by all of the men she managed, all while maintaining her grace, smile, and willingness to give advice on how to achieve the client’s goals.”

 

Why did you get into the construction industry?

Growing up, my dad was in construction. When I was 15, I began helping Dad build barns and sheds for our new property. By the time I was 17, I had started working as a laborer during the summer for my dad and quickly learned that I had a passion for construction.

 

Why did you choose to work at Martin Horn?

After moving to Charlottesville, I heard so many good things about Martin Horn. You don’t normally hear people talking about a company for their values. The reputation they had built was one of integrity and it really impressed me; I wanted “in” on this company.

 

What unique skills do you bring to your job as a woman?

I have had the unique experience of working both as a subcontractor and an owner. Because of that, I have the ability to relate and communicate to all entities on a project. It’s almost as if I speak three separate languages, and having that experience allows me to “translate” and get things done. It also allows me to provide the owner with the best end-product, while maintaining a healthy subcontractor/general contractor relationship and balance.

 

Are there women who inspired you along the way? Who?

I was privileged to have worked with Kathy Starnes of Valley Health for 7 years. As a project manager, she was a force to be reckoned with. She had worked her way from Department Secretary to Project Manager; to say that she “knew her stuff” was an understatement. Kathy carried the heaviest project load of all the project managers, effectively leading large teams of men. Most of the men she was managing were double her size, but she did not let that stop her. She didn’t even hesitate to take charge. Often people associate powerful women in the construction industry as “rough around the edges” or “one of the guys,” but she was a lady. A true lady with professionalism and grit. She was well-respected by all of the men she managed, all while maintaining her grace, smile, and willingness to give advice on how to achieve the client’s goals.

 

What career advice do you have for younger women interested in construction?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Women have to work harder to overcome the “man’s world” mentality of construction; remember that you bring your own talents to the project. Be confident in your abilities.

 

Why do you think women should work in construction?

Women bring unique skills to the table that are much needed in construction. It’s a high-stress environment with many stakeholders on each project. In my experience, I’ve found that women are often able to empathize and communicate with those stakeholders, no matter their position and find creative and effective solutions to issues. Our ability to multi-task is essential and many women have a special eye for the details. In the end, the details are what separates great construction and good construction, and healthy communication is what makes a project succeed.