Women In Construction Week - Cece Smeriglio
Cece Smeriglio | Office Manager
[In response to, “Why do you think women should work in construction?”]
“Because we use the buildings. We should have a say in what, where and how they are built.”
Why did you get into the construction industry?
My great-grandfather was a general contractor at the turn of the 20thcentury. My brother is a general contractor in Virginia Beach. I guess it’s just in our blood.
Why did you choose to work at Martin Horn?
I had been working in residential construction for a long time when the Great Recession hit. I wanted a change and there was an opening at Martin Horn. I applied and was hired as a Purchasing Agent. The choice wasn’t a major one. I chose Martin Horn because they were hiring, but, I’ve chosen to stay over the last eleven years because it’s an incredible place to work.
What unique skills do you bring to your job as a woman?
Women are great multi-taskers and can handle a lot of different duties while remaining calm. As Office Manager, there are a lot of operational tasks I am responsible for, but a major part of my job is dealing with people. Whether it be clients, employees or subcontractors, I deal with many, many people each day. My ability to connect with others and understand their needs has been a great asset over the course of my time here.
Are there women who inspired you along the way? Who?
When I started working in (residential) construction in the nineties, there were hardly any women at all. The only women I would see were female real estate agents. They taught me a lot about what it was to be a woman in this industry. One of the most important lessons was that in this industry, you can make your way to the top, it’s just often not a straight line up the ladder. You have to be talented and knowledgeable about a variety of subjects and deal with a lot of issues in order to advance.
What career advice do you have for younger women interested in construction?
Don’t be discouraged when facing disrespect or discrimination. Stand by your knowledge. Know you are going in head-first. The discrimination shouldn’t exist, but it does. Don’t be caught off guard by it. Don’t let it deter you. Just keep moving forward and soon you’ll move beyond the people who discouraged you.
Why do you think women should work in construction?
Because we use the buildings. We should have a say in what, where and how they are built.