Women lead $17 million construction project in Massachusetts USA
The YWCA in Worcester, Massachusetts, was renovated by a team of women who provided a unique—and welcome—perspective.
When Consigli Construction was in the running to take on a $17 million renovation of a YWCA, project executive Jody Staruk saw an opportunity. She believed her company was in a unique position to center the project around women—in multiple ways.
Recently promoted to become the first female project executive in Consigli’s 116-year history, Staruk is a rarity in the male-dominated world of construction. And that gave her some power to rethink how things were done. The client for the project was the YWCA Central Massachusetts in Worcester, which is a community center, gym, and women’s shelter. Given the YWCA project’s scope and the organization’s focus on women, Staruk realized her company’s bid could make a statement. The company pledged that if it were to get the contract, every one of the project’s leadership roles—from project manager to foreman to supervisor—would be filled by a woman.
The five-woman leadership team proved to be particularly relevant to the project, which involved heavy demolition and the replacement of the plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems of a community facility that was also housing around 40 women, including some who’d experienced domestic violence, and providing daycare services to the children of first responders. “It was a tough building that hadn’t been touched in 30 years. And to make it even tougher, it was occupied and operational the entire time that we were there,” Staruk says.
The different perspective offered by the women-led team remains rare on big construction projects. Women make up just about 10% of the construction industry’s workforce, according to the National Association of Women in Construction. The share of female construction managers is even lower.