HBW Celebrates the Contributions of Women in Construction

Celebrating the important role of women in the construction industry, HBW Construction has planned a week of activities and education to shine a spotlight on female team members.

HBW Celebrates the Contributions of Women in Construction

Women in Construction Week was started in 1998 by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). This year’s theme is “Keys to the Future,” celebrating the strength and knowledge of women in the industry and the vital role they play in shaping the future of construction. One of the women living out that theme at HBW is September Chase, Senior Project Manager. Her journey from art lover to construction whiz is inspiring other women to enter the construction industry.

Art-inspired her construction career

September tells the story of how she came to work in construction by describing her early interest in art. Having exhausted all of the art classes in her high school, she became interested in using technology art, such as SketchUp and AutoCAD. After earning a degree in interior design, she moved to the DMV area and accepted a job with a commercial construction flooring company.  

“I immediately fell in love with seeing a client’s vision come to life, starting with a set of plans and continuing through to the actual completion of a project. I was only involved with a small part of that – the flooring – but I was hooked,” September explains.

Her passion grew over the years as she worked for a general contractor, helping manage all aspects of a project while learning about the trades and getting to know subcontractors. When she met with HBW president John Leach and his team, her interview turned into hours of conversations that impressed September. 

“I had heard other people say that HBW was a good company, and I found it felt like a supportive family from the very first day. I love how collaborative it is here.” says September. 

September has been with HBW for five years, building a client base with lots of repeat business while moving from project manager to senior project manager. Her work involves scoping out new projects with estimators and determining the right team of subcontractors for the job, then staying with each project through all phases of construction. She typically manages four to six projects at a time. 

As a member of the Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW), September will share her career story with high school and college students later this month, hoping to spark an interest in the construction industry, which she sees as having massive opportunity, and stressing how vital diversity is to growth.

“The industry has evolved a lot over the years, so I want young women to know that although we are still a very small part of the industry, we bring a different perspective and unique point of view that is essential to the future of construction.” says September.

HBW Celebrates the Contributions of Women in Construction

Women at HBW

Women make up about 26 percent of the HBW staff, yet it can be difficult to gather all women together at once. Since 2018, the company’s Women in Construction (WIC) group has been meeting regularly to promote positive change for women and serve as a community of support.

During Women in Construction Week, March 3-9, the group has planned tours of job sites managed by women project managers. The tours are an opportunity for other women in the company to learn more about the building process, particularly those who don’t work in roles directly related to construction or who might not have a chance to be out on job sites.

The group also holds educational, social, and networking events throughout the year so HBW women can support each other. This past year, group members tie-dyed WIC t-shirts, celebrated Friendsgiving, enjoyed paint nights, and shared how they handle stress while potting plants in a session called “Grow through what you go through.” The group meets regularly for lunch and has a half-day conference planned for June focused on three topics: Elevate Your Voice, Elevate Your Resilience, and Elevate Your Career. 

HBW Celebrates the Contributions of Women in Construction

Among the esteemed members of our WIC group are also Alex Dramby and Melissa Jones whose contributions and insights enrich our collective journey. “These get-togethers give the women at HBW a chance to share ideas, ask for advice, and discuss topics within the industry while also having fun,” says Megan Alfonso, Digital Marketing Manager at HBW Construction. “Our hope for this group is to continue to promote professional and personal growth while empowering women to have confidence in the workplace.”

HBW’s social channels will feature women from across the company during Women in Construction Week to highlight diverse construction careers for women available and HBW’s unique environment for career growth. Like September Chase, many of the women at HBW didn’t plan to work in the construction industry but have found it a welcome place with opportunities for learning and career growth.

“I’ve been lucky to work alongside a great project executive, our VP, Andre Chin Wing. I want to eventually follow in his footsteps, staying with HBW and becoming a project executive one day in the future. There’s a lot I’ve learned about running projects as a woman that I could teach others, and HBW is the perfect place to do it.” says September.