Commercial Construction News: Celebrating Women in Construction and Englewood Construction’s Own Tara Fox
As our Englewood Construction team works together to continue serving our commercial construction clients while also navigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our industry, we are more thankful than ever for our staff of dedicated and experienced employees. For this month’s blog post, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight one of those employees: Tara Fox, a senior project manager.
Last month, Tara was part of a terrific RE Journals article that published during Women in Construction Week, which was celebrated the first week of March. The story profiled several women in construction, sharing how they got their start and their perspective on working in this industry.
Here’s an excerpt from the article with Tara’s responses:
How did you get into the construction industry?
In the past I worked with the wife of the owner of Englewood Construction, and she urged me on several occasions to submit a resume to her husband’s company. I was always hesitant because, at that time, I knew nothing about construction, but I finally followed her advice and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My first position with Englewood was at the administrative level, and 18 years later I’ve worked my way up to senior project manager. I have been very fortunate in the mentors, experiences and opportunities presented to me that have allowed me to grow in this industry.
Describe a typical day on the job.
One of the things I love most about this job – and working in construction – is that every day is different. There truly is not a “typical” day. Each day, and each project, provides an opportunity to learn something new, solve different challenges and develop new relationships and partnerships.
What have been some of the biggest obstacles (if any)?
One of the biggest challenges for anyone in this industry is maintaining work-life balance. Construction is simply not a five-days-a-week, nine-to-five type of job. It requires a lot of early mornings, late nights, weekends and travel. Balancing work and family is an ever-evolving process and something everyone in this field has to work at every day.
What was your favorite construction project and why?
It’s difficult to choose just one, because there’s always something unique and interesting about every project. One that stands out from several years ago is the 23rd Street Café at McCormick Place in Chicago. We combined part of the floor that was used for shows with two other concepts that we demoed to build out the café and created a new pedestrian walkway bridge for access. Not only were there interesting design elements involved and the challenge of coordinating around shows and events that were taking place during construction, but there were also great people involved on all aspects of the project.
Englewood’s ongoing work with American Girl to build and renovate American Girl Place stores across the country would also make my list of favorites, especially the locations we built in Orlando and Nashville. Everyone involved on these projects were truly partners throughout the duration of construction and even after completion — it’s very rewarding to establish that level of relationship with our clients and trade partners.
What do you like most about your job?
The construction business is built on relationships, and I really enjoy the opportunity to interact with so many different people in my work. Establishing strong connections and loyalties with clients, trades and vendors across the country is invaluable in being successful in this industry.
How has the participation of women in construction changed over the years and where do you see it heading?
Being a woman in this field was definitely unusual when I got into the industry, but that has changed exponentially over the years. Now, women are commonplace in pretty much all disciplines of construction, and we’re growing, flourishing and stepping into leadership positions. I also see more and more young women entering the field, with many of them participating in construction management or engineering programs at universities or entering trade schools. That’s a great thing for this industry, where there are so many opportunities across a variety of skills.
We’re very proud of women like Tara who help make up our Englewood Construction team. In the weeks and months ahead, we know it will be all of our employees, and the many skilled and dedicated people working across all areas of construction, that will see us through the current challenge our world and our industry face.