Celebrating Women Who Build, Today and Every Day

by Jody Quinton

This article is included in the 2017 Year in Review edition of the DPR Newsletter.

collage of women who build

This spring, in honor of International Women’s Day, International Women’s Week, Women in Construction Week and Women’s History Month, DPR Construction launched a monthly blog series dedicated to sharing stories of women who build great things at DPR and across the AEC industry.

  • If every woman in the workforce did not work for 24 hours, it would put a $21 billion dollar dent in country's gross domestic product—without factoring in the economic value of women's unpaid labor. If all that caretaking work were factored into GDP, it would surge by more than 25 percent (Center for American Progress, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Profitability increases by 15 percent for firms that have at least 30 percent female executives versus firms with no women in the top tier positions (Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY).
  • As of 2016, there are 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing 9 million people and generating an astounding $1.6 trillion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the growth in the number of women-owned firms has outpaced the national average by five times and business revenues have increased at a rate that’s 30 percent higher than the national average during this same period (Fortune).

Construction is a traditionally male-dominated industry that is only 9.3 percent women (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The Celebrating Women Who Build blog series tells stories of empowered women, who are successfully executing complex, technical projects for some of the world's most progressive and admired companies. The goal is to help connect, inspire, develop and advance women in the industry as they build meaningful careers—whether it’s as a PE, a PX, an architect or an owner.

As we continue to share our Celebrating Women Who Build profiles, join DPR in creating a strong, supportive environment where all builders can thrive–today and every day.

Celebrating Women Who Build Blog Series

Courtesy of Gregg Mastorakos

Gretchen Kinsella
The Celebrating Women Who Build series kicked off with the story of Gretchen Kinsella. Kinsella is DPR’s youngest project executive in Phoenix, managing the largest project that we have ever built in the area to date—the $318-million renovation of Banner University Medical Center Phoenix (BUMCP). On the last day of 2016, she gave birth to her daughter in one of the very same rooms she built back in 2004.

In her keynote address at ENR's Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference, Kinsella shares her personal career journey. Courtesy of Haley Hirai

ENR Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference
After her story was published by ENR, Gretchen Kinsella shared her personal/career journey in an inspiring keynote address at ENR's Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference in San Francisco.

Vic Julian stands on a jobsite in personal protective equipment
Photo: Everett Rosette

Vic Julian
Vic Julian, DPR's first female superintendent, joined the company in 2000 as a walk-on carpentry apprentice. Her expertise continued to develop and grow as she became a foreman, assistant superintendent and superintendent. Julian now specializes in managing ground-up construction and large corporate campuses across the Bay Area, embracing her identity as a builder to lead challenging, technical projects.

Courtesy of David Galen

Lisa Lingerfelt
Early in her career, Lisa Lingerfelt struggled with self-confidence, but challenged herself to develop her capabilities through experience and expertise. Today, Lingerfelt manages large-scale, multi-phase projects in a senior leadership role in DPR's Mid-Atlantic region. As DPR has grown, she has grown with the company. She was also named to ENR’s Top 20 Under 40 list in 2013, and was recognized as a leader in the industry on Constructech’s Women in Construction list in 2015.

Courtesy of Rena Crittendon

DPR’s Rena Crittendon and Arundhati Ghosh organized an all-female team of builders, engineers and trades to complete a series of home renovations for an 88-year-old quilter named Elnora, as part of Rebuilding Together San Francisco's SHEBUILDS day.

Courtesy of Brandon Parscale

Andrea Weisheimer
A project executive in Austin, Andrea Weisheimer is passionate about balancing the structural design complexities of tall buildings with creating cost efficiencies for her customers. Growing up with a penchant for painting and design, Weisheimer now mentors a high school intern who shares her interest in art.

Courtesy of Brilliance Photography/Bob Hughes

Lauren Snedeker
Lauren Snedeker, a project manager in Atlanta, is managing University of Georgia’s design-build improvements to the west end zone at Sanford Stadium, the tenth largest college football stadium in the country. Passionate about developing the next generation of builders, Snedeker aims to be the strong mentor her interns and project engineers can turn to–a role that was missing from her life early on in her career when she was unsure what she wanted to do.

Courtesy of Amed Aplicano

Deepti Bhadkamkar
A project manager specializing in complex MEP systems across core markets, Bhadkamkar’s passion is figuring out ways to make laboratories, data centers and hospitals smarter and more efficient for the people who will eventually occupy them. She most recently managed MEP systems for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, a new 521,000-sq.-ft. building that opened in December 2017 and more than doubled the size of the existing pediatric and obstetric hospital campus in Palo Alto, California.

DCI Engineers' Janki DePalma has helped DCI triple its office size and secure projects that have changed Austin’s skyline. Courtesy of Russ Rhea

Connecting and Inspiring Women Who Build in Austin
As part of a Celebrating Women Who Build panel in Austin, Melissa Neslund, Armbrust & Brown; Janki DePalma, DCI Engineers; Katie Blair, Charles Schwab; Pollyanna Little, STG Design—along with DPR’s Weisheimer and Bryan Lofton discussed how to connect, inspire, develop and advance women in the industry as they build meaningful careers—whether it’s as a PE, a PX, an architect or an owner.

Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Whitney Dorn
A project executive leading a 73-acre corporate campus project in Irvine, California, Whitney Dorn sees trust and respect as the foundation for any highly functioning team. She hopes to help the next generation of builders see themselves in this industry, picture the career paths ahead of them, and know that building great things is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Courtesy of Mickey Fender

Kali Bonnell
After starting her career at DPR as an intern, Kali Bonnell grew both her skills and confidence in DPR’s flat organizational structure. Each opportunity helped build her experience to prepare her for the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health and Wellness Institute project, her first job as a full-fledged project manager. The 90 percent female design-build team of architects, designers, builders and owner’s representatives shared a vision for creating the 45,800-sq.-ft. comprehensive women’s center with the patient in mind.

Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

It takes courage to go with your gut, muster up the nerve to follow your passion and make a major career change. That’s exactly what Irma Jauregui did in 2005, when she quit her job as a first grade teacher in the underserved neighborhood of Compton, California to pursue a dream she’d had since college to work in design or construction. As a project manager based out of DPR’s Newport Beach office, Jauregui now manages cost control on a 73-acre corporate campus project in Irvine, California, completing in January 2018.

Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

McDowell joined DPR in 1994 after she graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in construction management, because she was attracted to the company’s entrepreneurial culture and opportunities for growth. Today, she builds the laboratory and research facilities where life-saving medicine and therapies are brought to market. As a MEP coordinator at DPR, she specializes in complex and ever-changing MEP systems in life sciences facilities, made particularly challenging because of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements and procedures.

(Updated September 16, 2019)