Construction News

Allison Maher, Carpenter’s Helper, WIC Week Profile

By I Build NH | March 12, 2021

The week of March 7-13, 2021 we recognize and celebrate Women in Construction Week (WIC) and the many women who work in and make important contributions to our industry every day! We are pleased to share the stories from many of the women who work and live in NH and VT. The project was created in partnership with I Build NH and NAWIC Granite State Chapter.

Why construction?

I chose construction because I love the way that so many aspects of the project come together at the end to solve a massive puzzle. There’s also a lot of quick problem solving that has to happen and I love the challenge of that on-the-ball thinking that occurs daily.

What is your education/training background?

Right now I am in college at Wentworth Institute of Technology for Construction Management. This is my first year there and so far it has been an amazing experience to learn at the textbook level as well as getting on the job experience.

How did you find yourself working in the construction industry?

My mother is a big role model for me as she owns her own plumbing company and has been a pioneer woman in the trades for years now. I thought for a long time about what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school and her advice helped a lot as I got a feel for what I wanted and didn’t want.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

Like I said before, I love the way all the pieces fit together. On a different note, as someone who is fairly new to the industry, I find it fascinating how many kinds of people and trades you come across. I have already met so many new people and I make it a point to learn something from as many of them as I can. Although you certainly don’t have to be a social butterfly to work construction, I’m glad I am or else I wouldn’t have come to meet all of these amazing tradespeople.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

The job that I’m on right now is a historical restoration of a 100+ year old building. It makes things difficult sometimes where we need to match existing framing or brickwork with the new stuff or finding ways to modernize the architecture, but it makes it that much cooler when you see the final product. Our supers and foreman do a lot of problem solving and working with the architects and engineers to make it all happen, and at the end this project is going to be something we are all proud of.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction industry?

I really want to focus on the fact that many women are intimidated by entering this field (I was one of them too). But one thing I learned is that you can’t sell yourself short. If you act like you are lesser than everyone else, they will treat you that way. So stand up for yourself and don’t take lip from anyone. If this is something you want to do, give it your best shot. There are always other careers if you don’t like it. Through school though, I have met some young ladies that are still scared to be working alongside mostly men in a chaotic environment. It’s intimidating, yes, but stand your ground and show that you’re there to work. Most of us outwork the guys any day of the week without even trying.

On a lighter note, don’t try to take on anything unsafe. As a girl who loves competing with the guys on lugging material, you will come across people who are stronger than you and things that are just too heavy or too big to carry alone. Safety is huge on any jobsite, so if you need help, never be afraid to ask for it. Anyone in management of this business will instill this into your brain, but don’t forget it. We always want everyone to go home the way they came in.

Just believe in yourself and if construction is something you want to pursue, go for it. The trades need more people (especially ladies) and anyone willing to learn, absolutely can.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC’s membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors.

I Build New Hampshire
I Build NH represents the construction sector of the state through the Sector Partnerships Initiative (SPI). I Build NH represents companies involved in heavy construction like municipal water treatment systems and road building, electric and telecommunication infrastructure, civil engineering, heating/ventilation/air conditioning businesses and more.

National Association of Women in Construction
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has over 115 chapters throughout the United States, including the NAWIC Granite State Chapter. NAWIC provides its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service and more. NAWIC advocates for the value and impact of women builders, professionals and tradeswomen in all aspects of the construction industry.