Thursday, March 5, 2009

First Woman-Run Transportation Construction Project Ahead of Schedule

Posted: Feb 26, 2009 07:29 PM CST

Updated: March 2, 2009 11:01 AM CST

SEE VIDEO: Women in Top Construction Jobs, ALL WOMEN MANAGEMENT TEAM

Nampa, Idaho -- The Franklin Bridge is a first for Idaho, a transportation construction project being led by women. On site, Kadee Porter is the project manager overseeing demolition, road widening and rebuilding.

"The best part of my job is seeing something get built from the ground up. Something that's going to benefit the public. Something that's going to stand for many, many years," said Porter.

She's part of a small minority of women working in the top levels of construction, where females typically make up less than 10 percent of the entire industry's workforce.

"I enjoy working outside. I love being out in the elements. I can handle the cold, the heat. I'm tough," said Porter.

And she's not alone. Jamee Coonce oversees the entire bridge project for the Idaho Transportation Department.

"It's not all math and science. It's fun. You do interact, you get to see what happens in the field, what happens on paper," said Coonce.

The project manager handling design is also a female. Creating a once in a lifetime opportunity for these pros who normally work mainly with men.

"Having the project management part of this project, from the ground up, led by women is unique because there are so few women," said Coonce.

The group hopes this is just the first of many woman-run projects and others will realize they can do it too.

"The word should get out that these career possibilities exist for women out there," said June Sparks, ITD's spokesperson.

With stimulus money flowing into Idaho, these leader's goal is to get the word out and see others like themselves join all the men who are lining up to take the new jobs that will be created.

"You know there's opportunities for women in all aspects of this field. Anything a woman's interested in, there's a job for her," said Porter.

The Franklin Bridge project is currently running three months ahead of schedule, which is very unusual.

The Idaho Transportation Department considers itself a very progressive agency. On its website, there are numerous tools aimed at helping more women get involved in its work, such as scholarships that make it possible to go back to school for an engineering degree.


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