Lizzeth Saldaña told us what sparked her interest in construction and what keeps her motivated. She shares her advice on starting a career in construction as well as her experiences as a working mother and young professional.
What got you into construction?
When I was a young girl, my father would come home with sets of plans. He was always uncovering problems and looking for ways to solve them. He shared the importance of critical thinking and educated me about how changes to the drawings directly impacted field operations. I went on to study architecture in college, which eventually inspired me to pursue a career in construction.
What keeps you motivated?
Growth. I like to overcome challenges that are thrown at me. In college I encountered a critic who told me that as a woman in construction, I would hit a glass ceiling regardless of how well my projects went. To this day, I still think of that comment. It motivates me to prove that person wrong.
What is something that people may not know about you?
I am a mother to a beautiful down syndrome boy and am constantly on the go. Our days can be hectic and are often filled with juggling meetings, taking him to therapy, and attending doctor’s appointments.
What roles/experiences led you to your current position?
I started in construction as a project intern. Since then I have challenged myself to grow my career. I recently moved to Texas to become a project engineer. The project I am currently working on in Austin has been very challenging but also rewarding. It is the first time I have been involved working on site experiencing the day to day activities.
What has been your favorite project? Why?
Enterprise Building 3 in Schertz, Texas. It was my first time with a lead role on a project. It was a very exciting time for me because I was exposed to different parts of the business I had never seen and had the freedom to make choices that had an impact. I had also just become a first-time mom and was juggling motherhood with and all the responsibilities that entail running a 360,000 sq ft project.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Give yourself the opportunity to work in the field even if it’s just for one project. It’s important to experience all phases of construction so you can understand what goes on from conception to completion. The projects I have learned from the most are the ones I was involved with through each day-to-day challenge.
What do you believe is the most important aspect of your job?
Teamwork is essential for a successful project. It’s crucial to build a project team with individuals who are experts in their field and who are willing to contribute their knowledge.