“A small town, mostly farm land.”
That’s how Senior VDC Coordinator, Hannah Harrison, and Senior Project Manager, Rallisa Jones, characterized most of Huntsville, Alabama, and its surrounding area as they grew up in the state.
But this version of the city is starkly different from the Huntsville that Field Engineer Julia Gaston knows today — a place with two sports teams, a thriving technology center, leading healthcare and constant economic development.
Last year, Huntsville surpassed Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, as the second largest city in the state with a population just shy of 200,000 people. This demonstrates more than 10% growth since 2010, putting the city on track to overtake Birmingham as the largest in about five years.
Commercial building also rose more than 2% from 2018 to 2019, touting significant projects like a Facebook data center, a Toyota Mazda Plant, and Huntsville Hospital’s new Orthopedic and Spine Tower.
In the midst of all the growth and development, the question becomes: what sparked this change?
Time did; society did.
Just like Huntsville’s unprecedented economic growth couldn’t be predicted 20 years ago, neither could many of the changes the next two decades would bring. This is especially true of the construction industry, which has seen a significant increase in diversity statistics. Since 2003, women-held positions in the industry have increased more than 15%.
The construction jobsite of today, familiar to professionals early in their careers — Field Engineers like Gaston — looks much different than the projects of years past. Today, women hold a variety of crucial roles — in the office, in the field, and in technology.
Through events like National Women in Construction Week and organizations like the National Association of Women in Construction, the industry is creating opportunities to recognize and celebrate the countless contributions the women make to the field every day.
This week and every week, we look to this new generation of women in construction as they continue forging the paths of today and writing a new chapter for the future.