Gloria Cook has never shied away from a challenge. In fact, she embraces them. That’s what led to her joining the ranks of the construction industry 18 years ago.
Gloria was working in the restaurant business and going to school, when one day she heard someone offering a job to her co-worker.
“I heard them speaking about how they needed someone for a jobsite,” Gloria said. “I thought I’d take a chance on it. So I quickly gave them my resume.”
After an interview, Gloria became Robins & Morton’s jobsite assistant at the Marriot Villas at Doral project in Doral, Florida.
“I really enjoyed the fast pace and the challenges that came with the job,” Gloria explained. “It really kept me on the go and always learning new things. It gave me a better understanding and appreciation for construction. From then, I knew there was much to learn in the industry and I was going to learn as much as I could.”
From that first job, Gloria was determined to excel in every task given. She soon became a field office assistant, moving from project to project with different teams assigned to the Orlando division. Over the years, she continued to grow in her responsibilities, earning a variety of promotions, one of which settled her and her family in Birmingham, Alabama, to work at Robins & Morton’s corporate office.
Today, Gloria serves as the company’s Risk Management Supervisor. In this role, she manages compliance requirements for trade contractor bonds, builders risk, trade contractor insurance and the Trade Contractor Qualification department.
“When I entered the construction industry, I didn’t realize how well this career path would suit my personality,” Gloria said.
This year, Gloria will celebrate yet another personal achievement: graduation. When she began her work at Robins & Morton, she was attending college part time, but was still undecided on her focus. She loved the hustle of the jobsite and decided to put her college plans on hold and explore the construction careers available to her. After some time, she found that she was interested in hospital administration and project management, ultimately returning to college in 2015.
In May, Gloria will graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with her bachelor’s degree.
Gloria’s passion for learning translates to her job, her after-hours schooling and her desire to gain more knowledge of the industry. She has taken an active role in learning Lean processes, mentoring administrative assistants, and at one time even managed an idea exchange platform for the organization. This thirst for knowledge is also what inspired her to pursue different careers within the construction industry, leading to her finding her niche in risk management.
“In all of the positions I have held, Robins & Morton has allowed me to learn and grow. I have worked under some amazing managers who really drove my passion for what I do and solidified my love for what we do as a company.”
At every stage of her career, Gloria said that she continued her ascent by performing her job with passion, excellence and “raising people up along the way.” Titles never brought her joy – it was always about the journey and being a part of work that was meaningful.
“Building relationships with people in the industry and in within our company is the avenue that helps us constantly sharpen our skills,” Cook said. “I urge all women regardless of title to keep pushing forward with class and confidence, no matter the obstacle. It’s a rewarding experience when you get to look back and see how far you’ve come.”
Outside of work, Gloria serves on the board for the National Association of Women in Construction’s Birmingham chapter and volunteers at the Shelby County Humane Society.