Women in Construction Week 2022: Madeline Smith of Clayco
The commercial construction industry remains largely dominated by men. Fortunately, that is changing, albeit at far too slow a pace. The construction industry, however, is full of talented women who are thriving in this industry.
That includes Madeline Smith, sustainability manager at Clayco’s St. Louis office.
In her role with the company, Smith works to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment, focusing on third-party certifications, sustainable technologies and building energy analysis. In addition, it helps with the internal responsibility of the company.
Smith received her BA from the University of Richmond in Environmental Studies and French and is currently an MBA candidate at Washington University at Olin Business School in St. Louis.
In honor of Women in Construction Week, REjournals takes a look back at Smith’s career, her successes in the industry, and her thoughts on how to get more women into the construction industry. commercial.
How did you get into construction?
Madeline Smith: As an environmental studies student, I was looking for a role where I had the greatest potential for influence in improving the environment. Construction has a significant impact on the environment and there are many ways to mitigate its impact. Sustainability consulting for buildings seemed to be a perfect fit with my career goals.
Describe a typical day at work.
Black-smith: One quality that I love about my job is the great diversity of jobs and tasks. Depending on the needs of the business, I can assist an owner on a project’s sustainability goals, educate a contractor on the sustainable requirements of a job, think through the company’s internal sustainability goals, work with the estimate of accounting for all costs related to sustainability, or interview for a project continuation. The variety of tasks keeps me engaged and excited about the work.
What were the biggest obstacles you had to face in your current position?
Black-smith: The biggest obstacle has been the costs associated with sustainable design and construction. Generally, we are all motivated to “do the right thing,” but the willingness to pay varies widely. Acceptable recovery periods are generally short and anything without a tangible recovery can be an uphill battle.
What was your favorite building project and why?
Black-smith: My favorite construction project to date is the Centene headquarters in North Carolina. This is our largest WELL project, and the design incorporates nature throughout the space. The team is motivated, communicative and committed, which makes the work pleasant.
What do you like most about your job?
Black-smith: Besides the diversity of work, the most redeeming part of my job is the change it brings to the industry. I am very proud to support project teams who want to make their buildings more sustainable. Despite the challenges, it is gratifying to know that this work is improving the environment.
How has women’s participation in construction evolved over the years and where do you see it going?
Black-smith: Women’s participation in construction has increased dramatically during my career in the industry. I expect this to continue until the gender ratios are equal to the population.
What advice would you give to women who want to get into construction?
Black-smith: Look for other women in the industry to have as mentors and collaborators. Construction is fast paced work and having female peers to learn from and consult with will help your career tremendously.