Construction exec helps other women find their way to careers in the industry

This posting is a single in a sequence of conversations with women leaders in the development industry. Click here for previous conversations.

Kelley Cowan joined XL Design in 2010 as a preconstruction supervisor, concentrating on jobs in the instruction sector. Because then, her roster of function has ranged from state-of-the-art technology to business to schooling. Noteworthy projects consist of the Bayer CropScience Biologics and Vegetable Seeds facility, UC Davis Health and fitness Midtown Clinic and new services for the Natomas Unified School District. 

Kelley Cowan

Permission granted by XL Development


As an energetic member of the Sacramento Regional Builders Trade (SRBX), Cowan each year visits California’s capitol developing to participate in the proclamation of Women of all ages in Design Week. She has also provided keynote addresses and taken element in panel discussions throughout the SRBX conference and other marketplace occasions.

She is a 17-yr member and earlier president of the Sacramento Regional Builders Trade, the development industry’s oldest and most significant association in the location and is a founding member of the association’s non-gain training division and started out a mentor method that has since developed to 100 affiliates.

Right here, Cowan talks with Development Dive about the gains of a design job.

Building DIVE: How extensive have you labored in development?

KELLEY COWAN: I interned at a task web-site the summer time right before my senior year in college, and have been doing the job in commercial common contracting considering that I graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1993. My father’s family was in construction, so I grew up all over the industry.

What do you do in your existing task and where are you positioned?

I am the director of XL Construction’s Sacramento, California, workplace and oversee the region’s operations. My target ranges from business and sector method, to making certain our staff members are becoming made even though doing work on challenging projects to operational very best methods. 

What led you to choose construction for your profession?

To begin with, I chose this industry for the reason that my father, grandfather and uncle were in it. When I was youthful, I would go to perform with my father when I had a college split to a jobsite or a meeting at an architect’s office. But I have ongoing in building mainly because it is a dynamic sector complete of innovative, specialized and hardworking people today every working day is diverse.

What are a several of the jobs you have most relished operating on and why?

The Bayer Crop Science job we did in West Sacramento was our very first larger sized task in this region. It was a structure-make shipping and delivery, so it was extremely collaborative amid all get-togethers. We consolidated a number of of their regional labs and places of work into a person location. It involved business office area and support parts, but its major factors had been a pilot plant and labs for their biologics and seeds groups. We also designed prefabricated greenhouses from the Netherlands. It was a actually interesting task for a really complex client. 

For the final fifty percent of my vocation, I’ve centered on general public training assignments. Bringing most effective worth and collaborative approaches to community consumers on jobs frequently funded by their personal communities is satisfying on a lot of degrees.

What information would you give to young females looking at building as a job?

The jobs we get the job done on have function and are technically fascinating, and yet they are put jointly by people. You can find a significant connection facet to what we do. You do almost nothing on your very own. It’s a incredibly workforce-oriented industry and you just by no means end finding out. From that aspect, it can be bought so numerous excellent matters for which I would really encourage a determined young lady to get involved. There is so a lot option. 

Mainly because I get a ton of queries from girls about finding their voices, I inform women to remain accurate to by themselves.You do not have to act like somebody you’re not or gown like somebody else to be read, to healthy in and to be productive. When you are on a team, you might be at the table since somebody knew you deserved to be. You are not a token you are literally getting compensated for your contribution. You owe it to your employer, your workforce and your consumer to speak up in meetings, talk to questions and deliver your strategies.

I also tell younger women…and men…to function in a way that aligns with their intent. I suppose this is comparable to “If you really like what you do, you will under no circumstances perform a day in your everyday living.” From my working experience, this can be with a company that is a cultural in shape or shares your values, or 1 that performs in marketplaces you aid.

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