MCALLEN, Texas – The RGV Chapter of Associated General Contractors recently celebrated Women In Construction Week with a luncheon at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in McAllen.
Just under 11 percent of those working in the construction industry are women and the percentage is on the rise, said Karla Goldammer, president of D&J Site Construction of Elsa, Texas.
“This was a fun event. We brought all of our women that are in the construction. It doesn’t matter if they’re owners, if they’re project managers, assistants, laborers, or if they work at a supply store. We’re all still women in construction that make this industry move forward,” Goldammer said.
“This is our second annual Women In Construction luncheon and this year we decided to spotlight safety gear and women’s work wear, the things that you can buy affordably and wear to the office, the boardroom or the construction site. So we had a little fashion show.”
Asked if people would be surprised how many women work in construction, Goldammer answered affirmatively.
“Yes, they would. Of course, we’ve all kind of been behind the scenes for so many years. But now more and more you’re actually seeing women out on the job sites, running machinery, running the projects, welding. You name it, we’re doing it all now.”
Goldammer added: “I would just like to let young women know that this is an industry that they can come into, belong to, and grow into, and have a wonderful career. And earn good money.”
Women In Construction Week was founded by the National Association of Women in Construction. NAWIC was started in 1953 by a group of women to help create a support network for other women in the industry. The NAWIC founded Women In Construction Week to give their organization an event to help bring women together.
Women numbered 10.9 percent of the entire U.S. construction workforce in 2022. Women in the U.S. earn on average 82.9 percent of what men make.
About AGC RGV
Joey Treviño, executive director for Associated General Contractors, Rio Grande Valley Chapter, said there are about 20 general contractors and over 200 subcontractors, specialty contractors, suppliers and service industry companies in the association.
“We have been going since 1949 and our head office is located in Harlingen. Basically, we’re an industry association. AGC has been around over 100 years at the national level and we have chapters across the state,” Treviño said.
Part of Treviño’s work is to advocate for the association in Austin. Asked what AGC-RGV Chapter’s legislative agenda consists of, Treviño said: “We have a lot of bills that have not previously passed. It is basically about protecting the contractors’ interests in contractual areas and liens.”
Treviño said it is good to have a supporter in the RGV legislative delegation like state Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez of Weslaco.
“Mando is a contractor himself and a member of RGV AGC. So he’s a big advocate. We also have the support of Rep. Oscar Longoria and Senators Juan Hinojosa and Morgan LaMantia. We’ve had good meetings with them and the new representative from Brownsville, Erin Gamez, and the new representative from Harlingen, Janie Lopez. They’re really excited about bringing more education and training here to the Valley and to encourage more women to join the construction industry.”
Treviño said praise must also go to the Texas Workforce Commission for putting money into apprenticeship programs.
“The Valley needs more skilled trades men and women – electricians, plumbers, HVAC, carpenters, roofers. We are pleased the Legislature is putting a lot of money this year into the skilled trades and supporting apprenticeships. Julian Alvarez, when he was at TWC, was a big help.”
By way of example, Treviño cited South Texas College’s job superintendent program.
“We’re in our fifth cohort now. Once the students finish the program they have a Department of Labor certificate, or credential as a job superintendent. That has been very successful,” Treviño said.
“When I was up in Austin, I talked to Chairman (Ryan) Guillen. Rose Benavidez was up there for STC and she was congratulating us on starting that program.”
Talking of Alvarez, Treviño said he attended an AGC National Conference on workforce development where the then-TWC commissioner was keynote speaker.
“Julian was talking about what we’re doing here in the Valley. And so now a lot of people in the rest of the nation – because we are doing so well – are mimicking us or tailoring their programs to what we are doing. We do a lot of online training. Even Texas A&M uses some of our training for their construction industry students.”
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