Army Veteran Forges New Path in Construction Industry

Kristy StringerThe NAHB Federation continues to celebrate Professional Women in Building Week, sponsored by 84 Lumber, with today’s post focusing on the tradeswomen who are opening doors to help more women enter the field.

When soldiers make the decision to transition from the military to civilian life, it can be challenging to find their places in a new career.

But Army Sgt. Kristy Stringer didn’t get that memo when she enrolled in the first cohort of HBI’s Building Construction Technology program at Fort Stewart Army Base in Georgia in the spring of 2015. Despite normal concerns about entering a civilian career, Stringer didn’t hesitate to blaze a few trails of her own in the construction industry.

“I was not at all concerned about finding my place [in a predominantly male field] because I already had lived it. The military prepared me for this. I was the only female in my platoon for five years.”

After graduating from the HBI program and completing her Army commitment, Stringer began working for Southern Company and Georgia Power and is now employed with CSX Transportation Corporation as a communications technician.

“I was the only female field technician at Southern Company in the last 25 years and I’m the only female communications technician at CSX in the last 10 or so years. This is not an easy task, but I feel like I’m paving the way,” she said.

Stringer credits the Army for preparing her to succeed in a male-dominated field. “The skills I developed in the military that help me now are my ability to stand my ground as a woman and never back down in the face of adversity.”

Her advice for other women who may be interested in the construction industry but are concerned about not fitting in?

“Go into it with an open mind,” Stringer said. “Communication is key. Women sometimes think we don’t have a voice, but we do – we just have to use it.”

As the industry looks for ways to increase the diversity of its labor force, Stringer said it’s critical for women to see others like them succeed in non-traditional jobs.

“We need more women out there recruiting and mentoring other women. That is only one solution to the problem, but to me, it’s the most important one.”

PWB is focused on enhancing its mentorship program and providing the support women need to develop throughout their careers. For more information about how PWB can help with your company’s recruitment efforts, visit nahb.org/whypwb.

Learn more about HBI’s programs on military bases and across the country.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement