Darci Ravenscraft, Estimating Assistant
What do you love about the construction industry?
The construction industry has so many facets to explore; I think that is the draw for me. There are so many places someone can find a space to be in. Sometimes, I think I don’t really know where mine is, but know that the industry has plenty of space in it for me and has so much to teach me, that it is hard not to love the raw and organic nature of the industry itself.
Advice you would give other women entering our field?
Wow-this is two fold; I am raising a daughter. I am also raising a son. Either one may raise a daughter someday and she will need to be strong, loyal, understand perseverance and hard work and tenacity. So I can honestly say, I wish I had stayed in construction when my curiosity was peaked as a younger woman but when it was less acceptable. I loved the smell of the dirt, being outside, learning, watching the organic, raw, and unfiltered environment of an open space, turn in to a building from ground up, it was amazing to me that people did this with their hands and sheer labor. I had people tell me I didn’t belong in the dirt, it wasn’t the appropriate environment for me, and all the things we, as women, used to hear. Well, here I am again; circling back, way later in life. I remember failing home economics class, which consisted of sewing and cooking as a middle school student but passing wood shop with flying colors. And don’t worry, I eventually was fully domesticated, and I can cook, clean, do laundry, iron, and can honestly say that I can raise a family!
I will say that I wish I had the opportunities to grow or learn more about trades in high school, like the high school students are seeing today with CTE. It is such an eye-opening experience. It can really offer some unique and great opportunities, a decent living wage, and a continued growth environment that can lend itself to other opportunities for entrepreneurship.
To those young ladies who are curious, go after it and try it, take an industrial arts class or CAD class- you have nothing to lose, and only to gain, learn everything you can, even the things you are not interested in, and embrace every opportunity to build relationships, step onto a jobsite, and extend your mind and hand to other women and men in construction.
Women are now part of the construction workforce, not standing on the outside watching everyone else. Jump in, get your hands dirty, and stay the course. We all have something to offer the industry, whether it be hands on in the field, back office paperwork which is a very busy place that many don’t realize, or being a construction HR guru who can grasp processes and implement them quickly based on need; there is a place for you here and I challenge you to find it if you want to be here. We are here, we are ready, and we will stand next to all our brothers and sisters in the field and in the office, and support all efforts necessary to get the job done- there is something here for you if you want to be here. The support for women in particular now is overwhelmingly high and respected throughout the industry- I find it exhilarating and hopeful and it motivates me to keep going.
I commend any company who is having these conversations and sincerely interested in creating these spaces and conversations. I believe it brings perspective to the industry that even men cannot deny they rely on now as opportunities to also better themselves as leaders, and as human beings. When I interviewed for Clark, I told them I needed just one good, honest opportunity in the industry if they were willing to let me call Clark my new home. Clark is just that. I admit not every day is a great day, but it is a good day, because I get to have the opportunities here that nobody else was willing to take a gamble on with me and walk down this road with me, but Clark was willing and for that, I am so thankful for the opportunities and for the continued support in what we do.
If nothing else, my advice to just go after it- surround yourself with people who support your endeavors and fellow women who will give you support; you won’t fail, you may not be a Rockstar at a particular job or area, but you will learn and when you learn, you get better and eventually, you will find your space because there is a lot of it.
Your favorite project to date and why?
I have been here just over a year and worked on a K-12 job and a design build job. They are so different in terms of jobs, it is hard to say which is my favorite, because construction is so exciting to me and I am constantly taking in information and learning because I love all of it.
I have to say, I think the K-12 work was a very eye-opening experience, it is fast and furious and has no time for error- and I love the fast pace. I like being busy, talking to trades, collaborating and learning, and I secretly loved the chaos of the trades in their actual work spaces, it sounds crazy I know but – it created the opportunity for trades to collaborate and solve issues together, which again, is great to see in the field. These trades come together and solve all their issues together and get it done. That is an awesome thing to put your eyes on and watch unfold. It reminds us that we can all still learn from our peers, in this case trades, and become even better at what we do and create a quality product or service to give our customers.
What professional organizations are you a part of or recommend?
Participated and completed program in NAWIC Project Accelerate: Flint and joining the organization; BOMA, and currently seeking other relevant organizations to join.
What are your hobbies or what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am raising a family, so right now, my spare time is usually not my own, but I enjoy raising my children and watching them grow up.