For the first time in its history, the Professional Women in Construction (PWC) organization has nominated a man among its honorees recognized for their outstanding careers and contributions to empowering women in the AEC industry.
The PWC Board of Directors has named Richard Wood, CEO of Plaza Construction, as the first male receipient of the award.
In addition to Wood, the roster of 2019 Honorees includes Joanne Minieri, Executive Vice President of RXR Construction Services; Heather Philip O’Neal, Managing Principal, Terrence O’Neal Architect; and Tanya Pope, Assistant Vice President, University Supplier Diversity & Program Integration, Columbia University.
Chelsea LeMar, executive director of PWC, said, “It is important for management in a male dominated industry to support and advance the careers of women and promote diversity within the fields of architecture, engineering and construction. We feel that leadership has a role in making this goal a reality and that is why we nominated our first male recipient.”
Women make up a small proportion of the construction workforce, currently around nine percent nationally, although it is one of the few industries with virtually no gender pay gap.
In construction, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics women earn an average of 91.3 percent of what men earn, making it the highest paying industry for women.
“At Plaza Construction, our workforce is currently 25 percent female and there isn’t a job in construction that a woman can’t do as well if not better than a man,” said Wood.
“Last year Plaza took steps to close the workforce gender gap and encourage more women to enter the construction industry by posting signs at its jobsites from Brooklyn to Miami that read ‘Men and Women at Work.’ The signs were a statement to demonstrate that men and women work as equals with shared responsibilities for the projects and clients they represent.”
The company has instituted mentoring programs for female employees, separate bathroom facilities for women on construction sites, support for women balancing life and family (via maternity leave, for instance) and more.