Nikki’s got that unique combo of grit and grace. She works in heavy civil, so there’s some grit there. Not to mention she’s mom to a 14-year-old boy. But her smile and her direct encouragement and support for her coworkers is pure grace. At five months pregnant, she’s appreciative of the fact that her project is a short drive from home.
For Nikki, construction was like second nature. Because she grew up around her operator step-dad, she says, “I have no problem putting my foot down. I am very kind, but I am not as sensitive as some people may be,” which goes a long way when communicating to a team of mostly men. “It’s all in how you read people, how you treat people; help them better themselves, and you’ll be bettering yourself.”
As a project engineer, she is learning a lot and appreciates that Rino trusts her to get her work done. She’s got the freedom to do her own thing but reach out when she needs help. When she’s ready, she hopes to move up to a project management position. Before she does that, she wants to learn everything she can about each project,
She acknowledges that respect in the industry, especially as a woman, has to be earned. “I’ve noticed that whenever I meet someone new, if I have never met them before, they tend to have an attitude until they see that I am willing to do the work and I am on their side and want to help them. I will do whatever I physically can do, and I give them the respect that they deserve. And I let them know that I expect the same.”
Her advice to younger generations, and especially women? “I would say, if it is something you are interested in, make sure that you don’t give up. It’s a hard world to get into, and you have to show that you have what it takes. It isn’t overnight. Men are not immediately willing to have a female telling them what to do.”
The most important thing to Nikki is taking pride in her work, “you owe it to yourself and your team to do the very best you can.” Public works jobs are some of her favorites because you can show your kids years down the line, “I worked on this project!”Back to all stories