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Project manager’s advice to young women in construction: ‘Just do it’

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This article is one in a series of conversations with women leaders in the construction industry. Click here for the most recent conversation.

As a project manager at Portland, Oregon-based R&H Construction, 29-year-old Sarah Jimenez has worked on multiple project teams and now is running a new $19 million ground-up addiction treatment center in Southeast Portland.

Jimenez, who holds a construction management degree from California Polytechnic State University, began working as a project manager at R&H in 2018.

Here, Construction Dive talks with Jimenez about her current role and why she chose construction as a career.

CONSTRUCTION DIVE: What do you do in your current job?

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Sarah Jimenez

Permission granted by R&H Construction

 

SARAH JIMENEZ: I’m a project manager. In this role, I am one of the project leads and work hand in hand with our superintendent to manage and execute the project. I prioritize relationship building with subcontractors and our client, and ensure we have product on site so our superintendent is able to put work in place. 

We’re currently working on a new ground-up facility for De Paul Treatment Center, a drug and alcohol treatment center scheduled to be completed late this summer.

What led you to choose construction for your career?

I walked into a college seminar that was discussing careers in construction, and at the time, didn’t know you could major in construction. I loved the idea of being a part of a team, building something large and tangible. I wanted to have a part in something that I could point to years from now and say “I did that.” I’m proud to have completed over 12 projects in the last eight years.

What project have you most enjoyed working on and why?

I’ve really enjoyed my current project at the treatment center, because of the team I am working with. Our project team is one that I have worked with for almost three years, and we have gone through a lot together this year both on a personal and professional level. 

I know my experience would have been incredibly different if I didn’t have this team. Additionally, this is the first project where every lead is female, including me, the client representative, the architect and the interior designer. Interestingly as well, we all are named Sarah so we call ourselves “the Four Sarahs.”

What advice would you give to young women considering construction as a career?

Just do it, and if someone ever tells you that you can’t do something, it might be time to consider working somewhere else. If you feel you are ready, and are ready, don’t limit yourself.

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