Celebrating Women in Construction
– an interview with Lauren Kruger

Each year, our industry comes together to celebrate National Women in Construction (WIC) Week. WIC Week highlights women as a viable component of the construction industry, raises awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and emphasizes the growing role of women in the industry.

As part of Women in Construction Week 2019, we spoke with Lauren Kruger, Harmon Project Manager, about her experience with NAWIC Metro Chicago’s Camp NAWIC.

What is Camp NAWIC?
Camp NAWIC is a free, one-week, day camp designed to introduce female high school students to the wide variety of careers in the construction industry and to showcase female role models working in the industry.

Why do you think this camp is important?
I was introduced to construction at a very young age because my Dad owned a construction company. I didn’t have any brothers that my dad could work with in the shop, so he brought his daughters. As a young girl, I was amazed that he could take a stack of 2x4s and turn them into a house. This is where my construction interest started. I worked for my father during my high school summers building everything from decks to houses with his crew. Many girls don’t have that opportunity and it can be hard to find a career in something that you never had exposure in. It’s not impossible, but can have its challenges. The NAWIC camp is great because it gives girls the opportunity to explore a wide variety of career options in the construction industry.

What were some of the Camp NAWIC 2018 activities?
The week included a safety briefing by Bilderman Construction; learning about geotechnical engineering with True North Consulting; touring Wolf Point East, a Harmon and Walsh construction jobsite; learning about what it takes to be a construction attorney at Laurie & Brennan; a crash course on blueprint reading and basic estimating from Turner Construction; learning how drywall is made and how to repair holes in walls at USG (a skill that will help them with their first apartment); and they finished their fully packed week at Ozinga, where they visited the high-tech dispatch center and made some concrete.

What was your role in Camp NAWIC 2018?
I was a chaperone for two of the camp days. I helped guide the girls on a tour of Wolf Point East, as that is the current job I am working on. On the jobsite, they got to see a concrete pump station for a high rise building, our Visual Curtain Wall Mock-up and a MEP modeling coordination meeting. On the other Walsh jobsite, the girls got to meet a Local 63 female ironworker. I also helped explain to the campers how to read architectural drawings and assisted them on a square foot flooring takeoff at Turner Construction.

Will you be participating in this year’s Camp NAWIC?
Absolutely! This year I am a part of the WIC Week committee that organizes a yearly fundraiser to support Camp NAWIC. We will be raising funds to provide the girls with transportation, food, t-shirts, PPE and other swag bag goodies. I will also chaperone the camp for two days again this year.

Would you recommend Camp NAWIC for girls considering pursuing a career in construction?
I would definitely recommend Camp NAWIC to any girl that is considering any type of career in construction. This camp involves so many possibilities of construction careers from union labor, to project management, to engineering, to estimating, to construction law, to construction material distribution. There are endless careers in construction and exposing young girls to all of their options is a fantastic way to open their eyes to the opportunities they have ahead of them.