To celebrate Women in Construction Week 2024, we sat down with a few of the many inspiring women at Schuchart, all working in different functions across our business, to share their experiences as women in construction and give us a glimpse into the many career opportunities for women in this industry.

Katie Schumacher is a carpenter/welding apprentice at Schuchart, currently focusing on industrial projects at Boeing.

This is part one of a three-part series.

Construction wasn’t even on Katie’s radar until about two and a half years ago, when she had already been working in the medical field for 10 years, saying “I could feel myself getting burnt out with medicine. I knew I wanted a big career change and figured construction would be a fun route to take.” Katie’s curiosity and willingness to jump in when help is needed has made her an incredible asset to the Schuchart team.

Reflecting on the work she does, Katie says, “My favorite part of work is having the opportunity to learn multiple trades and become a more versatile employee.” In her time at Schuchart, Katie began as a laborer, then became a carpenter apprentice, and now, while still pursuing carpentry, is also learning to weld. Katie proves every day that with a passion for learning and the courage to try something new, there are endless opportunities to grow as a professional in construction.

However, being a woman in construction is not without its obstacles. As Schuchart’s only female field employee, Katie mentions that it’s challenging “being underestimated before someone gets to know me.” Without a lot of female representation in the field, it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions and make assumptions due to unconscious bias. But Katie expresses that her solution is to continue proving those who underestimate her wrong. She states, “The most rewarding part of my work is being able to show others that I have a strong work ethic and can hang with the guys in the field.”

Construction has historically been a very intimidating career path to take, with many women not even considering it an option for themselves. When asked how she thinks we can continue to encourage women to choose construction as a career, Katie mentions that it all starts with the company and their values. Katie shares, “I am the only woman here at Schuchart in the field, and Schuchart does a great job creating a safe and encouraging work environment.” Creating a culture of safety and ensuring that all team members feel supported is of paramount importance in making construction careers accessible and inviting for all.

We are incredibly lucky to have Katie as an asset on our team and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future!

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow.