Celebrating #WICWeek with TD Assistant Project Manager Iris Flores

As part of TD’s ongoing recognition of Women's History Month and Women in Construction Week, we are excited to feature one of TD’s female rising stars. 

Iris Flores has quickly become one of TD’s most impactful and productive Assistant Project Managers in her nearly four years with the company in Houston. Her family has a long history in the construction industry; her sister Irene Flores also works out of the Houston office as a Service Administrative Assistant II. Their late father, Isidro "Chilo" Flores, who worked at TD for more than 18 years, greatly influenced Iris’ decision to pursue a career in construction.

Iris recently received ABC Greater Houston’s 2021 Young Professional of the Year award. She serves on ABC’s Emerging Leaders in Training & Experience (ELITE) Committee as Scholarship and Student Outreach Chair. She additionally serves on the Ladies Operating for Growth in Construction (LOGIC), Political Action, and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. She is a member of the Houston National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Board of Directors.

We asked Iris a few questions about her time in the industry and her thoughts on women in construction: 

Q: How did you land in the construction industry?

A: My career in construction started with my father. My father started with TD in 2004, when I was in elementary school. He started inviting us to the "All Partner" meetings, and I began to see what a great family all the Partners were to each other. In high school, I explored different interests such as nursing and teaching until my dad finally planted the idea of project management. With time and more explanation as to what the career path would look like, I decided to pursue a career in construction after high school. I felt the sense of pride my dad took when driving through Houston pointing out all the buildings he had worked on, and I wanted that feeling for myself one day.

Q: What do you enjoy about the construction industry and specifically your position at TD?

A: I enjoy the challenge the construction industry offers me. There is never a dull moment, and there is always something new to learn, which keeps me on my toes. Being able to know the answer or at least where to go to find the answer is what I enjoy the most.

Q: Tell us about your role as Assistant Project Manager, is there a typical day? If so what does it look like?

A: I would say office days are typical outside of learning new items that come up. Field days are all different depending on the job site. Each General Contractor (GC) has unique expectations, so it’s important to understand the job and Customers to provide the level of leadership they expect from TD. A typical day is filled with managing communications between vendors, field Partners and the GC. Your email and phone are your best friends.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your current role?

A: It’s rare, but for me, it’s rewarding when I have completed everything for the day. Also, it’s such a great feeling being able to provide the project team the answers or solutions they need while my Senior PM is out.

Q: What can be done to increase the percentage of women in construction? How can companies recruit more women and promote diversity?

A: We can spread awareness of all the construction jobs out there to choose from while promoting the number of women already in construction. Knowing these numbers, it can seem less intimidating to pursue a construction career. Companies can help promote diversity by having employees with diverse backgrounds share their stories and experiences.

Q: What barriers do women face in the construction industry? How has this changed over time?

A: I’m still new in construction, but I’ve been lucky enough with my father being in the industry that I felt protected and safe in my role. In the past, lack of career growth opportunities due to seclusion has been an issue, but that’s not been my experience today. More women are available now who want to mentor the next generation and help break down barriers. Strides toward equal pay have been significant. Overall, there has been more acceptance of diversity on job sites, leading to a more inclusive environment.

Q: What advice would you give to young women in high school who are interested in math, science and breaking away from more traditional office careers?

A: Don’t be scared to take on something new and tackle it! For example, I wanted to put up a fence, and I kind of doubted myself, but I stuck with it and eventually the fence was completed. Continue to stay interested in things that are difficult. You may sink or you may swim, but at least you’ve tried. Find someone in the STEM field who can mentor and teach you about opportunities for career growth and development.

Q: You are involved in several trade and recruiting groups outside of your daily responsibilities. What motivates you to spread the word about scholarships and careers in construction for women?

A: I received a construction scholarship while I was in college. My freshman year of college was a full ride due to scholarships. As a first-generation college student, I really took pride in that accomplishment because it helped my family make that step to university, especially with my sister graduating high school early and joining me in college at the same time.

Q: There are so many possibilities to choose from in starting a career in this industry. What directions are you interested in exploring more? What skills would you like to develop?

A: I want to keep learning and would like to pursue more technical training in HVAC, mechanical, etc. Learning more about the mechanics of our systems will help me handle projects better in the long-term. My long-term goal is project management, but for now I’m continuing to learn and grow.

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Categories: Women in Construction