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Women's History Month and Women in Construction Week with TD Partner Tara Garcia

As part of TD’s recognition of Women's History Month and Women in Construction Week, we are excited to feature one of TD's female Partners. We asked a few questions about her time in the industry and her thoughts on women in construction.

Tara Garcia has been a Partner at TDIndustries, Inc. since January 2020 and is the Vice President of Multifamily. Tara’s background includes 20 years of leadership in sales, marketing, business development, operations and residential and multifamily building. Her career has seen operational improvements and growth across several diverse industries; including plumbing, industrial services and chemical manufacturing and technologies.  

In the past two years, Tara's leadership has grown TD's Multifamily team in Texas and Colorado, adding new customers, capabilities and multiple-scope projects. Its momentum and recent successes inspired the Denver Multifamily team to relocate in 2021 to a larger office with warehouse space


Q: How did you land in the construction industry?  

A: I first entered the construction/building industry over 12 years ago. I have a technical/engineering background and was brought into a business to drive business development, sales and new product development for a plumbing products company. Through this experience, I gained exposure to builders, owners, developers, plumbing contractors, wholesalers and OEMs. I drove new product development efforts, and this required engaging with experts in the field, the users and installers of plumbing products.

I was blessed to have a male business leader who recognized my skillset and empowered me to chart my own course, not be constrained by conventions and norms. This leader is still one of my mentors today. The people in the construction industry are amazing! I had the opportunity to join TD and continue my career in the construction industry, providing plumbing and HVAC solutions to Multifamily construction.

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

A: Construction is a people business. I enjoy connecting on a personal level, collaborating, sharing ideas all in the spirit of making a difference. I enjoy transforming a vision into something tangible that will potentially last a lifetime. We have a specific role and play a very important part in the chorus of many. It’s our job to take specifications and information from a drawing and make it functional. 

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

A: Promoting diversity has to start early; it doesn't mean just hiring a handful of women or diverse candidates who apply. We need to begin at the schools. There are just as many girls as boys who get top grades in math and science. These core subjects are not only vital in construction, but for our growing economy. We need to engage girls early and provide them with tools, resources and opportunities. They also need to see other women in these professions. 

I’d like to see more scholarships offered to enable girls to pursue science and construction-related careers in college. We need to offer internship experiences where they have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and then be mentored to enhance and grow their skillset. For women transitioning into the workforce, sharing their experiences and being a part of the recruitment process is vital. 

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

A: Barriers come in all forms, whether physical or intangible. Young women who don't see experienced, successful women in roles of leadership will naturally assume this is a man’s job, a man’s world, and won’t want to subject themselves to ridicule or judgment. Young women who are attracted to construction need to see the following:

  1. An achievable path to the role they want. 
  2. Seeing other women in those roles who can share their stories and give advice.
  3. A role beyond an entry-level administrative role, where they can see that they have the same role progression possibilities as men.
  4. Bias and stigmas against women in construction need to end.
  5. Company culture, training and repercussions need to be refined where women feel respected, valued and rewarded based on competencies and performance.

Q: What areas of the industry do you feel still have the biggest need for women? 

A: For change to happen and become integrated into the industry, women must be represented in all areas of the construction industry, from skilled trades to leadership. Women in leadership can be influential in positively affecting change.

Q: What opportunities are available for women to advance and grow their careers in the industry? Any professional networking groups where women can collaborate together? 

A: Tenured female role models should make themselves more available to younger women, whether that's for advice, mentorship or networking. Young women need to know they have a support structure that provides advice and counsel from a woman’s perspective. Professional Women in Construction, National Association of Women in Construction and the Association of Professional Women in Construction are among dozens of networking groups designed to connect and support all women regardless of the profession tenure.

Q: What advice would you have for young women who are eager to join the construction industry?  

A: Try to ignore past bias and consider entering the industry with an open mind. Be an advocate for all: women, men, minorities. Be a part of the solution of the future. Engage, engage, engage.