We asked each Partner a few questions about her time in the industry and her thoughts on women in construction:
Randee Herrin has been a devoted Partner at TDIndustries, Inc. (TD) for more than 25 years and is the Senior Vice President of Construction Technologies and Manufacturing. At TD alone, Randee participates and is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, Leadership Council and Construction Leadership Forum (CLF). Randee began her career at TD as an Assistant Project Manager and has progressively taken on increased responsibilities. She has handled some of Houston’s most diverse and complex projects during her career and she has grown into a highly-respected executive and construction leader in the industry. Randee is responsible for the direct supervision of TD’s Construction Technologies, VDC and Manufacturing Teams.
Q: How did you land in the construction industry?
A: “Well my father is a general contractor, so I always had grown up around the industry and it seemed like a welcoming place to be. I was looking at degree options at Texas A&M University, met with the dean and was very lucky to find the construction science degree that I pursued during my time in school. After graduating, I was looking for a position in the Houston area and was recommended to TD where I started out as an Assistant Project Manager. I’ve loved being a part of this industry because we are producing something that serves the community. We build schools, hospitals and more that are truly essential to society and being part of team where we can look back and say we had a hand in that project is pretty special. TD has always been a place that encourages diversity and I’m proud to be part of an organization that cares about people through encouragement, collaboration and innovation.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about the construction industry and your role specifically at TD?
A:“I’ve been with TD for over 25 years and have always enjoyed the teams I have worked with and how there is an opportunity to grow alongside others. I also enjoy the relationship side of the business the most. At the end of a project, the think I value above all else are the relationships that grew through the challenges. In addition, I’m happiest and enjoying my job the most when I can think through tough problems. Recently, I made the pivot to Construction Technology and Manufacturing as I saw a different future for construction that values technology and model led workflows. It’s cool to see a future that really leverages fabrication as a means to increase certainty in cost and schedule. Owners are wanting to build in a different way to increase this certainty, and it’s been so exciting thinking through what we need to change in our skillset to best serve them.”
Q: What can be done to increase the percentage of women in construction? How can companies recruit more women and promote diversity?
A:“As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve seen how important and critical it is for industry leaders in our field to connect with and educate young women in middle school and high school. You know lots of people want to be doctors, actors and models because that’s what they see through television and social media, but there is so much opportunity out there and the construction industry can provide a phenomenal career for women. Throughout the years, I have been a part of different women’s groups because I am truly passionate about helping women get into this industry and I think these types of networking groups are important with introducing more women to this career path. Construction is one of the largest industries in the world and if we band together and show young women a vision of a wonderful future they could have here, then we are all winning.”
Q: What barriers do women face in the construction industry? How has this changed over time?
A: “The quantity of women you see today in the construction is very different from when I was in school and starting out. When my career started after college, I was the only woman I saw – there were some female engineers and female architects, but it was pretty rare to see women in our field. However, the numbers are rising, and more companies are promoting diversity and inclusion when it comes to their workforce. It’s nice to not be the only woman in the room now. I think barriers are broken down when there are more people that look like you in the workforce that you can learn from and grow with.”
Q: What areas of the industry do you feel still have the biggest need for women? (such as skilled trades)
A: “I think there could definitely be more women represented in all areas of the construction industry, but an area where currently I see women underrepresented is in the trades. Women bring to the table many great characteristics like multitasking, being quality minded and more which help with problem solving and working as a team. Over time, we will see the numbers go up, but for now it’s about making the opportunity available for all in an industry that is friendly and values what women can offer. It’s important for young women to know that these careers absolutely do exist.”
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: “When I first started out, I don’t think I truly understood the value of networking with fellow women in the industry. I understand the importance of that now and would highly encourage it to all – men and women. You will truly learn so much. Sometimes you can be so rare in your respective area that you want to make it on your own and prove yourself, but I promise, it is a much easier path and journey if you have the support of other women in the industry who can help provide guidance and insight as needed. I rely heavily on my network of women and always make sure to reach out if I have a complicated problem and/or I am starting something brand new.”
Q: What advice would you have for young women who are eager to join the construction industry?
A: “Seek out opportunities to connect with an individual or group that is doing what you are wanting to pursue in the future and remember, this doesn’t’ necessarily have to be a mentor. There are lots of groups out there, but you have to put in the effort to find them. They don’t just drop in your lap. When you take the time to network with others, you will have the support and guidance you need as you grow with your career. I encourage young women to lean into resources that are available in the community and constantly give back. Good will always come back to you when you give of yourself.”