Article March 7, 2022
Celebrating Women in Construction Week | Julia Salgueiro
In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we’re highlighting just a small handful of our powerhouse Preston women to gain some insight into how they began their careers in the construction industry and what they’ve learned along the way.
Today, you’re meeting Preston Director of Operations Technology Julia Salgueiro. Julia has been in the construction industry for 15 years and at Preston for seven years. She began working in field operations and is now running construction technology across the company.
What motivated you to start a career in construction?
My internship with a general contractor. I had just graduated with a mathematics degree and was unsure of what I wanted to do, and had intended to continue school for a degree in civil engineering. My parent’s next-door neighbor happened to be a foreman for a general contractor and he suggested to my father [probably while in the front yard mowing lawns] that I should intern with them. Fast forward to the end of my internship, I did not want to go back to school, I wanted to manage construction. I walked straight into the branch manager’s office, and said “this is the most fun I have ever had, and I want to work here.” Two weeks later, I was a full-time project engineer. The rest is history.
What is your favorite thing about working in the industry?
When you are managing construction, every day brings the excitement of “what challenges am I going to face today?” or “what problems will I get to help solve?” I like to make a joke that every day is like going to the closet, and pulling out a different board game; is today a Trivial Pursuit day or Mouse Trap or Clue? The days are never dull, and when a plan really comes together, you experience the most incredible feeling of elation and satisfaction; you start the next day driven to get another fix.
What is your advice for young women thinking about starting a career in the industry?
Another reason construction is such a great career is that there is something for everyone here, the variety is practically endless. I would advise young women to spend time regularly reflecting on what they are passionate about or what brings them joy. For me, it is loud, high-stress, problem-solving. Not you? Maybe it is a quiet environment where you enjoy assembling and analyzing the construction schedule of a project, one of the most critical and potentially complex components of a construction project. Or maybe, your vibe is sales and estimating, meeting with clients, learning what the job is, and providing preconstruction services to build long-lasting relationships. I encourage anyone who is unsure about what they want to do as a career to give the construction industry a try; there is something here for you.
What motivates you to come to work and excel every day?
Bigger than the opportunity to problem solve is the strong commitment I have to my team. Construction is an industry that is reliant on not just playing well with others but working as a team and raising each other up. Every person has a critical role to play to make a project successful or to help raise the company tide. Each morning I seek to find more ways that I can contribute to our team’s success.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There have been a few profound moments where I was given great advice, the one I believe to be the most universal is this: “do not burn bridges.” Our industry is well connected and surprisingly small. Whether you have a disagreement with an inspector, a subcontractor, or the utility locator, you never know when you are going to see that person again down the road in your career, in a different situation, working for another company, or in a different role. Treat every person you meet with respect, and do your best to leave the most difficult situations with the bridge standing between you; it just might be the down payment in a future relationship that yields dividends later in your career.
Whether you have an inquiry about our services, pricing, needing engineering expertise, or anything else, our team is ready to answer all of your questions.