Construction Without Barriers … Getting to Know Christa Wickland
“Construction is the biggest industry in the United States. There is so much opportunity and so many positions you can hold in construction. There’s commercial and residential, luxury custom, affordable housing, bridges, and roads. Construction is so much more than building a house. There are so many different facets and I don’t think a lot of people realize… there are so many different elements in the construction world.” Owner of Alpine Consulting Associates, Christa Wickland explains.
Christa started her career as a Labor Dispute Negotiator. After taking a break to care for her children, she took a new career path and connected with real estate development and got a position with Esprit Homes as a contractor. She eventually turned this into her consulting business. Through that position Christa started an estate management division for Esprit Homes. Christa's focus is business development consulting and owner representative work for developers with her consulting firm Alpine Consulting Associates.
Christa expresses that her experience in this male dominated industry “has been very positive. At this point in history, being a strong woman is appreciated by many. Those who feel threatened by women in the construction industry, can often be recalibrated.”
Christa agrees that there is a stigma around construction but there are many successful women in construction, sharing how some of the bigger developers in Colorado are definitely women, "so it is not like there is necessarily a shortage of women. It is definitely not 50%, but it is not 2% either, except in the trades.”
Her business philosophy stems from the practice that her "partnerships imply trust, which is the foundation of a successful business. Where there is trust, there is opportunity for growth," and she makes a point to put that at the forefront of her company. Creating new projects, conceptualizing and facilitating the success of a project along with the implementation of trust is at the heart of Christa’s passion for the construction world.
“Women can excel in all areas of construction. There are no legitimate barriers to women excelling in construction. Many women may feel uncomfortable or unfeminine in a male-dominated industry. [However], this will change with time, as have the legal and medical fields.”
Christa’s stepmother transitioned from law school into real estate development which was unheard of for a woman to do during her stepmom’s time. She recalls her stepmom having to deal with being called several unsavory names and how difficult it was for her stepmom to be in a male-dominated industry. She also recalls how super success her stepmother was as well. “Most of that attitude has changed, but it takes time… Ultimately if you are going to enter a male-dominated industry you have to be able to deal with it… things change over time, they are not going to change overnight, so there has to be some degree of, I have to adapt. Just like you have to adapt to any situation, you have to be able to adapt to working with men in a male dominated industry.”
“Firefighting, that’s an example. Women are firefighters. I don’t want to be a firefighter, because I don’t feel like I’m big and strong enough. I can’t carry someone out of a house. But there are plenty of women who can. I think construction is the same."
Christa’s personal experiences show that things are definitely changing for women in construction. "It is a different world now and if you have the interest you can do it but you do have to deal with men. It is male dominated. If can’t interact with men then it would be tough, but there are plenty of female-dominated industries where men don’t fit very well. It’s a two-way street...”
Advice for more Growth and Change in the Industry
"We need better vocational trade programs. We have a serious shortage of skilled trades people… and they do well for themselves. So, I am not sure why so few are going into it. But certainly, girls can be plumbers, electricians, AV people. There are all types of things they can do and maybe promoting those trades in the schools [will help]."
To connect with Christa and Alpine Consulting Associates check out the social media platform below:
LinkedIn: Christa Wickland