Finding Your Niche in the Construction Industry... Barb Anderson's Story
Currently the president of Anderson Marketing Solutions, Barb Anderson started as a realtor selling homes before entering the construction industry.
Originally from Michigan, she was amazed at all of the construction activity in Colorado. She began a new career as an onsite sales representative for a small builder. The education that she gained from that experience was invaluable. Learning basic construction skills like how to read blueprints and how to stake a property’s measurements based on a site plan developed her knowledge base in the industry. Over the course of 15 years, Barb advanced her skill set in various positions with this small builder leading eventually becoming the Marketing Director. Throughout her career she worked for various developers in new construction, including marketing and sales for Vail Resorts. These outstanding opportunities declined, as the recession soon caught up to the luxury market and layoffs soon followed. At a crossroad, figuring out what to do next, Barb established Anderson Marketing Solutions. Now almost 10 years later, there's no place she would rather be.
Barb gives recognition to the Construction Resource Group of Colorado along with Jerry Gloss and Cheryl Schuette for being instrumental in championing her success. Networking has brought her some of her largest clients, such as McStain Neighborhoods.
As you may have guessed, there are challenges that women face in the construction industry but it is more about perception than reality according to Barb. The first perception Barb acknowledges is that "women don't really understand construction,” such as the basics of knowing how to read a blueprint or the physical aspects of plumbing, electrical and framing of a home. Another perception about construction is that the industry is “too tough for women and they don't want to break a nail". For Barb while these perceptions have been debunked over the years, there are still remnants of these thoughts that women still need to overcome in the industry. It is experience and education that has helped Barb overcome a lot of these perceptions and develop her company into what it is today.
"Being smarter in your approach, as your competitors are a lot of men who also work hard, and showcasing that you know what they are talking about shows you are knowledgeable in the industry and your are more inline with understanding an approach. Also, share ideas that you know have worked well on previous projects" Barb recognizes, "Even though it is a male-dominant industry, there are also women who are also not as supportive in the realm of construction and that tends to be some of the struggle as well." Overcoming all fears, pushing past all roadblocks, and becoming confident in who you are is so much more than just being a woman in the construction industry. "Early on in my career I may have been intimidated by men, but they are normally very professional in their approach" than what is percieved.
Barb’s Advice to Women Who are Interested in this Field
“Learn as much as you can about the industry. Spend time in the field to understand the process and challenges. Shadow a mentor to learn what the issues are and how to overcome them. And last but not least, you need be tough-skinned. Take emotion out of the equation and don't take things personally. We will all fail at some point in our career, but look at it as more of a learning opportunity that will help you grow into the woman you want to be.”
There is a lack of awareness which contributes to the labor deficit problem in the construction industry. Utilizing the resources that are available in Colorado is huge, Colorado Homebuilding Academy being one of them.
Barb agrees, acknowledging that,"There are initiatives, too, more nationally through the Professional Women in Building [PWB], to get more women into the labor pool, that's across the country. Our local PWB is going to be taking the women of Hope House [of Colorado] to visit the [Colorado Homebuilding] Academy to see if there might be some interest in having some of these ladies go through the curriculum and obtain some of the skills to be able to get into this industry."
Don't be afraid to find your niche in the construction industry and focus on what it takes to make it your reality.
Connect with Barb and Anderson Marketing Solutions on any of the following social media platforms:
LinkedIn: Anderson Marketing Solutions