Incredible Women

Incredible Women

Making an Impact in Construction
By Nick Dmitrovich

The era when the construction industry was regarded as a non-traditional career path for women is long gone. Today, women are reshaping and redefining construction in Indiana every day. They’re changing the game and opening up a bright new future of opportunities. To enlighten our readers as to just how significant of an impact many women are making around the state, we’ve compiled a look a just a few of the individuals you should definitely keep an eye on.

Take a look –

 

Kelly Powers Baria
Director of Business Development, Powers & Sons

Kelly Powers Baria

Kelly Powers Baria of Powers & Sons applies a family-oriented, client service philosophy that ensures the highest standards of quality and professionalism are applied to every assignment. Kelly considers herself blessed to work in a legacy, family-owned business founded by her grandfather that has many long-term employees who have been with the company more than 20 years. Kelly has a passion for introducing young people, especially girls, to the science and technology fields. She serves on boards and committees at the Museum of Science and Industry and Architreasures including the Black Creativity Advisory Board and the President’s Council where she inspires children to achieve their full potential in educational opportunities.

 

Barbara Biernat
Construction Technology Teacher, Porter County Career and Technical Center 

Barbara Biernat

Barbara Biernat is a construction technology teacher in her third year of teaching building trade courses at the Porter County Career and Tech Center. Barbara brings several years of professional experience to the classroom, having previously run her own construction company and managed several large and small projects. She has also been active in community service, serving on the board of Rebuilding Together and as an officer of the Women in Construction organization. She has a passion for helping kids find their occupational niche and helping students learn to make the right personal decisions in life. Barbara’s class is presently working to renovate a 1912 Grand Trunk Train Depot into a 21st century learning laboratory.

 

Lara Blankenburg, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Project Manager, Fanning Howey

Lara Blankenburg

After growing up in Indiana, Lara graduated from the University of Illinois (class of 2000) and spent her early years working for some of Indiana’s largest design firms. Lara then took a sojourn out west, designing projects for major clients like Colorado State University. A Hoosier at heart, she returned to Indiana as a project manager in the Indianapolis office of Fanning Howey. Lara is now the go-to person for several prominent school district clients, including Pike Township and Lawrence Township. A one-woman project management powerhouse, Lara has shepherded 20+ projects to successful completion in the last 18 months.

 

Melissa Davis
President, BSA LifeStructures

Melissa Davis

Melissa Davis is the president of BSA LifeStructures, a company she’s been with since 1996 when she impressed the company’s leadership enough to earn a position despite a hiring freeze. Once onboard with BSA LifeStructures, Melissa quickly established herself as a leader in healthcare interior design and built the firm’s interiors practice. Impressed by Melissa’s ability to assemble and lead a team, inspire innovative solutions, and make each client feel valued, the board of BSA LifeStructures asked her to lead the $50 million firm in 2016. The firm Melissa leads today bears little resemblance to the one she joined in 1996. At that time BSA LifeStructures’ 180 employees operated almost entirely out of its Indianapolis office. Today, the architecture firm, listed by Indiana Business Journal as the city’s largest, has 260 employees spread among seven regions. In addition to her roles with the company, Melissa is also active in several community organizations and has implemented a company-wide mentoring program for younger employees.

 

Traci Hardin
Vice President of Safety and Compliance, Meyer Najem Construction

Traci Hardin

Traci has been in the construction industry for more than 34 years and is an expert on all things safety. She landed her first job in construction in 1982 in Dallas as the secretary to the tenant finish estimator/ project manager for a specialty subcontractor who manufactured elevators. In 1985, she returned to Indianapolis and worked at EDGE Construction as an executive assistant. She joined Meyer Najem Construction in 1992, where she introduced a safety program. Today, she is the highest-ranking female at Meyer Najem and a member of the Leadership Group. In addition to her roles as a longstanding member and past president of NAWIC and important roles with ABC and CCS (formerly MICCS), she recently became a board member of the Construction Family Assistance Foundation (CFA).

 

Brittany Heidenreich, PE
Civil Team Leader, American Structurepoint

Brittany Heidenreich

As an experienced project manager, Brittany coordinates project design, approval, permitting, and construction phases for a wide range of engineering projects. She is currently leading the engineering effort for one of Indianapolis’ largest real estate development and construction projects, revitalization of the former GM Stamping Plant site along White River in Indianapolis. This project will transform 103 acres on downtown Indianapolis’ western edge from an underdeveloped afterthought into an urban gem. Brittany is leading American Structurepoint’s civil engineering team responsible for the infrastructure master plan for the entire development including utilities, drainage, roadways, and bridges. This is a complex site with unique challenges from an environmental and flood control perspective that will require coordination with multiple agencies.

 

Staci A. Inskeep
Co-Founder / Organizational Health Director, InPwr Inc.

Staci Inskeep

Staci Inskeep is the co-founder and organizational health director with InPwr Inc., a national design/build electrical contracting firm with offices in Indianapolis and Colorado. Over the last 12 years, the company has grown to over $100 million in projects completed, licensed in over 40 states in the U.S., and nearly 100 associates. Inskeep has held various roles and now fully focuses on the organizational culture and health of the company. A certified MBTI practitioner, she ensures the InPwr team is capitalizing on their strengths and core competencies. Her passion for the firm has been described by peers at InPwr as the “cornerstone of the business.” Inskeep is also involved in the company’s community charity and company events.

 

Patricia Morgan, LEED AP
Industry and Outreach Manager, Continuing Lecturer, Purdue University, School of Construction Management Technology

Patricia Morgan

Patricia Morgan is the industry and outreach manager, and a continuing lecturer in the School of Construction Management Technology at Purdue University. Before Purdue, she worked in many aspects of the commercial construction industry, including high rise commercial services, tenant improvement, higher education, religious, LEED certified projects, and many types of renovation projects. Working in Chicago, Los Angles, and Atlanta for an international commercial real estate company, Morgan was eventually tapped to head the project management business on the national level. After retiring from being an industry executive, she decided to join Purdue to continue giving back to the industry. Additionally, this year she moderated the ENR Groundbreaking Women in Construction event in San Francisco.

 

Megan Rush
Project Engineer, BMWC Constructors

Megan Rush

After graduating from Purdue University with a B.S. in building construction management, Megan Rush has spent the last two years working as a project engineer on site at an oil refinery in Indianapolis. Her responsibilities include everything from daily time reports and ordering materials to estimating new work and managing budgets for maintenance and various projects. Industrial construction is a very specialized area of the industry, and statistically, there are fewer women in this field than most of the other areas of construction. Megan enjoys learning about the processes at each facility and has a passion for expanding her knowledge of the industry.

 

Hillary Scott
Project Estimator, Shiel Sexton

Hillary Scott

Hillary Scott graduated from Purdue University’s Building Construction Management program in 2013 and began her career at JE Dunn’s Kansas City, MO location as a project engineer. While with JE Dunn, Scott participated on several large-scale projects including the headquarters for Perceptive Software in Lenexa, KS and Cerner Corporation’s new Innovations Campus in Kansas City, MO. After her time as a project engineer, Scott decided she wanted to work with more projects in their preconstruction phases. As of May 2017, Scott has relocated to Indianapolis where she is currently a project estimator at Shiel Sexton. She primarily creates budgets for the ongoing $25 million renovation of Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel and the $40 million Salesforce Tower office renovation projects.

 

Kaitlyn Taylor
General Manager, Hoosier Crane Service Company

Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor is the general manager of Elkhart-based Hoosier Crane Service Company, a company she’s worked for since she was a high-school intern. While she was still a student, she was a key member of the team that implemented Hoosier Crane’s very successful iPad-based crane inspection program. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in structural engineering, Kaitlyn came on-board full-time with the company as the engineering manager. She has developed and implemented engineering tools that have assisted with the growth several of Hoosier Crane’s departments. She is motivated by continuous improvement and enjoys finding solutions to unique problems, and her tireless efforts have recently led to her being promoted to general manager. In this role, she will be even more involved in the company as a whole and continue to help grow Hoosier Crane Service Company.

 

Kristin VanSoest
President and CEO, Safety Resources, Inc.

Kristin VanSoest

Kristin VanSoest is the president and CEO of Safety Resources, Inc., a nation-wide safety consulting firm in Indianapolis. Knowing early in her career she was dedicated to the construction safety industry, she purchased Safety Resources when she was just 30 years old. Growing up with five brothers, Kristin is no stranger to making her voice heard. She holds herself to the highest standard, and as a leader in a predominately-male industry, she appreciates a professional challenge. Kristin is committed to coaching her team of consultants to never be satisfied with the status quo and to always provide valuable service to their clients.

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