The National Association of Women in Construction is embarking on a new series highlighting members that embody the spirit of NAWIC. Anyone can be the best person for the job in the construction industry – and our NAWIC members are here to prove it!
We believe all of our members bring something unique to the table, and we are thrilled to recognize those of you going above and beyond within our association.
Anna L Krizin
Currently located: Bethel, PA & Taneytown, MD
Chapter: Princeton, NJ #389
Current job title: Project Superintendent & Project Site Safety Manager
Current and/or past roles held within NAWIC: Committee Chair for the Educational Foundation
Tell us a little bit about your career and current position.
Manage on-site activities along with overseeing the safety of the work site.
What was your first job in the construction industry and what motivated you to get into the industry?
As a child, about seven years old, my father and uncle would fiddle about in the garage. To keep myself, my sister and cousins busy they would give us scrap pieces of wood, nails and hammers and tell us to go build something. When I was twelve, I started my first journey as an entrepreneur, shoveling snow and maintaining lawns throughout my neighborhood. In my late teen’s, early twenties, I began to work in the industry and have been here ever since. Since then, on top of my field experience, I have acquired some formal training through college courses as well.
What have been your greatest challenges as a woman in the industry? Adversely, what have you experienced that has surprised you in a positive way?
Working in a male dominated environment can feel overwhelming but, in the end, we are both humans performing the same work. Since falling into the industry my personality has never allowed me to feel uncomfortable. Earlier in my career, some of the men in the crew were skeptical but once I proved myself to do just as well as they did, I was immediately inducted as one of the “guys”. Even when I am the only woman in a room of forty plus men, I do not feel uncomfortable; I feel like a person being present to do what they were asked.
My experience has shown me to suit up, show up and do the job I was hired to do. Respect is a two-way street, both earned and given. Despite your gender if you know your job, understand, and respect your team, listen to others’ thoughts and ideas, along with making the right decision you will earn the respect as a professional regardless of your gender.
What do you love most about your career?
Taking a blank canvas, creating something and proud to be able to say, “I was a part of that…”.
What has been your proudest working accomplishment thus far in your career?
This is difficult because there are different milestones throughout one’s career and life. If I go through my twenties, it was owning a successful painting firm in Chicago, IL and Orlando, FL. My thirties, working for high-end general contractors and solid surface companies in New York, New York, Philadelphia, PA and other multiple cities. My forties, and currently, for a prestigious firm in Red Bank, NJ.
Overall, working on projects that were in the low thousands to the hundreds of millions and today making “…a fundamental difference…” within the construction industry and mentorship.
Best of all is watching the foundation I set down, with the help of others, many years ago, grow into an outstanding portfolio and almost complete building, both professionally and personally.
In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting aspects of the industry at the moment?
The concept was developed prior to my existence and didn’t take off until I was early on in my tenure and that’s the amazing technology of Building Information Modeling (BIM). It wasn’t until the late nineties or early twenties in which it was put to use and took a while to accept. I still have issues looking at drawings on an iPad (yes, I am a bit “old school”) but I am willing to learn, and it has been an amazing ride. Watching BIM unfold has been fascinating.
What changes in the industry do you hope to see for a future generation of women in construction?
I have had an amazing twenty plus years and have been respected for my hard work, dedication, enthusiasm and commitment. I would like to see more women get involved and that starts at an early age; you either love it or you don’t. I love what I do for a living and wake up looking forward to the start of a new day.
What are your future career goals?
Helping the future generation of women and all persons navigate their way through the industry. My career goals are ever changing and have a plethora of avenues I can take. As of today, I am in the process of completing a couple of certificates. Once those have been completed, I will redefine my goals.
My goals are a moving target and based off of life at the moment. They are written, visited and redefined monthly, quarterly, and yearly. A dear friend of mine always says “life is but a maze in which we wander and where the intersections are not marked” – to me, this means that we can create goals but be ready to redefine them.
How is your current place of employment making waves in the construction industry? And would you like to share how they’re supporting women in construction?
With our, rapidly, changing world it has been a remarkable experience to be part of a firm that specializes in biotech & pharmaceutical plants, hospitals, and healthcare facilities just to name a few of Torcon’s builds. Being in the industry for twenty plus years, and with this new women’s movement (for me at least), I will say my experience with Torcon has been astounding. Torcon has supported women, encourages involvement with external activities, promoting within, supporting diversity and has been supportive both professionally and personally.
How has NAWIC helped you in your career?
NAWIC has enhanced my career by introducing me to various, wonderful women who are also riddled about the construction industry. For instance, I was speaking to a woman from NAWIC last night and in a brief conversation she helped me, just by listening, to enhance my dialogue form. [For anyone wanting to know further details, please reach out and I will share.] My point is that I was able to take from that experience a lesson on how to adjust the way I explain things to others. As simple and easy as that may sound, I have a tendency to over communicate, missing the point – this of course is my own observation and others may not agree. We learn from others and NAWIC has provided that opportunity for professional and personal growth.
What advice do you have for any women hesitant or thinking about getting into the construction industry?
Trust your instincts, do not second guess yourself. If you want to get into the industry, “just do it” and use the tools that are readily available. Ask questions, every possible question and any question – there truly are no silly questions and anyone who thinks so move on to another person because, in my humble opinion.
Shadow people (tradespersons, architects, engineers, attorney’s, etc.) prior to choosing a type of firm or trade. I shadowed a surveyor over a decade ago, which put me well into my career, but was looking for a change. I found a new respect for that industry, but I also learned it was not for me, explore your options.
People do enjoy teaching others (shadow them for a day, a week, or a month) and let them share their experience. ASK someone about their experiences and how they got to where they are today; don’t be scared. If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO.
Congratulations to Anna L Krizin for being recognized as part of our Best Person for The Job feature series. And thank you for all that you do for NAWIC! If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized, contact us today.
Stay tuned for more NAWIC features, published monthly.