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Cultivating Champions: CRC Celebrates National Women in Construction Week

Cultivating Champions: CRC Celebrates National Women in Construction Week

March not only brings the promise of spring but also marks the time when CRC comes together to recognize and honor Women in Construction Week. Hosted by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), this annual event, now in its 26th year, sheds light on the incredible contributions of women within the construction industry. Currently, women make up only 10.8% of total construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This underscores the need to acknowledge and uplift the invaluable role of women in construction.

At CRC, we define our commitment to cultivating champions as investing in the success of our teammates, colleagues, and clients. We strive to create avid fans of CRC by nurturing an environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and excel. As we celebrate Women in Construction Week, this core value resonates deeply with the theme "Keys to the Future." Just as keys unlock doors to new opportunities and pathways, we believe that by empowering and championing women in construction, we are unlocking the potential for a brighter, more inclusive future for our industry and beyond. We pay tribute to the strength and knowledge our team members bring to CRC and the construction industry, recognizing their pivotal role in shaping our collective journey forward.

Celebrating Our CRC Team

We are proud to have many hardworking women here at CRC who are paving the way for progress in construction. They embody the spirit of Women in Construction Week not just during this designated time, but every week of the year. As a company specializing in rebuilding major property damage, we bridge the gap between restoration and construction, acknowledging the integral role both industries play in the built environment's resilience and recovery.

We reached out to several women at CRC to hear their perspectives on being in the construction industry and the impact they believe they have on shaping it. Here is what they had to say:

Jessica Barajas WICW-1
Hillary Ortiz WICW-1
Victoria Hawkins WICW-1
Lauren Perkins WICW-1
Beth Montgomery WICW-1
Baylee Miller WICW-1
Melanie Winders WICW-1


1. What got you interested in working in property damage restoration?

Jessica: I’ve been working in this field since 2008. My husband (Homer Barajas) and I started an air duct cleaning business. From there, we went to a temp agency, then became a sub-contractor, then got into the mitigation aspect of the industry.

Hillary: I fell into this industry by accident however I was immediately intrigued and motivated behind the incredible work the industry does to help people find comfort, knowledge and some sort of order during what can be an extremely stressful situation.

Victoria: I’ve been in this industry almost 15 years. I started in the billing department at another restoration company, from there they promoted me into the production department, and then worked my way up from there.

Lauren: The uniqueness of the industry. People never want to HAVE to call you. But when they do, they are putting their trust in you to make things better. That’s what we do. We make things better by providing and executing solutions. I find that pretty rewarding.

Beth: Well, as the office manager, I haven't really been in restoration that long, but I worked in construction years ago. I have always sought out roles where I deal with customers.

Baylee: My mom has been in the industry for years, and I have seen firsthand how it can impact your family and the friendships you can establish within the industry. It is also recession proof!!

Melanie: Growing up in a small town in the West Texas panhandle, I learned early on the value of hands-on work. This sparked a passion for preservation, creation and leadership which are all qualities that are abundantly present in the realm of the construction restoration industry.

2. Can you describe a particularly rewarding project you've worked on and the role you played in its success?

Jessica: There was a Latina single mother who suffered a huge loss in their unit at the apartment complex they were living in. One of the water lines near the roof broke and flooded the floors below, hers being one of them. She didn’t speak English and didn’t have renter’s insurance at the time. We helped her get set up in another apartment for the same property management company and translated for her to make sure she was secured comfortably in her new apartment.

Hillary: There have really been so many, however the floods of 2013 will always hold a special place in my heart, so many homes and people’s lives were affected. I remember walking into a customer’s house with our team and seeing a mom cry over her kid’s artwork being ruined. As a mom who keeps things like this, I wanted to find a way to preserve whatever I could, so we dried the artwork out and had it framed for the family. 

Victoria: There isn’t one that stands out, but what I will say is the most rewarding part of this job is helping people. You’re there to help them and to calm them down and walk them through the process. If I know that I’m helping someone it’s rewarding every single time.

Lauren: I think the most gratifying projects are the ones that you go above and beyond for. This means doing the little extra things that you don’t have to do but can make a huge difference. For instance, if there is an apartment building fire that we are working on, I’ll purchase household items, toys, grocery store gift cards, etc. for the displaced residents and give them to management to disperse. That provides help to the people who need it, and it makes management look good. No one knows it was from us, except management. That shows we’re willing to help people without expecting credit for it. And it helps maintain our positive reputation with management. After all, they are the ones calling on us.

Beth: Because I’m in more of a support role, what I find rewarding about our projects is a little bit different. I care about our crew and making sure they have work to do so they can provide for their families.

Baylee: We had a project that experienced some hiccups, but my relationship with the property manager is what allowed us to work through the hiccups to complete the job and stay on good terms with the client.

Melanie: Every project I have worked on has come with its own set of challenges which I welcome; it’s the only way to learn and grow. Managing a particular project that spanned over 18 months and grew from a small 6-figure job into a multi 7-figure job over the course was the most difficult and rewarding project of my career. Working with management, ownership and multiple vendors taught me valuable lessons in time-management, project management, cross-functional team leadership and a deep understanding of a client relationship.

3. What do you think could be done to encourage more women to join property damage restoration?

Jessica: Our actions speak louder than words. By demonstrating our leadership skills that we know, more women will continue to get involved in this industry.

Hillary: Remind women that not only can they bring the same hard skills to the workplace but the soft skills we naturally possess like empathy, organization and listening can help any team flourish and maximize results.

Victoria: That’s a tough one. When I started, it was a male-dominated industry. When I went from billing into production, I was apprehensive at first because there were some reservations about me being in that department. It required some coaching, and having the support of my coworkers from the beginning helped me get to where I am today.

Lauren: I think more women would want to be part of this industry if they knew how satisfying it is to foster meaningful, deep relationships with your clients. Some of my clients from 15 years ago are my best friends now. I would never have met them if it wasn’t for being in the industry.

Beth: I don’t know, but it would be nice to have more women in this industry. I think that we pay more attention to detail, and when you’re working in restoration and reconstruction, the small details you miss can cost you more time and money later.

Baylee: I think just having the knowledge of the industry in general would be huge. I had never heard of it or noticed my college had a risk management department until I was out of college. 

Melanie: There are abundant learning and growth opportunities for women in the restoration industry. From entrepreneurial ventures to utilizing critical problem-solving skills and creativity, women have the chance to thrive and make a positive impact in the property restoration world. As women already in the industry, it's essential for us to lead by example, actively inviting other women who may be curious to join and demonstrating that there is a seat at the table for each and every one of them.

4. As a woman in property damage restoration, what advice would you give to others starting out?

Jessica: Come into the industry with a strong yes. If you want to accomplish anything in life, come in with a strong yes. The energy that comes with that will push you towards achieving whatever goals you put in place. I believe in you, you got this.

Hillary: We as women can be our own worst enemy. Confidence is key. Remind yourself that there isn’t anything you can’t do. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or stand your ground.

Victoria: Have confidence, and don’t be afraid. Have confidence in yourself that you can do the job, because that was my biggest thing in the beginning. Those are the two most important things I would say to anyone getting into this industry.

Lauren: I would tell them not to be intimidated by lack of knowledge about the technical side of things. There are plenty of opportunities to learn from peers, leadership, job sites, trainings, etc. Also, to have thick skin and be persistent. If you’re trying to get someone to use our services and don’t get a response or even get “no” as an answer, stick with it. Other companies are always screwing up, decision makers are always moving around, and there are always different tactics you can try!

Beth: You can do anything the boys can do and maybe even better. I grew up with a dad who taught me all the things he taught my brothers, so I’ve always felt comfortable around tools and equipment. I think there are a lot of women like that who would be great in restoration.

Baylee: I would advise to not be scared of the lack of representation of women within the industry. The industry needs us and our perspectives in the workplace!

Melanie: As women in this dynamic industry, you're part of a community that values your unique skills, creativity, and determination. Whether you're part of sales, operations or managing projects, your contributions are essential to revitalizing communities and preserving cultural heritage. Embrace the challenges, seize the opportunities for growth, and know that you're making a positive impact every step of the way. Together, let's continue to lead by example and inspire future generations of women to join us in shaping the future of property restoration.

Join the Celebration

The week-long Women in Construction celebration kicked off on Sunday, March 3rd, with a series of events hosted by local NAWIC chapters.  Throughout the week, industry professionals, both women and men, will come together to participate in discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. These events aim to celebrate women's accomplishments in construction and highlight the diverse career paths available within the industry.

Opportunities for Women in Construction

National Women in Construction Week also serves as a platform to emphasize the wealth of opportunities available to women in construction. From leadership roles to skilled trades, women have the chance to make a significant impact and contribute to the growth and success of the industry. As the construction landscape continues to evolve, the week encourages women to explore these avenues and consider a fulfilling and rewarding career in construction.

Explore Opportunities at CRC

As we commemorate the 26th Annual Women in Construction Week, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all women in construction, not just this week but every week. If you're passionate about making an impact in your community and joining a team dedicated to excellence in property damage restoration and construction, explore our current openings. Together, we can build a stronger, more vibrant future for our industry and communities alike.

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