#MyEXPerience: Adam Ahrens
March is a big month for women. It is Women’s History Month, hosts Women in Construction Week and celebrates International Women’s Day. Throughout EXP’s 90+ offices, women are paving their way in male-dominated industries and vice president, director of construction management, Southern California, Anh Case is no exception. Anh has been in the construction management industry for 20 years, specializing in transportation.
Blazing a trail in construction and engineering is no small feat. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women accounted for less than 10% of the US construction workforce in 2019. As a contributor to the success of significant transportation projects, including roadway improvements, interstates and interchanges, transit corridors and design-build projects, Anh demonstrates that a career in construction management is achievable.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Anh to talk about her career in the industry, her personal takeaways and what she encourages the next generation to consider.
Anh, what is your advice for women considering a career in construction management or related engineering disciplines?
AC: The industry is changing. We are starting to see more women become actively involved in STEM disciplines and seek positions in construction and construction management. I have followed five guiding principles to continue adapting and growing in this industry and it’s my pleasure to share that same advice with girls and women who plan to enter this field or pursue a similar path:
1. Surround yourself with good people, personally and professionally.
2. Be your biggest advocate and do not sell yourself short.
3. Become an expert in your field. It’s important to know your industry better than your competitors, clients and contractors. This gives you the upper hand. Knowledge really is power.
4. Do not be intimidated if you are the only woman in the room. Number three has prepared you.
5. Develop and maintain a good work-life balance. This allows you to enjoy all aspects of your life.
In the past, your daughter has joined you at the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) events. Why is her attendance important to you?
AC: My daughter is four years old. While very young, I find ways to explain to her what I do for work and the exciting projects I work on. There will be times we pass by a bridge or other transportation projects and I tell her, “mommy worked on that.” I want to instill a hunger in her of pursuing any role she desires, traditional or non-traditional. By the same token, I feel responsible for sharing with other young women, that it is possible to be a working mother and be successful in your career. Does it come with hard work and sacrifices? Yes. Is it possible? Without a doubt.
What has inspired your active participation in organizations supporting women in transportation?
AC: Women do not have an equal presence in our industry. It’s very important to advocate for ourselves and for other women. I’ve become actively involved in organizations including WTS and American Society of Civil Engineers because creating a strong community of female leaders is imperative for increasing our representation across industries. We can build and leave a legacy by working together, one where women seek opportunities without hesitation or limitations.
Thank you for paving the way, Anh. We’re excited to see what’s next.