Wednesday, May 16, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Erica Wozniak, Construction Project Manager, City of College Station, TX


There are a lot of opportunities for women in the construction industry. A construction project has many aspects and offers a number of roles for women to fill, including engineering, estimating, project management and project inspection just to name a few. The stereotype that construction is for men only has changed and if you ask many men, who have a great deal of experience in this industry, they will tell you that women are needed in this field. Women often have a great attention to detail and that keen eye for picking up deficiencies in the field and doing punch lists or inspections is a desired skill set.

One of the greatest challenges as a women, in learning to navigate a male-dominated industry, is that often men will assume you function and work just like them. I had to learn how to gain the same respect and accomplish the same tasks, but in my own way. When I tried to be like “the guys” it didn’t work. I had to find my own way. Everyone on a construction project has to come to the realization that it’s not women vs men or the field vs the office. It’s about forming a project team. A team that pulls everything together by supporting one another and using each person’s talents and strengths to accomplish a common goal. My advice for women in the construction industry is to remember that you are an individual with great abilities, but you have to combine your talents, points of view and strengths with those around you to become a successful project team.

I love helping and serving people and even though construction is not a direct service industry, I get great satisfaction from helping to provide someone a safe, well-built place to live, work, learn, play or receive healthcare. When you have these facilities and they are functioning well and creating a quality environment, everyone’s life is just that much better.  I have the opportunity to manage the design and construction of the new College Station Police Department Headquarters. All of the police officers are protecting and serving our community and by helping to provide them with the space they need to work and train, I feel like in some small way, I have contributed to making our town safer and a better place to live.

I highly recommend a career in the construction industry. You will never have the same day twice. It’s never boring. You will spend your time solving problems, coming up with creative solutions, meeting new people, finding more efficient ways to do things, and learning about other industries and other professions. When you help to build or design a facility, you have the opportunity to learn about careers and professions you would otherwise likely never encounter. Construction is a very interesting career and I’m thankful to be a part of a wonderful, challenging and rewarding industry.

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Erica Wozniak, Construction Project Manager, City of College Station, TX

There are a lot of opportunities for women in the construction industry. A construction project has many aspects and offers a number of roles for women to fill, including engineering, estimating, project management and project inspection just to name a few. The stereotype that construction is for men only has changed and if you ask many men, who have a great deal of experience in this industry, they will tell you that women are needed in this field. Women often have a great attention to detail and that keen eye for picking up deficiencies in the field and doing punch lists or inspections is a desired skill set.

One of the greatest challenges as a women, in learning to navigate a male-dominated industry, is that often men will assume you function and work just like them. I had to learn how to gain the same respect and accomplish the same tasks, but in my own way. When I tried to be like “the guys” it didn’t work. I had to find my own way. Everyone on a construction project has to come to the realization that it’s not women vs men or the field vs the office. It’s about forming a project team. A team that pulls everything together by supporting one another and using each person’s talents and strengths to accomplish a common goal. My advice for women in the construction industry is to remember that you are an individual with great abilities, but you have to combine your talents, points of view and strengths with those around you to become a successful project team.

I love helping and serving people and even though construction is not a direct service industry, I get great satisfaction from helping to provide someone a safe, well-built place to live, work, learn, play or receive healthcare. When you have these facilities and they are functioning well and creating a quality environment, everyone’s life is just that much better.  I have the opportunity to manage the design and construction of the new College Station Police Department Headquarters. All of the police officers are protecting and serving our community and by helping to provide them with the space they need to work and train, I feel like in some small way, I have contributed to making our town safer and a better place to live.


I highly recommend a career in the construction industry. You will never have the same day twice. It’s never boring. You will spend your time solving problems, coming up with creative solutions, meeting new people, finding more efficient ways to do things, and learning about other industries and other professions. When you help to build or design a facility, you have the opportunity to learn about careers and professions you would otherwise likely never encounter. Construction is a very interesting career and I’m thankful to be a part of a wonderful, challenging and rewarding industry.

Monday, May 7, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp #1: Bobbi Jo Evanicky, TEEX Industrial Fire Program Instructor

Bobbi Jo Evanicky has been in the fire service for 16 years. She is currently a fire instructor at TEEX's Brayton Fire Training Field. This is how Bobbi steps up…

Before coming to work at TEEX, I worked as an operator at Chevron-Phillips Chemical, in a plant, working 12-hour shifts, and I was on the “initial response team.” One night I got a page to respond to help set up a landing zone for a LifeFlight. After the ambulance arrived and while we were waiting for the LifeFlight crew, it was obvious that the injured person was in a LOT of pain. And in my job at that time, I couldn’t get close enough to get hands on, I couldn’t do anything to help him. I couldn’t even help the people who were trying to take care of him. That’s what I didn’t like and that’s what got me into the Fire Service. I did not like being in that passive position while someone was suffering. That’s how I became involved in Industrial Emergency Response.  I also wanted to help in my community and not just at the plant, so I put in an application at my local volunteer fire department.  That was the beginning of my career in the fire service and what has led me to where I am today.

There are definitely physical challenges in being a Firefighter. But being a woman, I also had the advantage of being smaller than most of my fellow responders which meant that on rescues I could get into places that the guys couldn’t fit. I could move around better in small places.

Most men are very accepting of a woman in the fire service. Of course, there are a handful of people who don’t think you’re up to the job so there’s always the challenge that you’ll have to prove yourself to someone. Remember, you don’t prove yourself in words; you prove yourself in action. It’s not by arguing with someone that you’ll get ahead. It’s by making up your mind that you can do something and then you go out and do it. 



Probably the greatest lesson I’ve learned in 16 years of service is that you can’t fix everybody or everything. That’s not only in fire response but also when training firefighters. If you can’t fix a problem then you’re disappointed but can hopefully handle the disappointment by talking about it. That may not fix the problem, but at least it helps you handle it better or gives you a better perspective.

If you think that you’d like to be a firefighter but have no idea where to start, visit your local fire station. Ask them for a tour. Ask them to sit on a truck. Ask them to ride out on a truck if your station has that program. The only thing that is stopping you from reaching your dream is not stepping up and asking.