TAMPA, Fla. — It’s no secret construction is booming in the Tampa Bay area with new developments from Sarasota to St Petersburg.
What’s now even more unique about these projects is more women are deciding to work on job sites in construction. Historically, construction has been a male-dominated industry.
Chances are when you drive by most job sites in the Bay region, you see mostly men.
"Being a gender minority never really occurred to me," Suffolk Construction Senior Project Manager Samira Kraziem said.
Once Kraziem switched from psychology to construction, it became clearer.
"It wasn’t until I started to advance a little bit and sit at the table with a room full of men essentially," Kraziem explained.
As a senior project manager with Suffolk Construction, Kraziem works on construction projects including Asher on Water Street.
"I was the only woman in a project manager role," Kraziem stated.
Part of her job is to be on the construction site, which is where she'll be outfitted with a vest, hard hat, boots and gloves.
When she walks on sites, she knows in a male-dominated industry, things aren’t always easy for her.
"Definitely a little daunting and sometimes I need to overcompensate for being overlooked," Kraziem said.
But it's a challenge she gladly accepts.
"For me, I almost use it to fuel my drive even more so to excel, especially when I felt like, it always takes a little more to gain the respect of my male peers and to prove myself," Kraziem explained.
The people higher up in construction companies say they are making construction jobs more appealing to women.
"We have five college graduates starting in July. Four of them are women in that group," Suffolk Construction Vice President of Operations for Tampa Bay Andrew Pierce said.
Pierce said that’s a big change from years ago. He explained there’s labor storage and the need for more workers in construction.
"We are seeing people from business and finance interested in construction," Pierce added.
If you’re looking to make the same switch Kraziem did, she says, you can do it.
"I try not to focus on the fact that I am the only woman in the room or the only woman on the job site," Kraziem said.
Instead, she focuses on excelling to new heights and says she takes it more as a challenge.
"I am definitely someone who loves a challenge," Kraziem added.
A study analyzed by the Washington Post revealed last year Florida had the third-highest percentage of women working in construction.
Washington, D.C. was No. 1 and Arizona followed as No. 2. It shows a graph that women breaking barriers into the industry is on the rise.