Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco is excited to join the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in celebrating Women in Construction (WIC) Week March 6th – 12th, 2022. WIC Week raises awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and emphasizes the growing role of women in the industry. This year’s theme is “Envision Equity”. NAWIC’s President chose this theme because she wants NAWIC’s mission to not only focus on bringing equity to women, but to everyone in the industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is comprised of only 11.0% women, making it one of the most male dominated career fields in 2021. Even less than this percentage is the number of women working on the front line of the job sites – only 1 out of every 100 women. In honor of Women in Construction Week, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas & West Pasco Counties would like to highlight an important member of our organization: Kirsten Valentine, Field Supervisor II. Kirsten is an inspiration and go-to for many of our homeowners and volunteers out on the build sites.
Kirsten has been a team member at our affiliate for two years and four months, quickly moving her way up the ranks of the construction team. Originally with goals of becoming an architect, Kirsten gained experience in a variety of ways early in her career. She has a degree in construction management from Saint Petersburg College, giving her the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field. “My responsibilities now include being the only female out in the field and bringing the sass when needed! In all seriousness, my day to day is leading our volunteers on site to complete tasks such as framing, cabinet and door install, and so much more. My biggest task is making sure the homes I lead are on schedule and beautiful for when our homeowners get to move in!”
Kirsten came to our affiliate after a Habitat Global Village trip to Cambodia in 2019. She participated in a Big Build with several members of the Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco team, building homes for families overseas. “Their values, the work we do, and the communities we serve is why I chose Habitat. There is nothing greater than driving around and passing a house Habitat built together as a huge team and community.”
“To women considering entering the construction field:
Don’t let anyone, even yourself, tell you that you can’t do it – because you can! I encourage more women to join the construction field. There is nothing about being a woman that would stop you from being an asset to a construction team. Glass ceilings are meant to be shattered!”
Kirsten has an abundance of memories with Habitat, but one of the proudest moments is when our long-time weekday warrior, Tom Oberhofer, personally asked her to become a house leader on the home he and his wife, Signe, sponsored. “Tom has played such a huge role in his 20+ years volunteering with Habitat and he does a phenomenal job on every house he works on. For him to ask me to lead the home was such an honor.” Thank you, Kirsten, for all of the hard work and dedication that you bring to our affiliate!
“I would like to thank Gaby Camacho (my boss) and Candace Jackson (former Field Supervisor) for all they have taught me and showed me to get to where I am now. Without both of your headstrong approach and encouragement from one woman to another, I wouldn’t be where I am today. These two are the women that paved an easier path for me in the construction industry.
And also a huge thanks to my other boss, Rick Vail for always believing in me and seeing that although I am a woman that I can in fact do anything I put my mind to.”